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Four ways to tackle customer care challenges with Microsoft Business Apps

by MSDW Reporter
Editorial Team,
July 20 2023

This article is sponsored by Avanade.

What sort of customer care issues keep CXOs and CIOs up at night? For an answer to that question, experts from Avanade and Accenture joined MSDW for a recent webcast and a podcast to discuss today's contact center challenges and how to resolve them with solutions built on a range of Microsoft business applications and services.

Abi Sridhar, Avanade's North America Lead for Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement says that his team has had "a front row seat to Microsoft's innovation, including in areas of AI and how they are empowering people as well as organizations and transforming customer care."

Today's challenges with customer engagement often stem from customer experiences that are fragmented into different channels, preferences, and platforms.

“Clients are continuing to talk about how do you change and evolve your customer care service from purely a cost center to a value center? How do you create value for your end customers to ultimately drive profit and add value for your organizations?” Sridhar said.

Four ways to approach the challenge

Customer service is often a great source of actionable data, although all too often that data is disorganized. Companies that prioritize and effectively manage customer service data are three times more likely to achieve their other ambitious business goals, said Accenture senior manager Shriram Viswanathan during the webcast. He explained that in client engagements, Accenture and Avanade take a range of approaches to create unified experiences that result in better data.

In many scenarios, Shriram explained, Avanade and Accenture encourage clients to look for a solution on-ramp to get up to speed with addressing their most urgent needs. One example of a service on ramp is voice biometrics. With more than 90 percent accuracy, solutions based on Microsoft's Nuance technology can serve to prevent fraud, he said. Customers are trying to handle a surge in calls to call centers with increased self-service capabilities. “[We really want to] help our clients to leverage the best of the conversational AI technology,” he added.

A third area of focus is front office transformation, like the modernization of case management capabilities and related initiatives around intelligent care.

Finally, Avanade is seeing clients invest in improving the agent experience, changing training, and coaching.

Know your current state to develop future objectives

Barry Givens, director of digital sales and service offerings at Avanade, joined Abi and Shriram for the podcast discussion and observed that many business leaders do not understand their current operations situation in customer care, making ROI conversations difficult.

“[T]he first place we start really is by looking at that agent experience, presuming that [agents are] going to need to use the tools no matter whether they're good or bad…The tactic that we use around the change management is to bring in these groups of agents that can follow a project from start to finish so not taking a lot of their time but getting feedback from them every two to three weeks as we implement some new level of functionality,” he explained.

Viswanathan shared some practical examples of these different objectives in action. Customers often leave an abandoned cart while shopping online. To reengage these customers, companies can use multiple channels to initiate proactive outreach campaigns as part of intelligent care. Power Automate can be applied to case management to improve the level of automation. Companies can also integrate voice of the customer surveys with automated workflows, boosting automation in the case management context.

“[The question really is] how do we stitch all of that together and enable that experience?... Clearly articulating and making sure that we're aligned on what your true North Star is, and what are the KPIs and metrics that we will anchor against as the measure of business success [is super important],” Sridhar added.

Photo by Petr Macháček on Unsplash

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