The right work assignment method can improve agent satisfaction and utilization

The right work assignment method can improve agent satisfaction and utilization

This article is contributed. See the original author and article here.

As a contact center manager, you need to ensure that customers are routed to the right agent while balancing factors like customer satisfaction, tiered SLA commitments, and agent satisfaction and utilization. Automated work assignment in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service can help. Choose the right assignment method to prioritize agents when multiple agents satisfy a work item’s skill and availability requirements, and Dynamics 365 unified routing will do the rest. 

Out-of-box work assignment strategies 

Let’s look at the assignment strategies available in unified routing and the scenarios where they may be most effective. Three are provided for you “out of the box.” These strategies incorporate skills-based routingthat is, if an incoming call is associated with a skill, then the assignment strategy will select only appropriately skilled agents. You can also create custom assignment methods to meet your business needs. 

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Highest capacity: Assign the work to the agent who has the most capacity remaining

In messaging channels like live chat and social media, agents can carry on multiple conversations at the same time. The number of conversations an agent can manage in parallel is their capacity. When more than one agent meets the requirements of an incoming work item, the highest capacity method assigns it to the agent who has the most capacity remaining. This strategy helps maintain an even distribution of conversations, leading to happier agents and more efficient agent utilization. 

Let’s see how highest capacity assignment plays out in a sample scenario. We have two agents in a chat queue, Kayla Lewis and Finn Patel. Each has the same skills and the capacity to handle up to three chats at once. 

Kayla and Finn are each assigned two chats. Kayla closes one of hers quickly. When the next chat comes in, both Kayla and Finn match the requirements, but Finn is still working on both of his earlier chats. Kayla has more available capacity, so she’s assigned the incoming chat. 

Let’s extend this scenario and see what happens when there is a tie in capacity. When the next chat comes in, Kayla and Finn are “tied” at two chats each. Unified routing uses round robin assignment to break the tie. That means that since the last chat was assigned to Kayla, the new chat will be assigned to the next available agent, Finn. 


Round robin: Assign the work to the agent who’s next in line 

With asynchronous and longer-running conversation types like email, incidents, and tasks, capacity isn’t as important a consideration in assigning agents. In these cases, round robin assignment offers a way to evenly distribute conversations across agents. Round robin assigns a new work item to the next agent in turn. (This feature will be renamed “advanced round robin” in an upcoming release.)

Let’s look at how this plays out. This time Kayla and Finn are tasked with handling cases. By mid-morning, Kayla and Finn have been assigned four cases each. Kayla’s fourth case was assigned before Finn’s. After some time, Finn resolves one of his cases, leaving him with three open cases. A short while later, a new case comes in. Since Finn received a case last, unified routing assigns the next case to Kayla, even though Finn has more capacity available. This ensures that Kayla and Finn can work on a similar number of cases at an even pace. 

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Most idle: Assign the work to the agent who’s had the longest break 

Most idle assignment is a common routing strategy in automatic call distribution systems. This method assigns conversations to agents based on how long ago they ended their last conversation. It gives agents who are working on longer, more complex conversations a chance to take a break and distributes new conversations to other agents. Most idle assignment has the largest impact on agent satisfaction and utilization in the voice channel. 

Returning to Kayla and Finn, we find they’re now working in the voice queue. Kayla has a call that comes in at 1:00 PM. Finn takes a call at 1:05 PM. Kayla’s issue is complex and takes her 15 minutes to close. Finn solves his customer’s problem in five minutes. The next call comes in at 1:20 PM. The round robin method would assign the new call to Kayla since it’s her turn and she’s available. But with most idle routing, Finn is assigned the call instead since his last call ended earlier than Kayla’s. In effect, he’s had a longer break. 

Custom strategies for complex work assignment requirements 

If your call center has more complex work prioritization and agent assignment requirements, custom rules may meet your needs better than the out-of-box rules. Unified routing in Dynamics 365 Customer Service offers an option to create custom work assignment methods when you need to: 

  • Route work items to agents based on specific attributes or related entities 
  • Dynamically match an agent attribute with a conversation attribute 
  • Create fallback conditions to ensure the customer connects with an agent without a long wait (bullseye routing)
  • Sort or prioritize agents based on attributes like proficiency in a particular skill type, the agent’s name, and so on 

A custom assignment method is made up of two parts, a custom prioritization ruleset and a custom assignment ruleset. 

