Microsoft’s Omnichannel for Customer Service allows us to escalate web chat conversations to voice and video calls, this is a great feature when conversations become complex and a chat conversation is simply more long winded than a voice call.
In this post I will explain how to setup the video calling feature. I will also give details about the agent and customer experiences.
Not everyone will want to enable voice and video so usefully it isn’t enabled by default. You system administrator will need to make a small change to the configurations of your chat channel.
Below you can see that I have opened my chat widget configuration in the Omnichannel Administration app. (You will find your chat widget in the “chat” option in the channels group.
In the conversations options tab initially my call options were set to “No calling”. I can change this to enable “Video and voice calling” or “Voice only”.
As I will show in a second, the customer always has the option to enable their camera or not. So these options refer to the agent side of the conversation. Meaning generally speaking I think using the “Voice only” option might be preferable. I have only actually worked in one contact center that used two way video and they had to provide uniforms for their agents and setup a suitable corporate backdrop behind the agents. I would suggest that more often than not we wouldn’t want customers seeing the agents and the environment they work in!
Once enabled you may need to wait a few minutes but after a pause your chats will be voice and video enabled.
You might need to be aware that Microsoft recommend you have 1Mbps upload speed. And 2Mbps download speed.
Now during webchats agents can instigate a voice or voice and video call.
Below you can see the agent experience when just voice is enabled. At the top of their chat window they have a phone icon, pressing this would escalate the web chat to a voice call.
Having selected to initiate a call the agent will have a control to mute their phone or disconnect the call. Also in the chat window you will see when the voice call was requested and accepted by the customer. (I will show the customer experience in a second!)
Incidentally the messages that are triggered when calls are requested, accepted and terminated do form part of the web chat conversation. Meaning if you review the transcript later you can see when a conversation was escalated to voice or video. However no call recording is happening. So we can see when a voice call happened but not what was said.
With video enabled the agent experience is pretty similar. Except the phone icon is replaced ed with “…”. Clicking this opens up a small menu to select either a voice or video call.
Regardless of which option the agent selects they get pretty much the same set of call controls. It is just that the video is disabled (by default) for a voice call. Once the customer connects, assuming they turn on their video the agent will see the output from the customers camera in their chat panel.
When an agent initiates a voice (or video) call their total capacity is then consumed. Meaning that whilst taking a call no additional chats would be routed to them. Although a supervisor can still manually assign conversations if required.
The customer experience is pretty straight forward, when the agent initiates the call the customer will see the incoming call. And can click on the video or voice buttons to accept the call. Or click the red phone button to reject the call!
Note: As mentioned earlier the customer always has the ability to accept as video or voice.
And obviously after the customer accepts the call they can talk with and optionally see the agent.
I did have one problem with initiating a video call. I have a Microsoft Surface Pro, which has two cameras. By default the call enabled my rear facing camera but I needed to use my front facing camera. No option exists on a Surface Pro to easily change to the other camera. Granted this problem will not happen on many devices and is more of an issue with the Surface Pro than Omnichannel for Customer Service. (In my case I finally disabled my rear camera in my device settings. I did this as I never use the rear camera anyway!)
Hopefully this post has given a detailed explanation of voice and video calling using Omnichannel for Customer Service. I found the feature easy to configure and despite some issues with my Surface Pro pretty bullet proof. Enjoy.