Imagine you run a contact centre and you already use Microsoft Dynamics CRM or maybe you are considering implementing it, should Unified Service Desk (USD) form part of your plans and is now the right time?
USD allows the creation of a client side solution ideal for contact centres. It includes UI features like session management to allow agents to deal with multiple request simultaneously.
Unified Service Desk also offers capabilities for systems integration. Many operators routinely need to access multiple line of business systems to complete even the most basic customer request, USD can present all of these diverse systems in a single “container”. Making the “jumping around” the agent does transparent to the customer. And as a result speeds call handling and enhances the customer experience.
Integration capabilities can also extend to telephony, something that is obviously at the heart of any contact centre solution. Many PBX suppliers will have software add-ons that provide screen pop abilities to give a level of automation. But USD can go much further than simply popping an agent into a contact screen. Being an extension of the CRM product rather than a third party bolt-on means the user experience is fluid and engaging. Plus, from a technical perspective the possibilities are wider.
Integration doesn’t just include line of business applications and telephony. Don’t forget social media and other web based services. For example, my USD application integrates with LinkedIn!
In today’s multi-channel contact centres, we aren’t limited to inbound telephone calls. Other communication channels like email, web chat and sms all need to be handled seamlessly under the banner of you CRM system. This is bread and butter for USD. (With a little configuration!)
Other features include advanced agent scripting capabilities, linked with the system integration capabilities, USD can help build a business process that even the most inexperienced user can quickly learn to navigate.
USD has evolved from an earlier product called CCA. (The Customer Care Accelerator.) This was essentially a developer framework to allow coders to create a custom layer on top of Dynamics CRM. USD has enhanced these capabilities by providing a configuration layer often removing the need for coding completely. Sure all of the coding flexibility still exists but when used wisely a solution can be created with little or no coding.
CCA was a powerful tool but really only suitable for companies with a desire to enter into some hard-core development. USD, however, makes the adoption of these capabilities quicker and easier. But still allows the creation of custom controls, so when the need arises it can be extended beyond your wildest dreams.
The configuration of USD is still an involved task but the benefits are very significant. Your return on investment should be very high.
“But USD is new and therefore risky.” Right? “Maybe risk adverse companies should avoid it.” Right? If this is what you think, I believe you’d be wrong.
The first service pack on the second version of USD has recently been released. This is an important point as only the brave (or foolish) rush to be an early adopter. I started my first USD project a couple of years ago. Back then speaking to people who shared my problems was almost impossible, this made implementing the product a challenge. Technically speaking this challenge was fun but maybe not an ideal business situation. But as the product matures and the user base grows these concerns are rapidly diminishing. With the launch of version 2.1 USD is becoming a stronger proposition.
So in answer to my earlier question, is now the right time? I respond with a resounding yes. USD is still a developing product but it should no longer be considered bleeding edge. And as each new release happens its position will continue to grow stronger.
In conclusion, any contact centre manager using or considering Dynamics CRM should definitely evaluate Unified Service Desk as part of their IT strategy.