Omnichannel Voice – Phone Number Setup

In this post I will explain how I initially connected Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Omnichannel for Customer Service to Azure Communication Services and configured the voice channel.

I’d already installed Dynamics 365 Omnichannel and enabled the voice channel as a trial. So now it was time to end the trial and provision a live UK phone number using Azure Communication Services!

Maybe I am just slow, but I found this process took me a couple of hours. So, you might need to put some time aside!

The steps I needed to follow broadly followed the list below. This was my first voice number, meaning I wasn’t worried about what the number was or the specifics of the workstream. (I’m sure I will return to this setup later to configure my IVR, customize my on-hold music and much more.)

  1. End my trial.
  2. Create Azure communication Services (ACS) resource group and resource.
  3. Create a phone number in ACS.
  4. Sync phone number into Omnichannel for Customer Service.
  5. Create a simple workstream. (Initially I mainly kept the defaults!)
  6. Test.

I am sure you can find loads of documentation around the technical details of each of these steps on the Microsoft sites. What I am going to document here is going to be the high-level details of the process I followed. As I hope that will give you a sense of the overall process you’d need to follow. But I’d expect you may need to make a few different decisions along the way!!

Step One – End my trial.

My first step is a simple one. Before I can start to provision live numbers, I need to end my trial.

I begin by opening my “Customer Service Admin Centre” and locating the “Phone numbers” option. You will find this in the channels area which is under the “Customer support” heading.

Ending the trial is nice and simple. As there is a useful button titles “End trial”.

Once my trial has ended you can see that the yellow notification bar had gone and I’m presented with a “Get started” button.

Step Two – Create Azure communication Services (ACS) resource group and resource.

Having clicked “Get started”, my first task is to connect to Azure Communication Services. If you have an ACS resource group already define you can use the advanced option to connect to an existing resource. (If you do this you’ll be prompted to complete a number of fields about your existing subscription, so you will need to locate the correct information within your Azure portal.)

As this was my first time using ACS I opted to create a new resource group. The simple option!

I just selected “create new resource”, picked my subscription and then seleted “create new resource group”.

I gave my resource group a name and clicked “Create”.

Tip: This process failed for me a couple of times! I’m not 100% sure why. Other than it seemed to take time from creating my resource group before I could add the resource. So after you create your resource group I suggest getting a cup of coffee!

Next, I entered my resource name and clicked deploy. The deployment took a few minutes. So you might need to be patient at this stage.

After finishing my coffee … I was finally presented with a congratulations message. As Omnichannel voice was now connected to the ACS.

Step Three – Create a phone number in ACS

I found that I could only add US numbers direct from the Dynamics 365 app. I wanted a UK number! So instead, I opened my Azure portal, found my ACS resource group and opened the resource I’d just created.

You can see below that I located the “Phone numbers” option and selected “Get a number”.

Notice that there are options to port existing numbers or to setup direct routing. (aka bring your own carrier.) For my simple requirement I “just” needed a brand new number that would be provided by Microsoft. Meaning, you may need to leverage other options in ACS to manage your existing numbers!

I admit at this stage I did find some limitations on the type of numbers I could create! For example, it told me local numbers weren’t currently available. I’m not sure why!

As I didn’t care about what type of number I created, I continued with a toll-free number. You may get a different experience, or you may find you need to follow the process to submit a special order.

For the “use case” I wasn’t 100% which option to select. But I assumed that as I was going to be using the Dynamics 365 Omnichannel for Customer Service app, then an application would effectively be making the calls. So I guessed at that option which seemed to work!

Next, I opted to begin a search for a number. Notice you could search for multiple numbers at once. I just needed one!

After a short pause, as you can see below, I was offered a number. Which I selected!

The final step in this process was to bite the bullet and place the order for this number.

You can see below that after my order was completed, I have a toll-free UK number that will allow me to make and receive calls.

Step Four – Sync phone number into Omnichannel for Customer Service.

Happy with my success so far, my next step was to sync the number I created in ACS into Dynamics 365.

Back in my “Customer Service Admin Center”, I reopened my phone numbers option and selected the advanced option.

My advanced option is shown below. I simply needed to click the “Sync” button.

Below you can see that the number I’d provisioned in ACS was now showing in Dynamics 365. And I was ready to use the setup option to connect this number to a workstream.

I did notice that according to Dynamics 365 my number is in the United States. It seems a little confused! As this is a UK number using the “+44” country code and Azure Communications Services clearly told me this was a “GB” number.

Step Five – Create a simple workstream. (Initially I mainly kept the defaults!)

I clicked the Setup option which took me to the dialog below. From that I selected “Setup workstream”. That worked fine but I guess I could have equally just navigated to the workstream option!

What we need here is a workstream, queue and an inbound calling profile. For the purposes of my initial test, I am going to accept as many defaults as possible. So, I will be using the default voice queue and the default inbound profile.

Below you can see that in my instance I already have quite a few channels defined for chat, facebook, Teams and more. But I do not have a workstream configured for my voice trial. Meaning my first task is to click “+ New workstream” to create one.

Creating a basic workstream is simple, but I will show you the screens below anyway. As already mentioned, I am going to select the defaults as much as possible. Meaning at this point I am not going to try and create any specific call routing, add an IVR BOT or use any of the other options available to me. (Once I have my number working I will no doubt return to this workstream and complete many changes!)

Below you can see that I gave my workstream a name, selected the type as voice, and selected a fallback queue. (Which will be the default voice queue for now!)

My workstream now opens and I can use the “Set up voice” button to complete the setup steps.

As you can see below the initial setup involves using a wizard style dialog that will guide you thru the steps of naming the channel, selecting the phone number, setting the language etc.

So I start by simply giving my channel a name.

The key step here is to select the number that I created in ACS and synchronised into Dynamics 365.

Next you will need to assign a language. I opted for “English – United States”.

There isn’t an “English – United Kingdom” option! I guess speaking American will be ok.

You will notice that there are quite a few options here that I could use to tailor my music and IVR voice options. I left them all unchanged!

Having saved my language settings I click next and continue to edit the behaviors.

Again here, I could have opted to customize if customers are told wait time information, if calls are recorded by default and more. Again (for now) I justy accepted the defaults.This is fine as none of these things are fixed and I can tweak options later.

And so, my workstream / voice channel had been configured!

Afterwards I checked my workstream and made sure my user was assigned to my queue and the inbound capacity profile I’d selected. (Initially both my queue and profile were the default ones!)

Before testing, don’t forget you need to wait 15 mins for Omnichannel changes to take effect. So, get a coffee, relax, and wait!

Step Six – Testing

I finished my coffee (and biscuits)! Seriously, I have worked with Omnichannel enough to know that there is no point trying to rush. I now routinely wait 15 minutes before attempting to test any change.

But as you can see below. I opened my customer service workspace, made sure my agent’s presence was available and dialled my new number for the first time. After a short pause I saw a notification of an incoming call.

I clicked accept and “like magic” my call connected. And I could enjoy all the cool features available in Dynamics 365 Omnichannel for Customer Service! Such as real-time transcripts, sentiment analysis, call recordings etc etc etc.

Ok, I spent a couple of hours configuring my first live UK number to connect to my Omnichannel for Customer Service! But that does mean I’d effectively created a simple contact center configuration in just a couple of hours. When you think of it like that it was impressive. (And I bet I could do this in less than an hour next time!)

I’ve worked in contact centers for many years! I don’t think I have ever known it possible to configure the carrier, configure your all routing and connect with a CRM so quickly. The fact the all the component parts needed by a contact center are now so integrated makes Omnichannel Voice a powerful proposition from Microsoft. Enjoy!

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