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Voice channel added to MS D365 Customer Service

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Customer Service agents will have even more tools at their disposal! Native voice channel support will be built on Azure Communications Services next year. Microsoft have said that this new feature will plug into the same calling platform used by Microsoft Teams. Customer service agents will be able to better connect to customers and also integrate natural processing and transcription more easily with current Microsoft AI tools. Some of those tools handle channels such as SMS texting, social media messaging and chat.

Mixing CRM for customer service and telephony is by no means a fresh, brand new idea. Many users already have these capabilities that have been built through third-party technology. However, having voice built into the Microsoft contact centre technology will streamline operations and take advantage of services like AI-powered agent-assist tools (they pick up words in a conversation and find content that may answer customer questions).

With the channel becoming available in private preview this month, full roll-out is expected next year. Larger customers may likely stick to what has already been implemented in their application stacks, but smaller contact centres may see their call routing, CRM and queuing come together thanks to this new capability.

According to Dina Apostolou, Microsoft’s global senior director of product marketing, “The [Microsoft-native] voice channel allows customer service to minimize failure points causedby custom built, complex integrations. It maximizes the ability to create a better experience not only for the agent but for the customer.”

More releases on the way for Dynamics 365

The new voice channel capability is one in a host of new Dynamics 365 features. Revealed at Microsoft’s Ignite user conference, the most notable of these are low-code Power Virtual Agent bots. The feature is built on Azure development tools. This will be available in public preview later on this year.

Microsoft is also moving into vertical-specific cloud for Dynamics 365. The first of these is the healthcare cloud, which will be available by the end of October. According to Apostolou, this is the first of several planned D365 customizations for new verticals.

One of the downsides of vertical-specific capabilities can be that integrator partners will be frustrated due to the business being absorbed by Microsoft. On the flipside however, partners may see this positively, especially when a big vendor removes industry-specific development hurdles to customer implementations.

The move into deeper verticalization can be somewhat of a tight-rope act for Microsoft. However if they offered more core vertical capabilities it is likely to make life easier or partners who can then build on top of what is offered out of the box.

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