The View of Microsoft on Contact Centre and Self-Service

Mary McCarthy provided us with an overview how Microsoft uses technology to support both customers and advocates, what are the latest developments in self-service and how customer-obsessed culture looks like. Microsoft is unique in not only having satisfied customers all over the world but also having happy employees who enjoy lots of engagement.


What will be the role of AI and technology in general in contact centres in the future?

At Microsoft, Channels of Choice are provided for customers to decide how they would like to best resolve their problem. If their question is simple, a resolution can be generated very quickly through artificial intelligence and machine learning. It is important to combine this technology with the personal touch of an individual if a customer is requiring more assistance. When a support advocate comes on the chat or call to dive deeper to resolve a problem, they don’t have to ask: “How can I help you?” The advocate can already have a clear picture of the issue, so the customer doesn’t have to start over, enabling the advocate to resolve the issue more. This empowers both the front line to support customers with higher quality conversations and the customer to immediately gain more trust and higher levels of satisfaction as they are getting the help they need.
AI and Technology offers huge benefits to us in how rich data can help us to understand our customers in a better way. It supports customers to navigate them to the help they need, when they need it and in a way that works for them.
Using AI to assess customer sentiment allows us to focus on quality in a truly impactful way, it allows and will continue to prevent fraudulent activity and keep our customers safe online.
The benefits AI brings will allow our advocates spend more time helping customers to achieve more with their products and services

What are the advantages and disadvantages of self-service?

Self-service empowers customers to solve their issues and challenges quickly and efficiently. It offers quick resolution and allows customers to get back to what they wanted to do whether it is work study or gaming. There are huge advantages to offer self-service options to our customers which offer the added benefits of our advocates being able to spend more time with customers who do need assisted support.
At Microsoft, we have developed a customer-sentiment driven quality framework which is centred on the customer and focuses on four key areas. These are Empower me to prevent and resolve my issues, which focuses on self-service, Help me quickly when I need your expertise, Advise me how I can achieve more and Enable our customer service & support team through a customer-obsessed culture.

Empower Me to Prevent and Resolve My Issues
When advocates talk or chat with customers, more value is added to the conversation. Freeing up time by reducing repeated information allows for very different conversations to happen with our customers. Now agents can show customers how to find solutions to their questions easier and maximise their use of Microsoft products and services.
The best channel of growth for Customer Service and Support is listening and learning from our customers. Utilising customer surveys with the enablement of machine learning helps an advocate know quickly after an interaction if the customer was happy or unhappy with the call and why. This real time feedback really helps us coach for quality and provide insights through closed loop feedback.

Help Me Quickly When I Need Your Expertise
The best expression of a company is to show customers we are there for them, we demonstrate empathy, and we will help resolve whatever is getting in their way so they can gain the most out of their products and services. We will always provide a way for customers to easily connect with an advocate. Minimising transfers and decreasing wait-time is another way we are helping customers quickly and getting the right experts to help at the right time.

Advise Me How I Can Achieve More
In addition to our traditional role of solving technical problems, we want to help prevent problems and empower customers to learn something new about their product or service. It’s a great experience for a customer to complete an interaction with our customer support team gaining more expertise and productivity. Our advocates are encouraged to connect with customers and offer advice on how to work with the product or service more efficiently. More customers are finding satisfaction with their Microsoft relationship and achieving more.

Enable Our Customer Service & Support Team
Fostering a culture where every person understands, feels and acts with a deep sense of responsibility will deliver great customer experiences. We empower our front-line agents by making it easy for them to solve customer issues with urgency and ownership. We equip agents with great tools, processes, and training and we teach them how to communicate with customers in a way that builds trust and confidence to ultimately create fans of Microsoft. We do that through a globally engaged and empowered team.

How to boost agent performance and productivity?

In the Modern Life, Gaming and Customer Service team, we look at a number of different ways to encourage our advocates to drive a positive customer experience. We have a ‘WOW’ program where we celebrate advocates who have delighted customers. We have a FAN-creating program where team members who offer FAN-tastic solutions are invited to be part of a super-hero club. As part of our Customer Experience Framework we have the Heroes programs where advocates who demonstrate the CARE attributes (Communicate Effectively, Accountability, Resourcefulness and Empathy) are offered hero badges.
We celebrate Customer Loyalty month, customer service week with fun and engaging activities and also look at gamification through our Delivery partners as well as having a number of pilot initiatives which reward and recognise great customers.

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