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At its Ignite developers event today, Microsoft announced the addition of a first-party voice channel to Dynamics 365 Customer Service, its end-to-end cloud product offering for customer support. According to the company, the new capabilities enable organizations to provide more consistent and personalized service to customers across channels with data-driven, AI-infused solutions.

“Service leaders know that 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from companies that provide more personalized experiences. But for many contact centers, ensuring a continuous, personalized experience across all channels is difficult to achieve. Multiple tools and disconnected data silos prevent agents from having a complete view of the customer journey. But no more. No matter how your customers connect with you, now you can deliver a consistent, intelligent, and personalized service experience,” Dynamics 365 customer service and field service VP Jeff Comstock said in a statement.

AI-powered features

Prior to today’s upgrade, Dynamics 365 Customer Service provided case routing and management for customer service agents and add-ons for insights and omnichannel engagement, as well as authoring tools for knowledge base articles. With the addition of the voice channel, Power Virtual Agent chatbots can now be used as an interactive voice response or for responding to SMS, chat and social messaging channels. Dynamics 365 Customer Service affords AI-based routing of incoming calls to the voice agents, consistent with other support channels. And Microsoft Teams is integrated, allowing agents to collaborate with each other and with subject-matter experts on particular customer topics.


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“AI is infused throughout our first-party voice channel to enrich the customer and agent experience by automating routine tasks and offering insights and recommendations to increase the agent’s focus on the customer,” Comstock continued. “Dynamics 365 Customer Service breaks down traditional data silos between channels with a single, secure data platform, elegantly connecting customer conversations across all channels.”

The updated Dynamics 365 Customer Service offers real-time transcription and live sentiment analysis in addition to AI-driven recommendations for similar cases and knowledge articles. Transcripts can be translated in real time for agents assisting customers in different regions and across multiple languages, while AI analyzes conversations, identifying emerging issues and generating KPIs and insights that span live chat, social messaging, and voice.

“With the new voice channel, we are delivering an all-in-one digital contact center solution that brings together contact center channels, unified communications, leading AI, and customer service capabilities together into a single, software-as-a-service solution, built on the Microsoft Cloud,” Comstock said. “And, when it comes to [businesses, they] have a choice. We continue to support integrations with key partners such as Five9, Genesys, NICE, Solgari, Tenfold, Vonage, and others who are building connectors to enable their voice solutions within Dynamics 365 Customer Service.”

The enhancements come roughly a year after Microsoft launched Azure Communication Services, a service that leverages the same network powering Teams to let developers add multimodal messaging to apps and websites while tapping into services like Azure Cognitive Services for translation, sentiment analysis, and more. The pandemic has accelerated the demand for distributed contact center setups, particularly those powered by AI — according to a 2020 report by Grand View Research, the contact center software market is anticipated to grow to $72.3 billion by 2027.

Amazon recently launched an AI-powered contact center product — Contact Lens — in general availability alongside several third-party solutions. And Google continues to expand Contact Center AI, which automatically responds to customer queries and hands them off to a person when necessary.

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