Paul Mason on why Microsoft Teams offers seamless communication

Paul Mason on why Microsoft Teams offers seamless communication

The global Microsoft alliance lead explains how Solgari Contact Centre for Microsoft Teams allows organisations to respond to their customers flexibly and effectively through one unified platform

Alex Smith |

People have become used to communicating instantly across a range of different platforms, whether its social media, email, SMS, live chat or voice. They expect organisations to be just as flexible in their communications, answering their questions and concerns via any channel using knowledge from any previous discussions they might have had. 

“Customers expect communication to be relevant to them and their interests and contextualised by their prior history with that organisation – and they expect it to be secure,” says Paul Mason, global Microsoft alliance lead at Solgari. “Ultimately, they expect a joined-up interaction across any channel. This requires businesses to have a similarly joined-up, holistic view into all interaction data across all their communication channels. This is still challenging many businesses, which often have multiple fragmented communication systems and data stored across different silos.” 

One of the platforms that businesses themselves will be using most frequently to communicate is Microsoft Teams. There are now more than 300 million Teams users around the world following the boom in remote and hybrid working during the pandemic. Solgari therefore saw an opportunity to bring its all-channel business communication solution to a new and valuable platform that its customers were already using. 

“Teams is clearly a trusted leader in unified communications,” says Mason. “More and more users want Teams as their primary communication and collaboration workspace, allowing them to simply access other line-of-business applications while remaining in their Teams environment.” 

Solgari wanted to make sure that any integration was more than a superficial one. Instead of simply using the Teams platform as an initial stepping stone to another service, the company investigated how it could make best use of Teams’ capabilities. This led it to develop Solgari Contact Centre for Microsoft Teams, one of the few contact-centres-as-a-service solutions to be integrated to the deepest level available; the Extend model. 

The Extend model uses the Graph API that Microsoft created for third-party providers to integrate their solutions with Teams calls. In the Extend model, calls are not transferred out from Teams like in the Connect model. Instead, calls are kept inside of Teams, and calls can come into Teams and the Solgari Contact Centre with any connection like Calling Plans, Direct Routing and Operator Connect. 

“The Extend model provides users with the significant benefits of remaining natively within their preferred Teams environment, including Single Sign On, Agent Presence and seamless interaction with all other Microsoft Services,” says Mason. “It also provides the Microsoft Operator Partner Community with the ability to continue to carry their customers’ voice data over their own public switched telephone network, providing them with a natural upgrade path for their clients who are moving towards Teams as their preferred communications platform.”  

This can be particularly helpful when organisations are dealing with a customer making an enquiry that cannot be solved by a chatbot. In these instances, a live agent must get involved, and they will need to be able to access the conversation that’s already taken place to deliver the best possible service. 

Solgari Contact Centre for Microsoft Teams enables the agent to remain working within their Teams environment throughout the entire conversation, no matter if the customer initiated it via SMS, email or a media channel – or a blend. 

Sometimes, the customer may decide that rather than just chat, they would like to talk to the agent. The agent can then simply call the customer directly from within Teams and continue the conversation. If the agent then needs to bring another colleague in to help resolve the query, they can put the client on hold while they message or call their colleague through Teams, then bring the colleague into the conversation with the customer, again all whilst staying natively within the Teams application. 

Once the client’s query is resolved to their satisfaction, everything is automatically recorded and available for training and compliance requirements. 

“The customer received a seamless, single continuous experience across multiple channels, multiple people, and artificial intelligence – resulting in a first contact resolution to their issue,” says Mason. “The business provided a highly automated and deeply interconnected experience, maximising the productivity of their team.” 

Achieving this level of integration has required a close collaboration between Solgari and Microsoft. 

“Solgari is a Microsoft Global Managed Independent Software Vendor Partner with a deep engineering and commercial relationship,” says Mason. “Our teams work very closely together with sponsorship from both the engineering and commercial global leadership teams within Microsoft.” 

This article was originally published in the Summer 2023 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription

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