A closer look at Dynamics 365 for Customer Service

Dynamics 365 for Customer Service lets organizations better service their customers by equipping customer service agents with the tools that they need manage individual case loads, track service-related activities, and quickly locate the best resolution. Whether the focus is on Business to Business (B2B) or Business to Consumer (B2C) related scenarios, Dynamics 365 for Customer Service provides service-based organizations with the ability to deliver omni-channel solutions to their customers that not only provide them with greater flexibility but better ensure that customers are provided with a consistent level of service regardless of the channel they choose to communicate through.

Not only does Dynamics 365 for Customer Service provide better experiences for customers, but it helps support agents better optimize their time by providing them with an intuitive user interface that lets them better manage their case workloads through a series of interactive dashboards. These dashboards enable agents to dynamically sort and filter cases based on criteria that matters to them.

Cases can be automatically created and routed to different support queues based on configurable criteria that organizations define. This not only helps to more effectively manage case loads, but it helps to ensure that customers are provided with the specific level of service they are entitled to based on any support agreements the customer might have with an organization.

After an agent has identified the case they want to work on, customized case resolution processes will help guide them through the process of resolving the case based on factors such as case type, product it's associated with, or other business-related criteria. Agents can leverage a central knowledge repository to search for articles and content that can provide them with the tools and knowledge necessary to resolve customer issues.

Key features

Here is a list of the key functionalities that Dynamics 365 for Customer Service offers:

  • Case management: In Dynamics 365 for Customer Service, organizations are Customer service managers can easily view, sort and act on cases using queues, hierarchies, the Unified Service Desk, or the Customer Service Hub.

  • Service level management: Entitlements and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) define and track service expectations between the support organization and their customer accounts.

  • Knowledge management: Support agents can utilize a repository of knowledge articles to assist in case resolution.

  • Voice of the Customer: Organizations can easily interact with their customers via Voice of the Customer, a survey application that allows you to capture valuable feedback about your services. The survey responses are stored in Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement, allowing your organization to review analytics.

Here's an example of how all these different elements work together to provide an end-to-end solution.

Customer Service Diagram

The image above represents a typical customer scenario, where a customer has a support agreement with a service center. In this case, there's a gold customer with a support contract (referred to as an entitlement in Dynamics 365). The support contract entitles them to open 15 cases with our organization over a one-year period.

Case creation

To provide the customer with the most flexibility in reporting issues, they are able to open cases from multiple channels including via a phone call, from a mobile application, through social media, or by sending an email to a designated support queue. (In the example above, the customer has sent an email.)

After the email is received, a record creation rule examines the email and identifies who sent the email. It then can evaluate data stored in the account record associated with the sender of the email to determine that they are a gold customer. Data from the email can be used to populate the new case that is created.

Move to a queue

Because the account is a gold customer, after the case is created, routing rules will automatically route the newly created case to the gold customer queue. Because gold customers are promised a 15-minute response time, a service level agreement creates a first response by KPI to signify that initial contact with the customer needs to be completed within 15 minutes.

A support agent who has access to the gold queue, takes the case from the queue to work on it, and is now responsible for resolving the case. Any agent who is viewing the gold queue will see that the case is currently being worked on by another agent, and will then be able to focus their attention on a different case that has not been claimed from the queue.

To assist the agent in resolving the case, a pre-configured case resolution process is automatically applied to the case based on the case type indicated on the case record. This pre-configured process contains multiple stages. Each stage has several steps identified that should be completed.

Utilize the knowledge base

During the researching stage, the agent uses the integrated knowledge search capabilities to locate a knowledge article that contains a potential resolution to the case. The agent emails the article to the customer directly from within the case record. After it is determined that the proposed resolution does solve the customers issue, the agent resolves the case in Dynamics 365.

Resolve the case

Upon successful resolution of the case, the customer's entitlement record is automatically updated to reflect that they now have 14 cases remaining on their entitlement.

Because of the configuration-based architecture of the application, the process described in this example can be easily tailored to meet the needs of any organization regardless of the industry they are in.

Customer Service functionality demo

Current situation - HCL has a customer contact center where customer support agents are available to assist customers with any needs that they have. While they do provide support services to all of their customers, they do have a select number of customers that have purchased support contracts and are entitled to higher priority response and resolutions than other clients.

Customers can purchase one of three support tiers:

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Bronze

Each one has separate response and resolution times that need to be honored. Additionally, some cases might be escalated based on things that either occur or don't occur while the case is being work on.

Business objectives - HCL is looking to leverage Dynamics 365 in their contact center to assist in better routing of case workloads, more effectively track communication, and provide agents with more tools to resolve cases quicker.

HCL is hoping to achieve the following:

  • Route cases to different support queues based on the type of customer that opens the case.
  • Provide a consistent and repeatable case resolution process.
  • Ensure that response and resolution times are being met for each support tier.
  • Implement a central knowledge repository that can be leveraged by agents.
  • Provide a central workspace that agents can use to better manage their case workloads.

Business scenario - A customer service agent is leveraging Dynamics 365 to assist in case management and resolution. They need to know which cases are currently open and identify which ones are associated with contract customers, so they can assist those customers first. Because HCL provides call details to all their clients, it is important that all related activities are stored with the call. Because many customer issues are similar, they can determine if they can leverage an existing solution before they attempt anything else.

To ensure that customers are receiving the level of service that has been promised to them, Dynamics 365 for Customer Service provides a large toolset that can be easily configured based of the individual service needs of the organization that is implementing it. This ensures that regardless of the organizational needs, a solution can be implemented that will work for them.

Here's an example of a typical customer service agent journey using the Dynamics 365 and the Customer Service Hub application.

