Contact Center Software and MS Teams® Integration
for Better Front Office and Back Office Interaction
Contact center software and principles are widely used for customer service in front offices of many companies. In addition to the front office, such companies will also have back offices. The back office sums up, for example, second-level support specialists, employees working in accounting, in the bank's credit department, in the department of processing orders or deliveries, etc.
They usually do not respond directly to customer inquiries, but front office staff (agents) should be able to transfer calls to them where necessary, using "transfer with consultation", "direct transfer" or conference mode. Such cases may include, for example, the need to connect the bank’s loan specialist to the conversation with the client, or a transfer to the specialist in the second level of support, who deals with the specific client’s request.
Why Contact Center connection with MS Teams is important
In today's back offices, MS Teams is increasingly used for communication, while existing Contact Center Software has traditional IP telephony as the basis of voice communication. Therefore, to provide the above-mentioned call transfers you need a connector between your contact center and MS Teams.
Such a connector was realized by SoftBCom Berlin, and it’s combining two basic functions: providing voice communication and transmitting information on the status of an employee (or a group of employees) to the agent's workplace (namely whether the employee is free or busy). The MS Teams system is able to provide this information.
MS Teams allows you to control a whole range of statuses, e.g. " do not disturb ", "in conversation", "busy", "available", "be right back".
Guided by this information, the agent can select an employee of the desired profile, who can service the current request.
Note. MS Teams is becoming increasingly popular in the corporate environment and is often the only communication system used in the back office. For companies where MS Teams is deployed, maintaining a regular (or traditional IP) telephony system in the back offices simultaneously becomes redundant and expensive.
The main functions provided by the connector:
The contact center agent working with a softphone (installed on the desktop or in the web version) has the ability to transfer incoming calls, or connect back office specialists who use MS Teams in the conference mode.
The agent has a directory of back office employees on the desktop of the softphone or web phone with a real-time display of their current statuses. The catalog, which reflects the existing organizational structure, including a search function, allows you to quickly find the necessary specialists and, based on their current statuses, make a decision about the possibility of transferring a call.
All contact center agents are present in the MS Teams system as ordinary participants of this communication system, with the ability to contact other members of this network from their soft phones, or receive calls from them.
Back office employees can make outbound calls from MS Teams to PSTN numbers through the connector and PBX of the contact center system.
Note. The functionality described above may be limited to the availability of the required licenses for software and communication lines (MS, Contact Center, phone provider lines, etc.).
The following is a structural diagram of the proposed solution
Block diagram of the solution
Contact Center Software is a powerful tool for client servicing at the front desk. On the other hand, MS Teams is a very popular means for internal office connection. But to transfer inbound calls from the front office to the back office expert who’s using Teams, you need the special connector.
1. What contact center management systems are supported by the connector?
- The connector provides native connection to SoftBCom Contact Center software, but it can also be used with systems from other manufacturers (for example, Genesys®, Avaya®, Aspect®, etc.).
2. Is it possible to integrate the contact center management system and the connector itself with the company's Active Directory?
- This task is part of the implementation phase of the system. For SoftBCom Call Center system it is certainly possible, as well as for the connector.
3. The use of two-factor authentication?
- For the connector, it is possible to use the same 2FA mechanism based on Azure tools, which is also used for access control in MS Teams.
4. Is it possible to install the connector and the entire contact center system in the cloud, or should some components be installed on premise?
- The Connector can function in the cloud, and in particular in MS Azure (which, by the way, is the preferred option in terms of ease of administration and manageability). SoftBCom Contact Center can be installed both in the cloud and on premises, which is determined by the Customer's choice and requirements for the conditions of use (including those related to the cost of ownership).
5. Why don't the contact center agents themselves use MS Teams in the proposed scheme?
- Almost all modern contact center solutions use traditional IP-telephony for audio processing, so the agents' softphones rely on this technology in one way or another. While MS Teams and the traditional IP Telephony have the same technological basis in common, some details differ, so the traditional IP-telephony can be connected to the MS Teams system only through a dedicated gateway (connector).
6. Microsoft® itself provides the ability to implement a contact center solution with the help of MS Teams (queues are supported, you can build IVRs and ACD logic). And this means that the MS Teams’ based contact center needs no connectors. Do you support such an architecture?
- Yes, a contact center can be developed based on this technique. However, its functionality will be significantly limited compared to what of modern contact center solutions’.
Vladimir K. Dudchenko