Read this blog post for an all-encompassing explanation of the Dynamics 365 Customer Service 2022 updates.
Customer satisfaction is crucial to building a long-term business success story. Customer support and customer service are two of the key factors in customer satisfaction. That is why Microsoft decided to give extra attention to Dynamics 365 Customer Service with the Dynamics 365 2022 Wave 1 release. At its core, Dynamics 365 Customer Service has always been a comprehensive and efficient customer support service application. Used with both assisted and self-service situations and utilized across multiple channels of customer engagement, Customer Service has always been powerful, too. This update continues to grow and refine the Customer Service capabilities available to business users and their customers alike. With a knowledge base where users can share and consume articles, case routing and management for agents, detailed insights through AI suggestions, and embedded analytics, Customer Service is truly an end-to-end customer support investment for SMB and Enterprise businesses.
Microsoft recently reported that 56% of people around the world have stopped doing business with a company because of poor customer service experience. Online customer engagement is at an all-time high, and companies need a way to deliver efficient and quality service to their agents and customers. Microsoft had this in mind when distributing the Dynamics 365 2022 Wave 1- a release tailoring new feature set to streamline the customer service experience. This blog post will cover the exciting updates and new features that the Dynamics 365 2022 Wave 1 release has made to Dynamics 365 Customer Service through the lens of the various roles that benefit from the update.
Managing the Dynamics 365 Customer Service application involves several modules ranging from routing, omnichannel activities, and general application management. Microsoft seeks to bring together the administration experience by offering a unified view of the different management experiences. For this reason, Microsoft has created a Customer Service Admin App that helps to consolidate areas relevant to customer service into a single application. To steer admins through this workspace, Microsoft has created a guided set up experience to help remove the barrier to value when first setting up Dynamics 365 Customer Service. To make the administration experience as modern and consistent as possible, Dynamics 365 Customer has implemented a tool that unifies the management of Dynamics 365 Customer Service, unified routing, and omnichannel activities. The Customer Service admin center app does just that.
With online customer engagement at an all-time high, customer service managers must be sure that they have an appropriate number of agents available to provide service to customers at any given time. The pandemic has added challenges to the already complex topic of staffing. Without the ability to predict and forecast support demands in an organization, managers have a hard time scheduling support representatives. This can lead to an unnecessary increase in labor costs when too many representatives are scheduled. On the opposite end of the spectrum, companies can also be short-staffed when support volume hasn’t been anticipated and thus too little support reps are scheduled. These variations in volume of cases can negatively impact the end-user. For example, too few agents could result in longer customer support wait times and in turn, reduced customer satisfaction. When using the new forecasting feature, customer support managers are given the power to accurately plan staffing needs for support centers. These forecasts are based on the recorded past volume of cases and conversations.
To aid managers in forecasting staffing requirements, Dynamics 365 Customer Service can analyze historical traffic to accurately forecast upcoming case and conversation volumes and drive Power BI visualizations that show forecasted case volumes by channel for the next six months.
Customer Service managers and applications users have always had access to customizable, business specific reporting capabilities that incorporates industry-standard metrics right out-of-the-box with customizable Power BI analytics. This implementation into Dynamics 365 Customer Service allows businesses to speed time to value by reporting each customer’s unique reporting needs. As Microsoft says, “Wizard-like getting started experience,” is made possible by the consolidated administration experiences across app profile manager, Omnichannel admin center, and Customer Service Hub. Metrics that are not directly exposed in the Power BI reports are used to create modifiable, visual graphic renderings of data. Seamless site navigation is now intuitive with task-oriented site maps, overview pages with deep links that list at-a-glance information for each area, and feature specific landing pages. This all combines to create an effortless flow from managing customer service operations to making educated and precise decisions based on easily understood data graphics.
Customer service agents drive the pulse of many customer interactions. Because of this, it is important to have the most optimal tools available to agents to ensure that the Customer Service experience is smooth for both the agent and the customer. Improvements to the case grid, enhanced email templates, and user-initiated product feedback, as well as schedulable IoT capabilities in the customer workspace make this possible.
