Microsoft Teams is the number one tool for UCaaS and collaboration on the market today.
With 115 million daily active users, Microsoft helps connect teams, improve information sharing, and align business ecosystems. With the right integrations, Microsoft Teams can also deliver an incredible contact center experience.
So, how do you use Microsoft Teams as the hub of your contact center strategy? This guide will tell you everything you need to know.
Microsoft Teams and the Modern Workforce?
For decades, companies relied on a wide selection of tools to connect employees and manage business processes. You’d have email to connect internally, phone lines for contact centers, data storage servers, and separate CRM (customer relationship management) tools. The result was a disjointed team with very little flexibility or scalability.
Microsoft Teams opened the door to new ways of working
Microsoft Teams emerged at a time when companies were searching for better ways to collaborate and communicate. Offering real-time messaging, video and audio conferencing, file sharing, screen sharing, and a host of other features, Microsoft Teams quickly became the go-to platform for Unified Communications as a Service.
As Microsoft Teams took the world by storm, companies began searching for ways to use their Microsoft assets for more daily tasks, including sales and customer service. Companies in search of a truly aligned communication system began searching for opportunities to migrate to a Teams UCaaS and CCaaS environment.
Microsoft’s limited phone system and contact center capabilities opened the door for integration partners and value-add resellers who could deliver a bespoke Teams experience.
What Call Center Functions Does Microsoft Teams Have?
The arrival of the 2020 pandemic and a shift to remote work increased interest in Microsoft Teams contact center capabilities on a massive scale. Companies already using Microsoft for internal collaboration and productivity tools wanted a way to align their existing communication stack with their contact center.
To serve customers and stand out as a powerful UCaaS solution, Microsoft does offer some calling functionality of the box. Users can make VoIP calls and interact through the internet. However, if you want to unlock more advanced features, you’ll need to consider using Microsoft calling plans or direct routing.
What Microsoft lacks in functionality, it makes up for in flexibility
Unfortunately, Microsoft isn’t a Communications company, so the solutions available through a Microsoft plan are still somewhat limited. Your calling plan can connect Teams users and mobile or landline phones through the Public Switched Telephone Network. However, you won’t get nearly as many features through Microsoft as you can expect from a dedicated contact center vendor.
The good news is that Microsoft is flexible. If you want to use Microsoft Teams for customer interaction, you can also consider direct routing.
Why Use a Contact Center Integrated with Microsoft Teams?
At a time when all companies are re-evaluating their approach to contact center technology, Microsoft Teams represents an excellent opportunity for digital transformation. Traditional PBX contact centers are starting to become outdated, particularly in an age where remote work is growing more popular.
The right contact center solution for Microsoft Teams offers access to all the benefits of Microsoft Teams as a productivity and collaboration tool while offering advantages like:
- Better team alignment: Your team members stay connected through Teams while dealing with customer queries through any channel (chat, voice, and video) in a single pane of glass.
- Business continuity: With Teams, companies can enjoy the same consistent experience anywhere, even when working remotely.
- Improved business management: A central environment for internal and external communication makes it easier to manage and track team performance.
- Flexibility: With a solution like Buzzeasy for Microsoft Teams, companies can add further channels and tools to their contact center whenever they choose. You can easily integrate things like WhatsApp, Live Chat, SMS, and bots.
- Reliability: Working with a dedicated vendor for Microsoft Teams ensures that you leverage Microsoft Teams' best features without compromising on call quality or consistency.
- Scalability: A Microsoft Teams contact center in the cloud supports easy and quick scalability when you need to add new features, phone lines, and other functionality to your tech stack.
A Microsoft Teams contact center supported by the right vendor also ensures that you can comply with all of your industry's most important regulations and guidelines. Vendors can deliver custom Microsoft Teams solutions that provide crucial additional tools, like compliance recording systems.
What is Microsoft Teams Direct Routing?
One of the things that makes Microsoft Teams so appealing as a UCaaS and CCaaS solution is its flexibility. When you purchase a Microsoft Teams Contact Center solution, three components will make up the bulk of your cost:
- A Microsoft 365 user license
- Teams contact center SaaS subscriptions
- Voice add-on technology or direct routing
Direct routing can be an easy way to minimize costs by getting the most out of your existing phone system investments.
Direct routing means you can access phone licenses from Microsoft Teams while still using the existing telecoms provider you trust for trunking. Direct routing gives you:
- Consistency: Direct routing is a great way to stick with the existing investment you have in your communications plan. Direct routing means you don’t have to migrate users.
- Geographical freedom: You can use Microsoft Teams for calling in a range of countries, going even beyond what’s available from standard Microsoft calling plans.
- Simplicity: You choose the functionality that you need from Microsoft Teams and your preferred telephony provider.
- Affordability: Direct routing can be more cost-effective than calling plans, particularly if you have specific needs that require you to mix-and-match functionality.
- Flexibility: Partners and innovators work with direct routing providers to deliver flexible tools. For instance, Geomant Buzzeasy for Teams comes with support for smart voice and digital routing, easy channel management, and more.
How Do You Choose the Right Teams Contact Center?
The first step in choosing a contact center solution is understanding what kind of journey you’re going to be making.