  1. Custom prioritization ruleset. By default, unified routing assigns work in first-in, first-out order. This ensures that the customers who have been waiting the longest are connected to an agent first. If you need more prioritization bucketsfor priority customers, SLA expiration, and so onthen you can define a custom prioritization rule with multiple rules for each bucket. 
  1. Custom assignment ruleset. You can define assignment rules with custom agent matching and ordering parameters. 

Choosing the right work assignment strategy is essential to maintain high agent satisfaction while optimizing agent utilization. Which assignment strategy do you use? 

Learn more 

To get more information about unified routing and work assignment in Customer Service, check out our recent blog post and read the documentation:

Improve CSAT by connecting customers to agents using automatic assignment in unified routing | Microsoft Dynamics 365 Blog

Assignment methods in unified routing | Microsoft Learn

Configure assignment methods and rules for queues | Microsoft Learn 

Haven’t tried Customer Service yet? Visit the Dynamics 365 Customer Service overview, where you can take a tour and sign up for a free trial. 

This blog post is part of a series of deep dives that will help you deploy and use unified routing at your organization.See other posts in the series to learn more. 

The post The right work assignment method can improve agent satisfaction and utilization appeared first on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Blog.

Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.

CISA Releases Seven Industrial Control Systems Advisories

CISA Releases Seven Industrial Control Systems Advisories

This article is contributed. See the original author and article here.

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5 steps for transforming customer experience with Dynamics 365 Marketing       and Customer Insights updates

5 steps for transforming customer experience with Dynamics 365 Marketing and Customer Insights updates

This article is contributed. See the original author and article here.

As technology advances, so do customer expectations. Whether a consumer or a buyer, it no longer matters as the respective lines between customer expectations have blurred, and, at the end of the day, the business-to-business (B2B) buyer is a consumer too. Hyper-personalized, self-driven, seamless interaction across any channel at any time is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have as customers want to engage on their own terms and expect businesses to deliver even better experiences. At the same time, exacerbated by a turbulent economy, businesses need to reduce cost and complexity to innovate quickly and stay resilient so they can meet current customers’ expectations and find new ways to engage them. Businesses that take the opportunity to optimize their processes to do more with less will stand out against the competition and be better positioned to drive loyalty, retain customers, and emerge stronger from these uncertain times.

We’re excited to share the new capabilities coming in the 2022 release wave 2 for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, and, more importantly, how these new capabilities will help you deliver greater efficiency, empower marketers to be more productive, and provide value to customers in moments that matter. Ready? Let’s get started!

1. Maximize the value of your data to understand your customers

The first step in driving impactful experiences is to grasp the needs and intent of each customer.

If you are a new Customer Insights user, you will be delighted by the first-run experience feature that helps you accelerate understanding your customers. To fuel your journeys, valuable insights are generated in a matter of minutes simply from a customer list, saving you time and avoiding advanced configurations.   

2. Engage your customers in moments that matter with real-time marketing

To deliver unforgettable experiences, marketers need to send the right message on the right channel at the right time. To allow you to do just this, we have further developed our real-time engagement capabilities in Dynamics 365 Marketing.  

Whether it’s to catch your customer’s attention to collect relevant details, or capture leads to nurture and strengthen the sales funnel, we’ve enhanced our capabilities so that marketers can effortlessly design customized forms with a few clicks. Through the modern drag-and-drop editor, marketers are guided step-by-step from creation to preview, test, and publish. Within seconds they can deliver compelling branded forms, on websites or landing pages, while directly tracking conversions.

To engage customers through their preferred channel, marketers can now easily build custom channels in real-time marketing. We’ve improved upon the model in outbound marketing by providing the ability to create a channel with all the power and flexibility that the box channels have. It enables marketers to extend their reach across bespoke text message providers, Viber, or direct mail, and activate these new channels in customer journeys using out-of-the-box modern templates, text message editor, and consent collection. In addition, marketers can natively track deliverability analytics to monitor the success of the custom channel activation.

Customers often qualify for multiple journeys and campaigns that run simultaneously. The frequency cap feature prevents message fatigue by setting limits on the number of messages that can be sent per channel per day, week, or month. At the same time, marketers can bypass the limit for the most important journeys, ensuring customers never miss an important message.

Define the maximum number of commercial messages with the frequency cap feature.