Enhancements to the agent experience are a must in this fast-paced world that we live in. Inside of Unified Interface, the case-grid has been modernized to help agents and supervisors to perform bulk operations and make important customer service actions and decisions faster. The case grid is an integral part of the customer service agent’s workflow. Efficiency and organization are made possible with the Dynamics 365 Wave 1 updates to the case grid. The ability to view icons for priority, see the origin channels of each case, and avatars for the assigned case agents elevates the degree to which a customer service agent can stay up to date on all progress with every customer service tickets. The ease in seeing case age, next SLA breach, and latest activity help case agents work with confidence and accuracy. All of this comes together to allow for quick navigation to respond to incoming customer support communications.
Customer Service representatives working within Dynamics 365 Customer Service use email templates to avoid inefficiencies when sending emails. For example, if a representative is sending a semblance of the same thing to customers in their workday, they may want to format an email template to avoid having to retype the email. Email templates help representatives save time, all while sticking to a professional, consistent, and custom email message that can be sent to different customers throughout their day. Microsoft has introduced a new template gallery that features several views and search capabilities when inserting a template. These views vary based on title, description, subject, and email content. The new template experience also includes a set of filters that can be optimized with custom fields.
With the ability for customers to submit support cases through multiple channels, comes the need for businesses to interact with support cases in a unified space. Imagine a customer support representative having two cellphones, three live chat windows and their email inbox in front of them. Sounds crazy right? Customer Support Representatives need a way to parse and engage in multiple conversations, sometimes at once.
In a previous 2021 release, Microsoft introduced an inbox capability that allows customer service reps to handle omnichannel experiences. The inbox capability offers views, filters and sorting mechanisms across all channels of contact allowing representatives to handle multiple issues across all mediums of communication.
In April 2022, this inbox capability is being optimized with a number of additions. For example, agents can now pick and assign open conversations directly from within the inbox. Microsoft has also enabled real-time translation of conversations which streamlines the ability to communicate globally.
Until now, scheduling and Internet of Things (IoT) have only been available in the Customer Service Hub app. With this release, Dynamics 365 Customer Service workspace app now has the ability to work on multiple sessions at once, all in one single workspace. Within the Customer Service workspace agents can now set up resources, resource categories, and services, as well as manage and view schedules and appointments, and service activity bookings. Customer Service workspace’s connected Customer Service capabilities make for intuitive management of IoT alerts and devices and makes it simple to create a case from an alert.
Product improvement is driven by many factors. One of the most important one of those factors is customer feedback. The new user-initiated feedback feature allows users to give their feedback, whenever they want to, directly from the product. The Customer Service workspace, Customer Service Hub, and Customer Service admin center are all enabled with these out-of-the-box app modules.
As it was touched on earlier, emails and email templates are an increasingly important facet in a modern business. Responsive template layouts that adapt to any screen size, paired with advanced digital content come together in the Dynamics 365 Customer Service update making creating and styling templates simple.
It is critical for modern businesses to offer their end customers the ability to self-service. Customers should not have to depend on business hours or the availability of a support representative to shed light on their challenges. Deloitte reported that even though fewer customers may be experiencing problems, more customers are inclined to complain about customer service problems than ever before. Businesses must offer a multitude of self-service opportunities to clients to help with handling case volume.
Self-service offers end-customers up-front resolution rates and in turn increases customer satisfaction due to convenience and speed. Dynamics 365 Customer Service Communities act as the engine that powers customer self-service. Communities enables peer-to-peer support and allows businesses to create quality content that end-customers, vendors, employees and partners can reference. You can think of Communities as a group approach to user-generated content in the form of knowledge articles, forums, and blogs.
Communities leverages feedback-sharing that allow clients to develop a relationship with the company. In turn, businesses can develop brand loyalty and trust within their customer base by showing that they listen to the feedback offered by customers.