What kind of journey are you making?
Are you moving from a traditional phone system to Microsoft Teams and want access to direct routing combined with Advanced Communication features and API components? Then you need a provider that has experience linking legacy technology to Teams.
If, like some companies, you already have a Skype for Business contact center, then you may need to find a vendor that can help you to make the transition from Skype for Business servers into the new Teams environment.
Whichever route you’re taking, you’ll need a Microsoft Teams partner with experience. Your vendor should be able to transform Microsoft Teams into a multi-channel contact hub, enabling all kinds of digital customer interaction.
A note to resellers
Resellers hoping to add Microsoft Teams contact center solutions to their service should also be careful to assess their partners carefully. Companies like Geomant can give resellers a more flexible way to build the perfect communications service for their end-users.
Points to Look for in a Teams Contact Center Provider
All Microsoft Teams Contact Center solutions come with unique pros and cons to consider. The key to success is finding a provider who can help you leverage all of the benefits of Microsoft Teams in a way that drives a better return on investment.
Check your Teams Contact Center provider offers:
- Alignment: A good vendor enhances Microsoft Teams by building on the existing infrastructure and APIs. This will allow for a more seamless experience with Microsoft Teams for UCaaS and CCaaS.
- Innovation: Your vendor should give you the freedom to take advantage of new, helpful features as and when you choose, including AI and smart routing.
- Flexibility: Your vendor will combine all of your contact center requirements into a single pane of glass, supporting better productivity and customer service.
- Customization: A contact center for Microsoft Teams built on an API-first infrastructure will allow you to add new features, like call recording, barge-in, and whisper functionality, wallboard access and advanced reporting.
- Security: Your contact center should align with all the regulations for privacy and security, to offer complete peace of mind to both business leaders, and your target audience.
- Management tools: Can your contact center solution make it easier for you to manage a remote team? Barge in and whisper functionality, as well as silent monitoring, can help supervisors to empower remote workers.
Are Microsoft Teams Contact Centers Compliant?
Microsoft Teams is a valuable tool for team alignment and better customer service in the contact center. However, when you’re investing in new solutions for your company, it’s important to ensure that you’re not compromising on compliance.
Don’t compromise on compliance
Though call recording has been a feature of Microsoft Teams for some time, the functionality has only offered “convenience recording”. In regulated industries where calls need to be recorded and stored according to specific rules, a more comprehensive recording service is necessary.
Choosing a contact center provider for Microsoft Teams that stays on the cutting edge of the latest Teams APIs will help you to overcome common compliance issues. Microsoft recently opened a new API for companies to set recording at a system-level – ideal for maintaining crucial information. You can even channel your recordings to a secure location based on your needs.
With Geomant’s cloud recording service for Microsoft Teams, you can add the extra compliance recording features you need to your Microsoft experience with ease. The solution combines market-leading Verint technology with an Azure hosting experience for security and stability.
A fully-managed Teams recording experience builds on the contact center potential of Microsoft Teams with:
- Flexible functionality: A software as a service (SaaS) solution for Teams recording allows you to scale your requirements as your business grows.
- Simple operation: Your recording system will be free from complex infrastructure and maintenance requirements, so you can focus on running your business.
- Excellent reliability: Leading service, recording technology, and data center stability ensures ongoing dependability for your company.
- Quick and easy deployment: A cloud-based service comes with minimal provisioning costs, so you can get to work on your recordings instantly.
- Customization options: The right recording service can flex to suit your needs, and the changing demands of your industry.
Learn more about compliant enterprise-grade recording in our webinar.
How to Choose Microsoft Teams Recording Tools
A Microsoft Teams compliant recording solution works hand-in-hand with your Microsoft Teams Contact Center. The ideal solution will make managing compliant recordings as simple as using Microsoft Teams for collaboration purposes.
Verint technology from Geomant allows businesses to create compliance solutions specifically tailored to the needs of their organizations. Third-party and managed solutions improve compliance quickly and easily, with a tamper-resistant approach to recording.
When choosing your Microsoft Teams compliant recording solution, ask yourself:
- What are your requirements for recording? What level of compliance do you need to adhere to? Finding a recording solutions provider who understands the unique needs of your industry is crucial here.
- What do you need to record? Are you just recording calls with customers, or do you need to capture every interaction, including video conversations, chat messages, and internal discussions between teams?
- Is the recording solution resilient? What kind of data centers are the solutions built on, and how can you ensure that your system will be reliable? Can your provider promise you an experience that’s secure and consistent?
- How will I manage provisioning? How do you simplify the maintenance, deployment, and scaling of recording infrastructure? How will your platform support user provisioning and administration for remote workers?
- How will you get the most value out of your recorded data? How easy will it be to make your new recording solution a central component of your contact center ecosystem? How can you ensure that you’re taking full advantage of the compliance features available?
Are You Looking for a Microsoft Teams Contact Center?
Want to see first-hand how you can take advantage of Microsoft Teams as a contact center solution? Check out our webinars such as:
Or read on…
If you still have questions about Microsoft Teams and the contact center solutions you can access with it, check out our other articles and blog posts. We have plenty of useful resources to teach you everything you need to know about the Teams contact center.
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