3. Personalize content to grow your audience engagement

Each customer is unique and driven by different incentives. To get noticed, businesses need to easily create personalized content that stands out and resonates to keep their brand top of mind.

Finding inspiration to create enthralling emails has never been so easy. Thanks to AI, marketers receive engaging content ideas, based on the key messaging points they want to convey. Marketers can also use feature-rich text links and QR codes for events and coupons within email campaignsto get more customers to engage, click, and convert.

graphical user interface, text, application, email
Kick-start your email creation thanks to AI-generated content ideas.

Managing multi-brand content is often demanding as marketers spend time customizing each email to comply with specific brand guidelines. The new brand profile functionality helps them to gain time and consistency, and reduce content-related errors by defining default senders for emails and social links, as well as custom values such as URLs or compliance messages, and easily switch these settings for the brand they are working on.

To ensure compliance and privacy of customer interactions across multiple brands or business units, marketers now have the ability to fully customize out-of-the-box preference centers to match their business needs, from tracking or isolating consent data to adhering to brand guidelines for logos, styles, and colors. Furthermore, marketers can create and manage topics that align with your brands and business for customers to opt-in to marketing subscriptions, for example: “Get cooking tips and tricks”. Last but not least, consent is becoming entity agnostic and will work with customer profiles, contacts, leads, and custom entities.

Maximizing the impact of personalized content requires effectively targeting the right audiences. As part of our effort to improve marketers’ efficiency, we have redesigned our segment builder. The workflow and UX have been enhanced, and we’ve set the foundation for supporting contacts, leads, and any entity, including custom, in the future. Segments can be created instantly using an intuitive and powerful logic builder that doesn’t require specialized knowledge of complex data structures. Marketers are empowered by AI-assisted natural language capabilities, the ability to create a static snapshot of segment membership, as well as previewing segment members and size. This not only scales reach but improves marketing productivity.

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Improve your efficiency with the new segment builder, target both contact and leads, and preview segment members.

4. Connect your sales and marketing to provide seamless experiences

By placing customer needs at the center of the organization, deep collaboration within and across departments unlocks significant business growth opportunities.

For instance, as marketers nurture leads with real-time journeys, signals from the lead might indicate an urgency to engage with the sales team. Marketers can directly trigger a sales sequence or assign a follow-up call from the journey to the sales team to ensure the lead gets individualized attention at the right time when they are most likely to engage. Marketers identify potential leads, and sales teams receive smart assistance to optimize their time and prioritize opportunities in the lead nurturing process.

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Hand off leads to sales by directly assigning, or phone call, or a sale sequence from the journey.

Businesses can capitalize on B2B contact unification in Customer Insights to create a complete view of accounts and contacts within the same environment. Typically, businesses engage with contacts, however, the context for engagement is based on the attributes of the organization in which the contact resides. Unified contacts provide the ability for marketers to now generate segments of contacts based on account attributes.

5. Use data and AI to optimize your campaigns and scale up your business

Harnessing the power of data and AI is key to marketing at scale and achieving higher levels of marketing maturity.

As businesses create a vast number of assets, they need to organize them according to their organizational structure to remain compliant and productive. They can now effortlessly organize their digital assets, content and journeys according to their business structure. Whether it’s business data or customer data, it can be isolated by departments, regions, brands, business units, and product lines, reducing your compliance risk.

In the upcoming months, you will be able to increase your throughput to send up to 300 million messages per month. This added capacity empowers your team to deliver personalized experiences at scale and will help you grow your business, whether you are increasing your customer base in new markets, expanding geographies, promoting new products, or building your prospective customer pipeline to reach higher sales targets.

Use new features for Dynamics 365 Marketing and Customer Insights with the 2022 release wave 2

Close-up of a man looking down at a screen.

Dynamics 365 Marketing and Customer Insights

Stay up-to-date on the latest functionalities.

From leveraging AI to capitalize on your data, optimizing real-time interactions and personalization capabilities, to customizing tools to meet your unique business needs, or facilitating deeper collaboration between departments, we are thrilled to deliver solutions that are designed to make your job easier, more productive, and ultimately enable you to transform customer experiences.

The Dynamics 365 Marketing and Dynamics 365 Customer Insights functionalities highlighted above are planned to be released from October 2022 through March 2023 either as previews or generally available.

Note: The product visuals are only for illustrative purposes and might not reflect the general availability feature.

