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All your contact methods under one roof!

At the start of November 21 Microsoft announced the general availability of voice channel for D365 customer service, but what is it and how would it help us housing folk? 

The product covers some key areas: 

Personalised calls, connected across channels 

Dynamics 365 Customer Service out-of-the-box enables: 

  • A consistent, 360-degree view of the customer across all channels, allowing agents to quickly understand the full customer journey so customers never have to repeat themselves. 
  • An intelligent, conversational Power Virtual Agent that can be used as an interactive voice response (IVR) for the voice channel and versatile enough to be used as a chatbot for SMS, live chat, and social messaging channels. 
  • AI-based routing of incoming calls to the best skilled agent, consistent with all other channels. 
  • Increased collaboration with other agents and subject matter experts globally using embedded Microsoft Teams to resolve issues faster. 

How will this help housing? 

Our customers want channel choice. We need to go to and work with the tools they have rather than always trying to push/pull the type of communication method offered. With the ability to store all types of contact from voice to email in one place you can quickly understand the situation when they contact you.  

With AI based routing and links to a bot there’s a real opportunity for housing associations to only filter more complex issues through to agents and automate many processes before they even get to the contact centre eg: the ‘what’s my weekly rent’ query.  

The fact that all this links with teams means that most colleagues will know how to navigate around the product reducing the time you’ll need for training and increase adoption.  

AI at each step of the call 

AI is infused throughout our first-party voice channel to enrich the customer and agent experience by automating routine tasks and offering insights and recommendations to increase the agent’s focus on the customer. 

  • Real-time transcription eliminates the need for agents to take notes. Now the agent can refer back to what the customer has said without having to ask the customer to repeat information. 
  • Live sentiment analysis provides a pulse on customer emotions throughout the call so agents can deliver a more empathetic experience. 
  • Proactive, AI-driven recommendations for similar cases and knowledge articles help agents resolve customer issues faster. 
  • Real-time translation of transcripts gives agents assisting customers in different regions and across multiple languages added confidence of seeing the conversation in their native language. 
Agents can view a real-time call transcript, see the customer’s details, recent cases, and suggested knowledge articles and similar cases to help resolve customer issues more quickly. 

How will this help housing? 

The potential here is huge. From providing transcripts (in a customer’s native tongue) for confirmation to training/upskilling colleagues this detail could prove very useful.  

Live sentiment analysis could help with real time training/shadowing or help advisors adjust their tone/language if the customer is anxious or getting frustrated. At a high level this data could also help you tailor the way you deliver support to certain customer profiles.  

Unified insights across all customer interactions 

Dynamics 365 Customer Service breaks down traditional data silos between channels with a single, secure data platform, elegantly connecting customer conversations across all channels. This end-to-end view of customers and their journey generates rich and instant insights out-of-the-box. 

  • Advanced AI analyzes all conversations including messaging and voice and identifies emerging issues, helping service organizations pinpoint opportunities for improving the delivery of customer care. 
  • Rich KPIs and insights that span live chat, social messaging, and voice all in one place to provide a holistic view of the contact center. 

How will this help housing? 

As contact starts coming in via email, calls, web chat etc to different members of staff the application could pull key words such as ASB so that you can quickly gather a full view of the issue on a certain estate or at a particular block and become proactive. 

View actionable insights and key performance metrics across channels and drill in for deeper analysis. 

Easy to start, easy to scale 

Getting started with the new voice channel is painless. In just a few clicks, you can be up and running with a phone number and a conversational Power Virtual Agent which will allow you to start making and receiving calls right away.  

How will this help housing? 

I always get a bit suspicious with the word painless but the fact you can start small and scale up as you need to does make sense and could help support a proof of concept. As always, the devil is in the detail and you’ll need to understand any licencing implications.  


Microsoft blog 

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