Last year, Microsoft launched Azure Communication Services to help businesses reach customers—enabled by voice, video, text chat, and connections into short message service (SMS) and public switched telephone network (PSTN)—across applications, websites, and mobile platforms. Since launch, they have onboarded hundreds of customers and partners into preview across multiple industries and look forward to supporting more with general availability later this month. From retailers looking to enhance remote customer engagement, to banks and financial institutions needing to use mobile authentication and notification technologies, Azure Communication Services is making the development of intelligent, secure, and global communication experiences simple with just a few lines of code.
In this new hyper-connected world, where most of our interactions are digital, even the smallest snag during a virtual visit or appointment can impact user satisfaction and retention. Delivering better customer experiences by eliminating the friction that often comes with connecting users on different platforms can help improve business outcomes and increase productivity.
Businesses can now use Azure Communication Services to easily connect users of their custom-built app with internal users on Microsoft Teams via voice, video, or chat. This means customers can connect to employees using Teams without any app download or required authentication while employees retain the familiar interface of their Microsoft 365 ecosystem, the place where they already collaborate, communicate, and work every day.
Extending Microsoft Teams with Azure Communication Services can benefit businesses in a variety of scenarios, such as a financial advisor helping a client with a loan application, a customer support agent assisting end-users in installing a new product, or a healthcare organization enabling faster response times between a patient and provider. Imagine launching a video call or chat with an advisor, agent, or clinician in just one-click. You experience none of the regular barriers, like needing to create a new account or download a new app. With the number of virtual video clinician visits expected to surpass 400 million globally this year1, offering the ability to instantly connect a clinician using Teams to a patient using a hospital website can help make a virtual visit feel effortless and welcoming. With interoperability into Teams, it is simpler than ever for businesses to stay closer to and more connected with their customers.
Microsoft has been working with several organizations that are building out experiences using Azure Communication Services and Microsoft Teams and are anticipating the benefits in a variety of use cases.
"The new normal in healthcare is being driven by innovations in care delivery that empower the patient and provider experience, rarely impeding it. As an Azure Communication Services development partner, Andor Health is positioned to deliver a simple, intuitive virtual health experience via the patient's platform of choice. Patients of almost all technical abilities can seamlessly participate in Microsoft Teams-based virtual health visits with a simple click and without having to download Teams or any other app. This ubiquitous access is expected to significantly improve care continuity and outcomes by removing the technological barriers that contribute to virtual health abandonment rates, allowing providers to increase their patient load while maintaining the highest standards of care."—Drew Jenkel, Chief Architect, Andor Health
"At Luware, we have a passion for developing software that enables exceptional customer interactions. Whether it's virtual banking, sales assistance through video, or live chats within a company's e-commerce app, businesses today have a tremendous opportunity to deliver convenient, remote customer service. Partnering with Microsoft and using Azure Communication Services for our development allows us to incorporate Microsoft services into our customer service suite 'Nimbus', empowering companies to truly realize their multichannel strategy with Microsoft Teams as their central communication tool."—Philipp Beck, CEO, Luware
For any organization or business looking to get more value out of their Microsoft Teams investments, interoperability with Azure Communication Services provides the flexibility and scalability needed to build custom app experiences that connect to the Teams platform. As a bonus, with Azure Communication Services on the backend, usage costs from Teams endpoints are covered under any Microsoft 365 license.
Building customizable communication experiences across multiple platforms will continue to be an integral part of any business process for modernizing collaboration. With Azure Communication Services, the goal is to continue to help businesses transform their communication experiences today to meet the needs of these connected users for tomorrow.
This article by Scott Van Vliet, Corporate Vice President, Intelligent Communications at Microsoft, was originally published on the Microsoft Azure Blog.