This “chapter” in my series on preparing for the MB2-714 exam (Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Customer Service) is going to cover the essential information you need to know about Unified Service Desk.
Assuming you have read other articles in my blog you’ll probably know I’ve already covered many aspects of Unified Service Desk in great detail. You’ll be pleased to know that the MB2-714 exam isn’t going to test your knowledge to that detailed level but you will need to have a good appreciation of the product.
In recent years the approach to how customer service is delivered has evolved with call centres morphing into contact centres. This shift is more than a name change! As they now routinely need to cope with a true multi-channel approach. Including phone calls, emails, web chat, web requests and even posts from social networks. Plus, agents need to interact with a multitude of back-end solutions whilst providing support in a seamless manner. The complexity and variety of products and services offered also requires the use of sophisticated knowledge basis capabilities. Not to mention that whilst all this is happening customer expectations have massively increased and companies expect their agents to do more in less time.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 goes a long way to addressing these challenges on its own but in many situations creating a unified interface is an essential component in delivering great service.
Unified Service Desk brings all of these features together in one simple interface that can be quickly customized helping to reduce costs. It is designed to empower agents to gain a 360 view of customer data within a single unified interface. It helps deliver fast and accurate customer service in a consistent repeated manner across all commination channels. It is seriously exiting stuff.
Unified Service Desk uses a configuration based framework, meaning configuration changes can be made to tailor how the system operates. It is also possible for developers to further extend its capabilities with code as and when required. This approach creates not only a flexible interface but also one that is scalable to meet the needs of even the largest organisations.
Unified Service desk includes session management capabilities, allowing agents to simultaneously handle multiple customer queries. Each session can contain multiple tabs giving different views of the customer. These tabs retain contextual information about the customer, making integration with multiple aspects of CRM and even other business applications seamless and quick. (It is important to note that Unified Service Desk does this whilst maintaining the role based security model offered by Microsoft Dynamics.)
USD 2.0 (the version which is part of CRM 2016) also supports deploying extensions to the product in an automated way. Developers can extend the application, the customizations are stored on the server and automatically copied to the agent’s desktops as required. (In essence executable components are held in a .zip file which is cached to the client and unpacked as required.)
Unified Service Desk also contains a concept of configurations, a default configuration exists then individual users can have alternative configurations.
If you’ve not seen Unified Service Desk before you can see a demonstration video here. Also see THIS LINK for a post which goes into greater detail about why you might want to use Unified Service Desk.
The scope of the MB2-714 exam will not cover configuring Unified Service Desk but gaining a basic understanding of the key components to USD is important. I have attempted to give a brief summary of the components of Unified Service Desk below;
|Hosted Control||Hosted controls are the objects / components that make up a Unified Service Desk application. When pieced together they make up the entire system. Some hosted controls can be created with simple customizations but also developers can create other controls to support complex tasks.|
|Action calls||You can think of actions as functions. They are called from events attached to hosted controls or other events that occur within Unified Service Desk. Actions, for example, can be added to toolbars, answers in agent scripts, and window navigation rules.|
|Agent Scripting||Agent scripts can be configured to prompt agents with questions and answers in context to the data being viewed. (They have quite a bit in common, conceptually with dialogs in CRM.)|
|Entity Searches||An entity search is essentially a piece of Fetch XML that when triggered can drive actions and window navigation rules.|
|Events||Events are triggered when “important” things occur. Unified Service Desk’s hosted controls receive notifications about events that can then be tied to actions.|
|Configurations||There can be multiple configurations for a single organization. Users can share one default configuration or they can be separated.|
|Forms||Forms are a place to store declarative form definitions.|
|Options||Options are global name / value pairs. Think of them an constant variables that can then be addressed in the various parts of the Unified Service Desk solution.|
|Window Navigation Rules||Window Navigation Rules define the system behaviour as users navigate the system. They might include opening a session when a customer is selected on a CRM form. Or popping up a tab if a search returns some data. And can even interact with telephone systems via a standard known as CTI.|
|Toolbars||Unified Service Desk can have multiple menus (toolbars), each one will contain a number buttons and each button can then be associated with one or more actions.|
|Session Lines||Session lines define how sessions should behave. Including how the tabs should be names and how to display a summary overview of the sessions content.|
|User settings||These operate a little like options, but are tied to a named user. Meaning you can define “variables” on a user by user basis.|
I hope this post has given you the overview of Unified Service Desk required for your preparation towards the MB2-714 exam. I think Unified Service Desk presents a great opportunity in contact centre environments and I encourage everyone to dig deeper into its capabilities.
My next post will look at Service Management Analysis. Covering how to use CRM dashboards, the PowerBI service dashboard and other reporting capabilities to monitor service performance. So something to look forward to. J
You can find my complete collection of posts for MB2-714 here.