Customer satisfaction and productivity is key to customer/client retention. Seeing the correct knowledge during self-, assisted-, or onsite service expedites issue resolution and aids in keeping customers’ worlds going round. Knowledge management plays a significant role in an organizations ability to deliver top-notch customer care. Agents now have the ability to create high-quality knowledge resources and keep knowledge content across all modalities up to date. Creating, uploading, and sharing knowledge bases are key components in successful supports delivery. Agents and supervisors now have the ability to author knowledge articles from templates and add knowledge search providers from multiple sources. Those features alongside the ability to receive AI-triggered knowledge suggestions to speed up support delivery.
The idea behind organizations implementing self-service capabilities is to empower customers to answer commonly asked questions and trouble-shoot simple issues on their own. The integration of knowledge management with Power Virtual Agents within Dynamics 365 allows for ease while customers search for knowledge articles to help their unique needs. This frees up non-virtual agents to tackle the more complex customer issues that require human skills. This leads to much higher agent productivity and more effective customer support. The integration of knowledge management in Dynamics 365 with Power Virtual Agents is an out-of-the-box solution in which administrators can set up connection references for solutions and topic authors of Power Virtual Agents can pass search filters seamlessly in dialogue and leverage the Search Dynamics 365 knowledge article flow dialogue to search knowledge articles.
Fast and comprehensive search results that are sorted by relevance are delivered by dataverse search. The search portal users experience is smooth and consistent whilst searching for knowledge base articles. Another level of access control that is completely separate from wen roles has been added to knowledge articles on a portal with content access levels. Knowledge can be filtered by rating, product, and date last modified. Dataverse search users will enjoy continuous improvements that are being made to dataverse search.
Customers seeking help do not like to find outdated or inaccurate knowledge articles when trying to resolve an issue. It is simply time consuming and frustrating. Because of this, knowledge articles must be kept relevant, accurate, and easy to access from different channels. Knowledge authors and managers have the ability to stay on top of articles with the use of the built-in, historical view of knowledge articles usage and metrics, making modifications and improvements possible. Detailed reports that provide historical trends for key metrics such as number of views, average feedback rating, number of links to cases, and number of shares help give knowledge authors within Dynamics 365 rich insights that can be leverages to assess article effectiveness and identify opportunities to improve the knowledge base.
Customer support takes time. The quicker agents can assess an issue and provide effective help, the happier both the customer and the agent will be. Agents can now use search phrases or terms while searching for articles. The search results that are returned when the search terms match the title, content, descriptions, key words, or attachments. This allows Agents to not only help customers with an issue and analyze the search term matches. Not only this, but agents can now view the article number that is displayed on the search results card.
Customers are not the only people navigating knowledge articles. Agents also have a need for seamless navigation of the vast knowledge base of their organization while helping customers. Administrators now have the ability to configure the knowledge search controls for the application side pane in the Customer Service workspace and omnichannel for Customer Service to set default display count and set actions, such as link, unlink, copy URL, send email, and send content for the entities. This will improve the agents experience with knowledge search when resolving customer issues.
The ways in which customer engagements happen can make or break an organization. An all-in-one contact center is ideal for customers and agents alike. Omnichannel for Customer Service allows businesses to connect and engage with their customers instantly through various channels such as live chat, SMS, voice, and social channels. Conversation insights across channels paired with a virtually seamless agent experience make for precision and timeliness in any channel. Real-time notifications, integrated communication, and contextual customer identification ensure that agents are efficient, while Omnichannel for Customer Service provides agents with tools like knowledge search, macros and case creation. Supervisors receive historical and real-time insights that reveal operational effectiveness of agents and their use across channels. Ensure that agents are only working on the latest and most relevant customer engagements. With an enterprise-grade routing and work distribution engine, gone are the days of un-equal work distribution. Customers can configure agent presence, availability, and routing rules.
Omnichannel for Customer Service messaging, when adopted by organizations for their employees who provide support with Microsoft Teams, can now elevate their service delivery chats to voice or video call.
Many businesses desire to have much finer control when it comes to the display of the chat widget on their own portals. These customers can build customizations to meet their business requirements using the current queue backlog and agent availability. Take requests in target queues and get details on average wait times and positions in queue. Customers can also choose to show or hide the chat widget within their portal.
