"Bringing People Together"--How Microsoft Teams and Other Collaboration Tools are Transforming Customer Service.

Author:Black, Alex

More and more businesses today are focused on optimising the customer journey. They are mapping out the way customers interact with them and their typical process of 'flowing through the organisation', and then looking at how they can best streamline that process in order to improve the customer experience.

With the customer journey continuing to become ever more important to organisations over time, more businesses are handling more of the routine or predictable interactions they have with customers through self-service or automated channels. Remaining queries and interactions tend to be complex or awkward, often requiring the involvement of multiple parties to resolve. That is why we are seeing growing numbers of organisations making more active use of remote access or mobile technologies and putting in place collaboration environments like 'sandpits' or 'boxes', where several people can join forces to work on the same issue. According to a recent report, "Productivity, the digital workplace & the collaboration conundrum" by Dr. Nicola J Millard, Head of Customer Insight and Futures at BT, 9 in 10 business executives say mobile and collaboration technologies have improved the productivity of their workplace. (1)

Reaching out across the Enterprise.

We are now seeing this focus on collaboration positively impact many different areas of customer service. Take car insurance as an example. If the renewal or new policy request ticks a number of standard boxes, the process is straightforward and can be handled entirely in the front office by the customer service agent. If it is more complex, however, and the car needs to be insured immediately, it may need the involvement of actuaries in the middle office. More complex still, and it is likely to be referred to the back office where underwriters will need to work on it.

Using a traditional communications approach, this is likely to be a long-winded and protracted process, potentially involving multiple interactions with the customer, and inevitable delay and frustration. Moving forwards, the key to resolving these issues lies in businesses integrating the contact centre environment at the heart of their communications approach with the latest collaboration tools, most notably including Microsoft Teams.

Applications like Teams effectively allow organisations to extend the contact centre from the frontline agent into the middle and back offices enabling them in turn to streamline the business...

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