Exactly a week ago, Microsoft and 7 made this announcement in the area of customer service. Oddly enough, I did not see follow-up details, social chatter or community discussions providing a whole lot more than what was covered in the initial press release.This blog explores the partnership between Microsoft & 7 and what it could mean to Dynamics CRM users and the wider world of customer service.
Introduction to 7
The following chart does a pretty good job of explaining what is 7.
7 is solely focused on improving the customer service experience by predicting the customer needs, providing the customers a simplified way to get service and in the process, learn more about the customer with each interaction. The underlying glue to achieve all these goals in the concept of “big data”.
Introduction to Tellme
Microsoft Tellme engines power all of Microsoft's speech-enabled products and services. Behind all speech technology are two speech engines: speech recognition and speech synthesis. When used together, the two speech engines work as one, as with a call center, whose computers process customers' spoken commands and synthesize speech in return. Tellme speech engine functionality is in 26 countries.
Tellme + 7
Deborah Cage at WSJ has written a detailed blog post on this strategic marriage between Microsoft & 7.
In her words,
“… Microsoft invested an undisclosed amount of money in 24/7, but it will also merge some of the assets… into 24/7’s technology and give 24/7 coverage under Microsoft’s portfolio of speech patents. 24/7 will in turn integrate its technology with Windows phone, the Microsoft search engine Bing and Microsoft Dynamics, which is Microsoft’s customer relationship management software …”
Cage continues later in her post,
“ The result of all this technology should be a cloud-based software platform that will let customers contact a company over their mobile devices, the Web, the TV or the telephone and use intuitive, conversational interfaces that support speech, touch and gestures, with the software anticipating what might happen next.”
Tellme + 7 & the world of customer service
The concepts around 7 as well as Tellme are not really new – predictive modeling as well as speech engines have both been around. What is new though is how we are using internet today. In this example, cloud powering big data promises better predictive accuracy, faster processing and tremendous agility. Here are some scenarios called out on the 7 site:
Communications | Bill Inquiry
Financial Services | Fraud Alert
You can check out more scenarios here.
Tellme + 7 & the world of Dynamics CRM
Microsoft has not released any specifics on how Dynamics CRM will leverage all this innovation being proposed. have worked with several customers on customer service and call center implementations and know many of the challenges called out first hand. As a customer, calling customer service is certainly not the most pleasant to do task for most of us. It even feels very outdated considering how far technology has become. If done rightly, I personally see Dynamics CRM benefiting tremendously from this agreement. Let us revisit the scenario above.
“Kelly might have had more questions and concerns on how the fraud occurred and what she can do to avoid in the future. Such a conversation typically would be handled by a different team and at a later date. Imagine Kelly’s appreciation if she was to get a follow-up call from Saving Bank after few days of the fraudulent charge incident to make sure everything is Ok.”
This scenario would have been possible if the initial fraud transaction was automatically logged in the CRM application. CRM could then route the case to the fraud follow-up team, initiate activities required to complete the case and when the case is completed, share “relevant” and “certified” data back with Tellme + 7 engine.
The recent focus in the customer service world has been to leverage social and mobility tools. This agreement between Microsoft and 7 takes a different approach by leveraging predictive modeling powered by big data. I hope that Microsoft will release more details in the near-term and create visibility that such an investment deserves.