Service-level agreements (SLAs) set the pace of customer support. Business functions such as tracking support policies and ensuring that each customer receives support per their entitled support policy are enabled with SLAs. SLAs can be used by businesses to govern support products that are received by customers as either part of their purchase or as add-ons. Policy details such as the timeline in which a customer is entitled to receive support, how many support requests a customer can make, and amount of time after a purchase a customer can access support per their agreement are all included in SLA’s.
The relationship between a business and its customers is a delicate one. SLAs aid businesses in laying down guidelines and setting boundaries around the level of support and services that’s been agreed upon between them and the customer. Customers will now be able to address specific business needs to help determine and implement a certain customer service calendar during runtime by the new ability to fully customize the warning time calculation and SLA KPI failure times. Attributes that are associated with the instance of an entity, failure and warning duration, and start time of the evaluation are the parameters which customers can utilize when looking to influence the warning time and the failure times.
When an agent checks an SLA, they want to easily see the SLA KPI. Customers now can customize the value texts that are displayed when SLAs succeed or expire by utilizing maker experience to say Met, in an instance of success, or missed if an SLA is expired. Customers can also import and export their holiday and customer service schedules from the source environment to the target environment as to clearly outline service expectations, along with the SLA configuration in Unified Interface. All of this comes together to enable service administrators and customer service agents to deliver improved service to their customers.
Microsoft has given businesses the ability to embed Microsoft Teams directly into the Customer Service business application. This embed features offers customer service representatives a more streamlined way to complete tasks through automation, collaboration, and a centralized workspace.
The 2022 Wave 1 Release aims to improve embedded Microsoft Teams with Dynamics 365 data integration, AI-suggested contacts, AI-generated conversation summaries for agents, and AI-suggested contacts.
When it comes to complex cases, assembling the most efficient team of talent to effectively resolve them has the power to transform an entire organization. By giving agents and subject matter experts the ability to swarm cases in whichever Dynamics application they are most familiar with- including Customer Service workspace and Microsoft Teams- the case resolution process can be streamlined. The intelligent expert finder is used to locate the best-suited experts, with the right skills pertaining to the case subject matter. Agents will now receive notifications across Dynamics 365 and Teams when new cases with relevant subject matter are submitted. Once the case has been assessed, a new simple and collaborative interface allows for real time collaboration between agents. Bringing the best minds on each subject forward and empowering them to work together to reach comprehensive solutions effectively and seamlessly within Dynamics 365 Customer Service or the swarm group chat in Teams elevates the entire customer service experience.
With collaboration comes a need for more thorough communication. The time agents spend reading through lengthy conversation transcripts, just to understand the severity and context of a case at hand, is valuable. This does not even take into consideration the amount of time that is spent summarizing each conversation. To optimize efficiency, AI generated conversation summaries provide a summary of the conversation that is easily sharable between collaborating agents. Now, the minute an agent begins conversation with a customer in Microsoft Teams and feels the case complex enough to recruit collaboration from other agents, supervisors, or SMEs, the conversation is automatically summarized into a format that provides insights into the customer’s issue and every solution the agent has tried. The agent also has the ability to edit these auto-generated summaries to include any further, helpful details toward the solution.
The days of agents spending time flip flopping back and forth between windows and apps just to correspond with other subject matter experts within their organization are gone. With Microsoft Teams now embedded into Dynamics 365 Customer Service, collaboration between agents from other departments, customer service peers, supervisors, and support experts to resolve a customer issue is possible without having to leave the case or conversation. How is this possible? Microsoft Teams being embedded into Dynamics 365 Customer Service means that chats that happen over Teams pertaining to case resolution can be linked and unlinked to Customer Service records to enable a simple and straight forward way to give context to each agent experience. Knowing whether a team member is available is a huge factor when trying to reach effective collaborative solutions. With the ability to view message avatars and presence, agents and users can see profile pictures and availability of the other chat participants, wasting no time on wondering, and waiting.