With Dynamics 365 for Customer Service, organizations can easily:

  • Create customized service dashboards that provide agents with the tools necessary to easily identify and manage case workloads.
  • Implement service level agreements and entitlements to ensure that not only are customers getting the level of service they are entitled to, but that if organizational KPI's are in danger of not being met, actions can be triggered to proactively avoid non-compliance.
  • Automatically create and route cases accordingly regardless of the channel that they were reported through.
  • Define consistent case resolution processes based on the different types of cases that customers might report.
  • Create a centralized Knowledge management repository that agents can leverage to assist in the case resolution process.

Omni-channel service overview

More and more customers and service-based organizations are looking for omni-channel support solutions. Omni-channel is more than just providing customers with multiple support options, it's about providing customers with a consistent experience across whichever channel they choose to engage customer support with. Each customer should have a single customer profile customer that can be accessed regardless of the channel used. Additionally, in scenarios where customers are transitioned from one channel to another such as first communicating with an automated chatbot, and then transitioning to chatting with a live agent, the transition should be seamless and all information captured from the first channel should be available in the second channel.

When combined with other technologies such as Azure, Dynamics 365 provides organizations with the tools necessary to deliver omni-channel solutions to customers. For example, with Dynamics 365 customer self-service portals, organizations can provide customers with self-service support options such as searching a knowledge repository to locate articles that can provide assistance. Additionally, customers can potentially submit case requests directly from the portal and have those cases automatically created in Dynamics 365.

In instances where customers would rather engage with support through a chat channel, the Microsoft Bot framework, combined with cognitive services can be used to create powerful chatbots that customers can engage not only to find answers from the Dynamics 365 knowledge base, but also search other dynamics 365 data such as account, contact, or case records and using that information to provide a customized automated chat experience.

If a customer is passed on to a live agent, the interactions from that channel can be recorded and logged so when the customer is accessed again in the future, a transcript of the entire interaction is available to anybody who is working on the issue.

Omni-channel Customer Journey

Not only is it possible to provide an omni-channel experience where customer data is stored and accessible in the future, with the Dynamics 365 Channel Integration Framework, organizations can create solutions that provide the ability to surface the ability to engage through different channels directly from within the Dynamics 365 user interface. For example, a chat widget could be surfaced inside Dynamics 365's Customer Service Hub. When an agent logs into the application, they are automatically logged into the chat interface. As customers request a live agent chat, the agent is notified of all available chats directly inside Dynamics 365.

When the customer accepts a chat, the corresponding customer record is loaded into the application, and the transcript of the chat is automatically captured and stored as a Dynamics 365 record. Any new cases that originate from that chat activity will be associated with it, so the transcript will be available in scenarios where other agents might need to work on the case.

This same channel integration framework can be leveraged to surface softphone functionality in the application, facilitate screen pops, or provide the ability to engage with customers using co-browse or video solutions.

Omni-channel service demo

Current situation - One area that HCL's customer tend to indicate as a pain point is that their support experience is not consistent across different channels, and that there are not enough channels available to provide the flexibility that they need. Customers can only engage with HCL through phone calls and emails. This can consume a lot of their time, and many times they only needed a quick answer. HCL recently started providing a support request form on their website, but customers have no way of looking into the status of those requests.

Business objectives - HCL is looking to implement a self-support scenario where customers can sign in to a business portal and leverage a knowledge base to attempt to resolve issues. Additionally, customers should be able to submit support requests, and be able to see the status of those requests for a centralized screen. HCL would also like to provide customers with additional options for support.

HCL would like to achieve the following:

  • Create a customer self-service portal where customers can sign in to for support.
  • Ensure that customers can leverage the same knowledge management repository that internal agents use.
  • Provide customers with a central support area for creating new requests and reviewing any submitted issue regardless of the channel they were submitted from.
  • Provide customers with the ability to engage agents through a chat window.
  • Leverage bots to aid on minor issues and pass off to live agent when required.
  • Provide agents the ability to engage with customers through chat directly from Dynamics 365.
  • Enable voice, video, and co-browsing options for the agent.
  • Ensure that context is available for all reported issues regardless of channel.

Business scenario - One of your organization’s customers needs to find information about a product that they recently received that was defective. Before they engage with a service representative directly, they would first like to determine if they can find a resolution to the problem on their own though your organizations portal. The customer should be able to easily search for a potential resolution while on the portal. If they cannot find a resolution, you should provide them with the option to either log a new support instance or engage through a chat.

From an agent’s perspective, it’s important that they can easily identify any current chat requests that have been submitted from within the Dynamics 365 Customer Service Hub application. As they open the chat activity, the agent should be able to identify which contact initiated the chat. Additionally, the agent should be able to further engage with the customer either through voice, video, or co-browsing.

Here's what this scenario might look like, both through the customer experience when they are engaging through the portal, as well as what the agent will see when a customer initiates a chat activity.

As you can see, with Dynamics 365 and other technologies such as Azure, organizations can provide true omni-channel support capacities that provide customers with a consistent experience regardless of the channel that is being leveraged. Additionally, as the customer is transitioned across channels, the data from previous channel interactions is available in the current channel.

With Dynamics 365 for Customer Service, Omni-Channel Solutions can be achieved by:

  • Creating customer self-service portals to provide customers with the ability to search the Dynamics 365 knowledgebase and initiate support requests.
  • Leveraging the Microsoft Bot framework and Cognitive Services to create intelligent chat bots that can query and communicate Dynamics 365 data to provide a truly personalized automated chat experience.
  • Using the Channel Integration Framework to surface and engage through different channels directly from within the Dynamics 365 user interface.