Wave 2 2022 – Omnichannel

I know it’s taken me a week (or two) to get round to this, but I’ve had other things on the go (such as starting my new job, for instance). However it wouldn’t be this time of year without doing a summary of new features for the Wave 2 2022 release.

As with previous posts in this area, I’ll be focusing on the Customer Service side of things, and also more precisely with a focus on the Omnichannel capabilities. However, whilst previously I’ve tended to focus just on the Omnichannel items, Customer Service is now being much more tied together with the Omnichannel offering, so it makes sense to broaden things out a bit.

So let’s start taking a look at the wonders that will (hopefully!) be in store for us within a few months:

Customer Service Workspace – enhanced layout

Public Preview – August 2022. GA – October 2022

I’ve previously taken a look at some of the capabilities of the Customer Service Workspace (see Omnichannel vs Customer Service Workspace), and how they compare to Omnichannel. With Microsoft now rolling out the ability to have multi-session capabilities within it, it’s sometimes a hard decision for organizations to decide which one to use (there are some key differences though).

With the upcoming release, there are going to be new layouts for the site map (navigation menu), sessions & tabs. Some of the key changes coming are:

  • Sessions and child tabs are displayed horizontally
  • Improved handling of overflowing tabs and sessions
  • Tab bar is visible only if multiple tabs are present in a session
  • Improved site map that’s accessed from the hamburger icon with support for grouping and areas
  • Improved accessibility with 400% zoom mode
  • Increased predictability of session closure in multisession apps
  • In-app notifications aligned with the multisession navigation

These look to be quite good (I definitely wouldn’t have thought of all of them!), and I can’t wait to try them out for myself.

Single sign-on capabilities

GA – October 2022

One of the things that can be quite frustrating for customers is that if they’re interacting through live chat capabilities, and then switch over to a Power Virtual Agent, they need to re-authenticate. This is of course not quite optimal for a seamless customer experience.

Microsoft is therefore enabling single sign-on capabilities. What this means in practice is the following:

  • Authenticant contexts are shared between Power Virtual Agents and Omnichannel live chat sessions. If a user authenticates in one of them, then they become authenticated across all of the capabilities. There’s no need to authenticate per communication type
  • Customers can start with an unauthenticated conversation, and then authenticate at a later point in the conversation. This will then continue as authenticated across the different channels that they’re communicating through

Voice channel – expansion of availability

GA – October 2022

The voice channel (which I still need to do a write up on!) is really amazing, allowing customers to call in directly via phone etc. It’s been rolled out already to several regions, but customers in other regions have been asking for it.

Microsoft has now confirmed that the voice channel will now be available in the following countries:

  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • India
  • Switzerland

This is a great move – it still doesn’t mean that every country has the voice channel available, so I expect that Microsoft will keep on adding more countries for the availability of this (I know that there’s a decent amount of back-end systems that are needed, which is why it’s taking this long to get in place).

Voicemails

GA – January 2023

This one is getting me really excited. Obviously, being able to connect to a customer service agent is important. But what if the agent isn’t around? We could of course send an email, but if we’re already connected through a specific method of contact, ideally we’d like to continue with that method.

Especially when it comes to actually calling into an organisation, it can be quite frustrating to not reach the person we’re trying to get hold of, and then need to send an email.
Voicemail capabilities, coming in early 2023, will mean that customers will be able to leave voicemails for customer service agents to pick up. The agents will be able to set up welcome messages, as well as manage & playback voicemails that have been left.
This is really cool – I’m wondering if there are going to be AI capabilities included in this in the future, so as to automatically transcibe voicemails for the agents, for instance. I don’t think that it would take a LOT more technical capabilities – we already have Azure Cognitive Services that audio can be fed through to for a written transcription to be produced.

Customer Callbacks

GA – January 2023

One of the frustrations that I think is shared universally is when contacting an organisation, and being told that you’re in a queue. Not only are you in a queue, but there may be dozens/hundreds/thousands of people ahead of you…and the number doesn’t seem to be decreasing at a rapid rate.

Some organizations offer the ability to ‘reserve’ your spot in the queue, and will call you back when you’re next. To date, this hasn’t been a feature of Omnichannel.

However, coming in early 2023, this feature will be rolling out!. It will give customers the ability to keep their queue position, and to choose if they’d like a callback to happen when they’re at the front of the queue. Note that this would require a phone number to be provided, for the customer service agent to use to contact the customer.

I think that this is a nice feature, but will be curious to see how it plays out ‘in the real world’. I know that when my local doctor surgery implemented this, it was supposed to be great, but in practice actually didn’t work well.

I’ll be looking deeper into the different functionalities when they land, and will share them here. If there’s anything you think would be helpful to focus on, drop a comment & let me know!

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