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Microsoft has long held a place in the heart of the technology stack for many companies. Not only does the brand provide some of the world’s best productivity tools, but Microsoft is also responsible for exceptional communication and collaboration solutions too.

For decades, Skype for Business stood out as an essential service for ventures everywhere, both for internal communication, and through the Skype for Business Server. However, now that Microsoft is approaching end-of-life status for Skype Online solutions, organizations need a plan for how they’re going to adapt and evolve their communications.

The transition from Skype for Business to Teams is thoroughly underway. So, how do you make sure that you have the right plan in place for your contact center?

Why Use Microsoft Teams for the Contact Center?

In recent years, the demand for a better internal communication solution has been growing. Businesses from every environment have been shifting to solutions like Microsoft Teams as a replacement for the cluttered email inbox. With 115 million daily active users as of October 2020, Microsoft Teams stands out as the top choice for enterprise collaboration.

With Teams, employees can share files and screens, host video conferences, communicate via chat and work on projects together in real-time. However, Microsoft Teams can also become a more central part of the communication stack, offering access to UC functionality through direct routing with phone service suppliers or integration with full contact center providers.

As companies continue to embrace Microsoft Teams as the heart of their communications solution, it only makes sense to begin combining the UCaaS environment, with the contact center too. Integrating popular contact center services with Microsoft Teams can provide a full all-in-one environment for handling all kinds of communication, internal and external.

How Do You Move from Skype to Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft offers a variety of migration and upgrade plans for businesses hoping to enhance their collaboration and internal communication strategy with Teams. Shifting from one collaborative service to another is simple enough. Where things get complicated, is when you bring phone systems and contact center services into the mix.

Microsoft Teams can act as the hub for your contact center landscape, combining internal and external streams of conversation. However, you still need the support of a contact center provider to complete the stack. If you already have a contact center in Skype for Business, the best bet is usually to approach your existing vendor and find out whether they have an offering on Teams.

Your existing Skype for Business CC provider may be able to handle the complexities of the transition for you. If you have Skype for Business in your company, but you’re not using it as a contact center, then you can go and begin the search for a CCaaS provider that offers Teams integration.

Currently, the transition from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams in the contact center represents a powerful solution for digital transformation for many businesses. This could be an opportunity to step away from legacy and old-fashioned solutions and begin to place more of your contact center in the cloud, alongside your existing UC technology.

What Options Are Available for Microsoft Teams Contact Centers?

If you’re moving from a Skype for Business Contact Center, to a Microsoft Teams solution, then you have the option to either stick with your current provider or explore the market for something more effective. Finding a new provider might be the best solution for companies that have an on-premise Skype for Business Server system.

Although many existing contact center services for Skype for Business server are very effective, they’re not complimentary to the cloud-based environments that many evolving companies want to create. If you’re already using Microsoft Teams for collaboration and maintaining clunky on-premise kit for customer service, a migration to Teams could be the perfect way to upgrade.

Finding the right Microsoft Teams Contact center means that you can go beyond the basic voice-based call centers of days gone by. Remember, today’s customers don’t just want voice for communication anymore, they expect you to offer a variety of channels, from social media, to instant messaging and video. A shift into the cloud ensures that you can add features to your contact center as and when your clients need them.

A basic cloud contact center integration with Microsoft Teams might sync your business directory and search system within Teams, or give you access to view employee status and transfer calls. However, an advanced, native integration with Microsoft Teams can go so much further.

How to Choose the Right Microsoft Teams CC Solution

Choosing the right Contact Center solution provider for Microsoft Teams means working with a company that has a track record of deploying solutions that work with Microsoft. Building on an extensive partnership with Microsoft, the right vendor can provide access to multiple inbound and outbound channels for communication, truly combining your UC and CC environments.

When looking for a partner to enable your transition to Microsoft Teams, make sure you assess the following things:

1.      Feature Sets

Through long-standing partnerships with Microsoft, the best vendors can offer more advanced features for your contact center. This could include smart digital routing capabilities that send customers to the right agent based on crucial information. You could also look for features that allow you to connect with your customers on more channels.

Beyond voice, today’s consumers are often looking for opportunities to connect with brands through apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, as well as web forms, email, and video.

Remember, beyond the basic cloud contact center solutions like call forwarding, hold queues, and supervisor consoles, a leading provider of Teams Contact Centers can also offer advanced capabilities. The right partner will offer everything from intelligent call distribution through to multiple channels, to custom IVR, and recording components.

2.      Simplicity

The best Microsoft Teams contact center solutions work alongside Teams, taking full advantage of the vast range of features the service has to offer. With a good partner, you’ll be able to give your employees a combined back-end where they can track conversations from multiple channels, simplifying the path to exceptional customer service.

Seamless interfacing with Microsoft Teams means that agents will have a familiar environment to collaborate and communicate with customers. There’ll be less shifting between apps too, so your employees can maintain the best levels of productivity.

The best contact centers for Microsoft Teams work with the service, not against it, so you can enjoy an easy to deploy, and easy-to-maintain backend.

3.      Full customization

Microsoft Teams contact center vendors like Geomant are experts at integrating Teams and contact center solutions with the business applications that companies already use. Connectors will ensure that you can access all of the crucial systems you need, like CRM tools and workforce tracking services. An API-first architecture also means that you can create customizations unique to your business.

Look for a Microsoft Teams contact center provider that gives you complete control over the backend you want to create. This should include access to advanced features and tools whenever you want them. Your contact center provider will be able to implement things like new self-service channels for your customers and chatbots to increase productivity for your team.

4.      Visibility

The best way to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your contact center is to track what’s going on behind the scenes. When your collaboration and contact center solutions are connected, it’s much easier for business leaders to keep an eye on what’s going on. An effective contact center for Microsoft Teams will give you a 360-degree view of the customer journey and the steps that your employees take to improve that journey.

With a full view of all of your unified channels, you won’t have to worry about information silos. You can improve your reporting for compliance purposes and get better insights into how your business can evolve. Power BI reporting and real-time analytics could even give your team members a boost if you use wallboards for gamification.

5.      Scalability

Most of the time, it’s best to start your transition to the Teams contact center by using Teams for collaboration first. Once your employees are comfortable with using Teams for their everyday conversations and interactions with colleagues, then you can start to think about the contact center.

This is the route that many businesses are taking today. Once you see the value that Teams have to offer for internal collaboration, you wonder why you shouldn’t be doing the same with your external connections. The right Teams contact center provider will allow you to choose your own journey into the cloud contact center environment.

When you’re ready, you’ll be able to scale and add new services, use intelligent campaign strategies, and even look into outbound call center tools. The options are endless.

Making the Migration to Microsoft Teams CC

In a world where more companies than ever before are relying on Microsoft Teams as their hub for collaboration, investing in a Teams contact center makes a lot of sense. With the right partner to combine your internal and external communication systems, you can have a more complete and efficient path to better productivity and customer experience.

If you haven’t considered your path from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams in the contact center yet, now is the time to start.

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