Dynamics CRM Now Has Real-Time Chat

Salesforce Service Cloud has had its SOS for omnichannel support, and now Microsoft Dynamics CRM has closed the gap with its Live Assist, each opening the scope of how businesses are able to engage with customers online in real time.

Live Assist for Dynamics CRM, which stems from a technology partnership Microsoft and CafeX Communications announced in October 2016, is now publically available. The omnichannel tool enables Dynamics 365 agents to text chat with customers via mobile and Web channels, as well as initiate co-browsing sessions, voice calls, and video chats, without having to jump out of their service desk consoles to do so.

To be sure, real-time communications is becoming table stakes for companies looking for customer engagement solutions, said Sajeel Hussain, CafeX CMO, in a briefing on this news. "Every RFP needs chat."

Note that the Live Assist technology itself is not new. In fact, it earned CafeX the Best of Enterprise Connect Award in 2014. In a No Jitter post at the time, blogger Brent Kelly, of KelCor, described Live Assist as "extremely compelling and chock full of exciting possibilities." His explanation still holds up today: "Most organizations want better engagement with their customers or clients, but knowing what to do and how to do it is not always clear. I think CafeX provides a pretty good architecture and approach for doing so."

Microsoft is apparently in agreement. Engineering teams at Microsoft and CafeX have worked together to forge a tight integration between Dynamics CRM and Live Assist so that the two platforms remain in sync. For example, when a company adds or deletes agents in Dynamics, the changes automatically register in Live Assist, Sajeel Hussain, CafeX CMO, told me.

For these customer deployments, Live Assist and Dynamics CRM are co-located in the Azure cloud, and IT administrations can provision Live Assist instances on the fly from within Office 365, he added.

Live Assist for Dynamics CRM is open for free 30-day trials globally and orderable now in North America and Europe, Hussain said. Beginning later this month, availability will extend to Asia and other regions.

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