Microsoft released the ability to suggest contacts when agents work on an active case back in October of 2021 with the Dynamics 365 2021 Wave 2 release. This capability has only been expanded with the Dynamics 365 2022 Wave 1 release. Agents who have resolved similar cases in the past are now automatically suggested to agents working on current, open cases in conversations with customers through multiple channels, including messenger, live chat, and/or choice. These AI-generated suggestions outline why the suggestion was made, as well as how these similar cases were resolved and time to resolution.
Through Dynamics 365 messaging extension for Microsoft Teams, business data can already be shared, updated, and edited by way of a modal pop-up cards. With the option to have a card preview embedded into emails and chats, now that process has been simplified even more. This new feature lets the conversation participants have the power to act directly onto the preview information card. This further enhances productivity and shortens response rates on chats, causing increased customer satisfaction and adds immeasurable value to the business’s customer service.
As it has been said previously, customer service subject matter experts and agents alike benefit immensely from being able to easily search for and share Dynamics 365 Customer Service records by relevance. Records and summaries can be shared between collaborating agents quickly and easily as an interactable card. Users are given the tools to do so through Microsoft Teams chats and channels. But what if the record has not been updated with key details that change the agent’s course of action? This should never happen again. Now, chat participants can easily edit and change case resolution records directly from Teams. Users are empowered to append notes and create tasks within the Teams chats to specify Dynamics 365 records. Subject matter experts and agents within the chat can also change the state of the record. Customized forms of business rules specific to an organization are supported and easily ensure that only team members with the required security permissions have proper write access.
As it stands, the process of configuring the format of the data that appears on information cards lies in the hands of administrators. With all of Microsoft’s recent updates with the Dynamics 365 2022 Wave 1 release, Microsoft did not overlook how time-consuming and laborious it can be to format all of these records in a way that keeps all records accurate, up to date, and standardized. A new update provides a low-code maker experience that allows administrators to construct and format their own information cards to preview Dynamics 365 records within emails and chats. Completely customize the layouts, data included, and actions on the cards to tailor them specifically to the needs of their unique organization. This creates a cohesive, predictable, and unified preview experience across all chats and emails.
In business conversations, it is vital that all participants have access to the same live information as it is updated and can easily view any changes that have been made by other participants in the email thread or chat across multiple channels. The consistency and accuracy of the customer service depends on it. Now, agents and experts can have peace of mind as the ability to insert Dynamics 365 records as loops has been implemented across emails and chats. Live, actionable, and portable information cards with inline actions ensure consistency and accuracy in communications and solutions, while also accelerating collaboration speed.
Pasting record links into emails and chats has long been the way of sharing business data between business users. While this process absolutely works, the following steps of selecting said link just to open the business app in a browser disrupts the agent’s workflow, thereby hindering their productivity. This is soon to change. A new feature allows users to embed a preview of the Dynamics 365 record directly into the chat or email. This allows the email recipients to view and update the key information about the Dynamics 365 record as a seamless part of the email’s content within Outlook. What makes this feature even more desirable is its simplified nature; When rolled out, this feature works perfectly with no other business application specific messaging extensions installed. Simple, seamless, effective.
How often are links to Dynamics 365 records shared in Outlook? The answer is all of the time. As it has been stressed, efficiency is key to customer satisfaction. Now, users can install, sign in, and configure the Dynamics 365 messaging extensions for Outlook as a way to connect with their organization, as well as their app. Once the messaging extensions feature has been added to Teams, it will automatically be added to Outlook. This allows experts and agents to look up, view, and update key customer service records and insert them as an adaptive information card in either desktop or web access Outlook emails as content. This enhances the agent’s focus and abilities by getting rid of the necessity to have multiple applications open.
Imagine a world where sharing business data via email did not require users to switch back and forth from Microsoft Outlook to Dynamics 365, reducing productivity and response rates. Alright, imagine no longer, because that day is soon to come. In the near future, business speed and productivity will only accelerate because of much faster rates on email responses. Conversation participants will be able to act on the business data that is within the email they are viewing with live information cards. Business users can see and easily edit details of importance like case description, status, and priority, directly from the message itself.