The post 5 steps for transforming customer experience with Dynamics 365 Marketing and Customer Insights updates appeared first on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Blog.

Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.

Academy365: The training conference arrives to Madrid!

Academy365: The training conference arrives to Madrid!

This article is contributed. See the original author and article here.


Today, the technology sector is growing very rapidly across Europe and requires many trained, prepared, and qualified professionals to help large, medium, and small companies meet the new global challenges ahead. A report by the agency DigitalES estimates that there are currently more than 120,000 unfilled jobs in Spain related to software development, communications, security, Cloud, Big Data, AI, and AR/VR.


From the Spanish Microsoft Technical Communities, we have always tried to bring technology to all people. That’s why we’ve designed a new type of event focused on learning with the aim of training professionals who are starting to work with the Microsoft 365 ecosystem and who need to get the most out of its services.

In 2021, We Designed Academy365

This new type of event was born last year under the name of Academy365, and it was organized by a few Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) and coordinators of MadPoint, the Microsoft 365 Technical Community of Madrid. As the objective of the event was to train the attendees, we organized an agenda of level 100 and 200 sessions, and we got several Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) professionals to help us teach attendees about Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, Planner, Power Automate, Intune, Security, and other technologies.


Last year, Academy365 was broadcasted as a virtual experience on Twitch, and it was a success in Spain, with an average of 300 attendees on each training and an extraordinary reception. Attendees finished the event with a diploma that certified they had received quality training from our MCT and MVP people.



Example of one of our sessions during 2021

MadPoint coordinators prepared a professional-quality broadcast of the event, leveraging Microsoft Teams’ NDI capabilities, which allow us to extract video and audio signals from each trainer inside a Teams meeting and take that signal to a professional production environment such as OBS Studio.


Here you can check the recording of last year, in which you can see how Microsoft Teams helped us to have a fantastic productionYouTube – Academy365


In addition, Academy365 is a solidarity event. Last year we collaborated with the Food Bank Foundation of Madrid, which is a non-profit organization that is responsible for helping the neediest families, bringing them food and helping them as much as possible, especially on Christmas dates. All the amounts received by sponsors and individuals were invested in helping many families.



And this year?

This year we want to resume the physical events experience, and we have designed a second hybrid edition. Attendees can join online on Twitch, but they can also come in person to the Global Sports Innovation Center in Madrid. This center is powered by Microsoft, and it is a non-profit association that facilitates synergies and provides its members with value-added services that enable sports entities and companies to grow and develop with the help of experienced professionals in sports tech ecosystem.


In person attendees will be able to receive the training live from our speakers and will have some additional surprises, as we are preparing an innovation tour of the center, a Metaverse Corner and some additional activity thanks to our friends at Microsoft Education.


As for the online experience, we maintain our Twitch broadcast. We will combine live speakers and speakers by Microsoft Teams in a single production.


This year we have a very interesting agenda, where Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Viva will be the main protagonists. In addition, we can learn about security, Mixed Reality, Power Apps, migrations, development, accessibility, and Windows 365.


If you live in Spain and you are interested in our event, we recommend that you visit our website to know all the details and register for the event.


Here are the most important links:



Thank you very much, and we wish you a Merry Christmas from our community.

CISA Adds Two Known Exploited Vulnerabilities to Catalog

This article is contributed. See the original author and article here.

CISA has added two new vulnerabilities to its Known Exploited Vulnerabilities Catalog, based on evidence of active exploitation. These types of vulnerabilities are frequent attack vectors for malicious cyber actors and pose significant risks to the federal enterprise. Note: To view the newly added vulnerabilities in the catalog, click on the arrow in the “Date Added to Catalog” column, which will sort by descending dates.

Binding Operational Directive (BOD) 22-01: Reducing the Significant Risk of Known Exploited Vulnerabilities established the Known Exploited Vulnerabilities Catalog as a living list of known CVEs that carry significant risk to the federal enterprise. BOD 22-01 requires FCEB agencies to remediate identified vulnerabilities by the due date to protect FCEB networks against active threats. See the BOD 22-01 Fact Sheet for more information.

Although BOD 22-01 only applies to FCEB agencies, CISA strongly urges all organizations to reduce their exposure to cyberattacks by prioritizing timely remediation of Catalog vulnerabilities as part of their vulnerability management practice. CISA will continue to add vulnerabilities to the Catalog that meet the specified criteria.