Microsoft Update Contact Centre Application

Microsoft has announced Microsoft Customer Care Framework 2005, a software solution for contact centre operators that delivers consolidated data from core business systems such as billing, customer relationship management (CRM) and order management to the customer service agent desktop.

In this release, Microsoft adds features that enable contact centre operators to more tightly integrate customer service channels, such as voice, instant messaging and e-mail, and develop better self-service solutions, simultaneously helping to reduce operating costs and improve customer service levels.

“We designed Customer Care Framework to enable service providers and enterprises to effectively address the needs of their customers,” said Maria Martinez, corporate vice president of the Communications Sector at Microsoft. “Customer service is an important component of any business because it directly affects the acquisition of customers. Our solution offers different ways for customers to interact with their call centre operator, helping to make their customer service experience more enjoyable.”

Microsoft say the contact centre market is undergoing profound changes to its technology infrastructure as the need to communicate through a variety of customer interaction channels becomes more prevalent. As a result, contact centre operators, including telecom service providers and other large enterprises, must find more efficient means to deliver information from an increasingly complex set of data stores. The Microsoft Customer Care Framework interoperates with diverse core systems through web services that seamlessly deliver back-end customer data to customer service agents.

The solution provides integration of information through new customer interaction channels: web chat, instant messaging and e-mail. The added support channels offer contact centre operators maximum flexibility to interact with customers without sacrificing service levels.

In addition, Customer Care Framework goes beyond the physical contact centre by providing the tools to make customer information available directly to consumers. For instance, through a new SharePoint-based self-service portal and interactive voice-response system, customers can access account and billing information, order new services, or resolve business problems. Customers can also launch a web chat or e-mail interaction with a contact centre agent within the self-service portal.

As part of Customer Care Framework 2005, an integrated agent desktop provides contact centre representatives with a 360-degree view of customer data through a midtier integration layer based on Web services standards. Using smart client technology, the solution leverages local resources and intelligently connects to distributed data sources, circumventing the need for expensive and time-consuming integration with existing systems.

“In today’s environment of heightened customer expectations, fast-changing industry dynamics, megamergers and acquisitions, and increased use of outsourced call centres, enterprises must be adaptable and responsive to changing demands,” said Sheryl Kingstone, programme manager at The Yankee Group. “The contact centre, the single most important point of contact for responding to customer needs, must become more agile, provide a consistent customer experience and be optimised for improved performance. The Microsoft Customer Care Framework helps break down the current barriers that exist.”

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