Dynamics 365 records are truly what makes customer service subject matter expert’s and agent’s world go round. Both customer satisfaction and agent productivity are enhanced when operations and information sharing are streamlined. Now that agents can access relevant customer data, take and transfer relevant notes, create, assign, or complete tasks, and create and access related records so easily, agents and experts can redirect their keen focus to great customer interactions and issue resolutions. When scheduling an appointment, a Teams meeting can also be created within Dynamics 365 and these meetings can be joined by participants in one simple click. The ability to capture notes during a meeting and imperative, especially with the added convenience of having these notes automatically sync back to the related Dynamics 365 record.
Most organizations today use routing based on queues. For example, when a support ticket or request comes in, it is routed to a relevant queue. Perhaps the case is routed to someone who is more knowledgeable in this area. In other instances, its routed based on territory, or location of the support representative. Once the case is routed to a queue, the support representative pulls from that same queue. The goal is to distribute cases to different support representatives across an organization.
However, humans are humans- and they come with quirks. For example, a service representative could choose to only work on simple and easy-to-resolve support requests to avoid complex resolutions. They could avoid cases that they know will take them longer to resolve. To address them, organizations would have to create custom workflows that will periodically parse and distribute cases among support agents. Some businesses may even have a customer service manager who is overseeing the cases and re-distributing them equally. Both of the above methods take unnecessary amounts of time and are prone to human error. These methods also demand that a person supervise the queue- which adds unnecessary labor cost to the organization.
Microsoft has introduced an intelligent routing service within Dynamics 365 Customer Service that aims at resolving this complex challenge. The intelligent routing service uses AI models and rules to parse service requests (cases) and assign them to the best-suited service representative. This routing service can parse from all channels, including cases, entities, chat, digital messages and voice. The routing service first takes the customer-specific into consideration, for example, it’ll look at case priority and auto-skills matching. It then uses AI models to classify, route and assign work items using automation. This takes away the need for queue supervision which in turn empowers Customer Service Managers to focus on what matters. The intelligent routing service also eliminates manual work distribution, which takes away inefficiencies.
In this Wave Release, Microsoft aims to optimize unified routing diagnostics and default queues to simply the management of support request routing.
The business logic used in routing and distributing work items can be quite complex. However, with businesses needing insights into the status of work items, this logic is a must. For example, customer service departments need to be aware when a work item is taking longer to be distributed to a rep, or when it’s been incorrectly assigned. For this reason, Dynamics 365 Customer Service administrators need a quick way to understanding how rules were evaluated so they can ensure the application runs properly.
In April 2022, Microsoft optimized the diagnostics for unified routing, allowing administrators and customer service managers to see errors and exceptions that are occurring during the routing process. This offers visibility into why certain work items are being held up. Managers will also be able to look at the work items assigned in detail to understand how they were systematically assigned and review ones that are still unassigned.
Some work items get misrouted- either the system experienced a bug, or a rule wasn’t properly in place. Fallback queues are introduced to gracefully tackle these errors. In this Wave Release, Microsoft introduced a simplified management experience that minimizes the time it takes to reroute work items to their proper destination.
For example, Dynamics 365 Customer Service administrators will be able to set fallback queues for each workstream. If a work item doesn’t match a routing condition, it will be routed to the fallback queue. From there, managers monitor a fixed set of fallback queues and simply mitigate issues within that queue. This eliminates the need to go out looking for errored work items across the application.
In summary, the Dynamics 365 2022 Wave 1 Release packs a lot of punch. Microsoft has, yet again, done an amazing job updating and improving their already effective and efficient software. Speeding time to value, team efficiency, and a streamlined customer service experience for both business users and customers are the ideas at the forefront of this update. Organizations will feel a great eight lifted off of their shoulders as Customer Service operations continue to improve and run smoothly. Their customers will keep coming back, with the peace of mind that, if issues arise, the issues will be handled in the most seamless and efficient way, all thanks to Dynamics 365 Customer Service.
If you want to know more about how Microsoft Dynamics 365 can change and improve the internal landscape within an organization, click here.
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