Drive your Ferrari instead of pushing it! Steer your entire business, including customer service, in Microsoft Teams and tap into the full power of the platform.
Technological advances are changing the way organizations are communicating internally as well as externally. With an increase in customer portals, company websites, and FAQs in recent years, the various stakeholders, (which we will henceforth refer to as customers,) are increasingly solving problems themselves – this is usually faster and more efficient than calling a hotline. If customers do reach out to a customer service hotline, they tend to have complex questions or concerns. Competent employees are needed on the other end of the line to help with such matters. This is especially true because nowadays customers are better informed and more impatient; bad customer experiences are quickly shared on social networks. Customers expect a rapid response time, efficient problem resolution, and personal interactions.
Most companies recognize that exceptional customer service is important to stand out from the competition and accordingly it is the top priority of 97% of companies. Yet for many, it also remains one of the biggest challenges. Although customer behavior and requests have changed significantly, customer service has remained stagnant. Even though modern collaboration and communication solutions such as Microsoft Teams and the modern workplace are already established in other departments, contact centers still predominantly consist of outdated communication silos with dedicated agents answering one customer call after another. Companies with a more modern customer service approach integrate all interactions (whether with colleagues, partners, suppliers, or customers) into a holistic communication strategy. Compared to standalone solutions, customer service tools that are integrated into the corporate IT infrastructure lead to 14% higher customer satisfaction.
Most people know Microsoft Teams as a meeting, file-sharing, and messenger tool. If you’re satisfied with that, you’re merely pushing a Ferrari. The true potential of Teams lies in the fact that it is a base that can be expanded. Few organizations seem to realize that with the help of third-party applications, Teams can be used to integrate various business cases including core business, production planning, reporting, telephony and even customer service. In addition, Microsoft Power Automate enables no-code integrations and automation. This makes it possible to transform Teams into an overarching Experience Hub – a centralized system for all employees and all interactions. “Microsoft Teams becomes the operating system for the cloud, so to speak,” says Microsoft MVP, Sebastian Zolg. “Everything is growing together, allowing companies to integrate all their business applications into a single platform – I strongly believe that Microsoft Teams can and should be that platform.”
With Teams as an experience hub, all employees use Teams and steer their daily tasks and interactions through the platform- whether they’re interacting with colleagues, suppliers, partners, and customers, whether it’s a voice call, video call, or screenshare. Value is created through the daily interactions with customers and colleagues – when we hear each other or look each other in the eye (or at least the camera). When communication is at the forefront and relevant contextual information is displayed at the right time, employees can maximally focus on the relevant interaction and add value to a company.
Here are some examples of how teams can become the central hub for all internal and external interactions.:
Customer service isn’t limited to a contact center, it occurs whenever interactions take place. This includes internal services such as the IT help desk, as well as external calls to a hotline, transfers to the reception desk, or the handling of customer concerns by traditional agents. First contact resolution is the goal at every touchpoint. Customer should be connected to the right agent right away, which is only possible if employees have all the relevant information at hand. To ensure that problems are resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible, it is also essential that internal experts can easily be called upon; or that during peak times with increased call volumes, such as Black Friday or during a system outage, additional employees can help out in a service and answer customer calls. Teams makes this is possible. And best of all – employee training is no longer necessary as employees only need Teams, which they already have. By integrating business cases and using Teams as an experience hub, employees take the center stage and receive the tools they need to do their best work. “Microsoft Teams delivers a ‘people-first experience’ and empowers employees in all roles to do a good job – regardless of location and time,” says Sebastian Zolg.
Densely packed contact center agents in an industrial-style office don’t exactly scream modern workplace. Employees are increasingly working from home and mobile phones are becoming more important as a work tool. Employees are becoming more demanding – they want exciting tasks and independence, as well as flexibility in terms of workplace and working hours. And they are certainly allowed to demand this. Customer service departments are struggling to find skilled workers, as low-skill agents are increasingly being replaced by qualified specialists that are needed to respond to increasingly complex customer inquiries in a competent and customer-oriented manner. Companies with an attractive working environment profit doubly here: on the one hand, through employee loyalty and, on the other, through high customer satisfaction, because the latter depends to a large extent on employee satisfaction. It is therefore essential to provide an IT infrastructure that offers employees the mobility and flexibility to which they are entitled to. Teams makes this easy: it runs on any desktop, laptop, and smartphone. Employees simply need to log into the Teams application, or the browser version and they are ready to go. Because Microsoft Teams runs entirely in the cloud, it doesn’t matter where employees are, whether that is a different country at home or on the road. Even the logistician in the warehouse or the delivery driver can interact with colleagues and customers via a smart device.
“The abundance of tools in the cloud is increasing every day, but so is the depth of integration within and between them. The products are integrating seamlessly into teams and increasingly merging together so that they are almost perceived as a single tool,” says Sebastian Zolg. For employees, that means that they have a singular identity. By logging into Teams, they have a single identity, one presence status and one tool for all internal and external interactions. Contact center agents used to have to switch back and forth between different applications; they often had different phone systems for customer service and internal interactions. As a result, they sometimes got a customer call in the call center tool while sitting in an important meeting with a colleague or making an internal call. By using Teams as a central Experience Hub and as the single communication platform for all interactions, there is only one line – if it is busy, colleagues and the system see it and customers are automatically connected to another customer service agent.