UPDATED 11:00 EDT / NOVEMBER 15 2023


Microsoft brings generative AI copilots to sales and service teams

Microsoft Corp. is building on the launch of its Copilot for Dynamics 365 artificial intelligence tool with the launch of dedicated, generative AI-powered assistants for services and sales teams.

Announced at Microsoft Ignite 2023 today, Microsoft Copilot for Service offers AI-powered assistance that’s tailored to the needs of employees at the frontline of customer experiences, the company said. It brings the power of generative AI to each organization’s existing customer relationship management platform and contact center solution, transforming agent-assisted processes to improve customer experiences and resolve issues faster.

The company also debuted Microsoft Copilot for Sales, targeted at sellers who need to harness the benefits of generative AI to sell more products and improve their productivity.

Check out our full coverage of Microsoft Ignite in these stories:

In a blog post, Emily He, corporate vice president of Microsoft business applications, said Copilot for Dynamics 365 is the world’s first copilot for CRM and enterprise resource planning applications, and has been used by more than 130,000 organizations so far. The tool has proven its worth in countless applications, she said.

However, most companies also depend on a range of business applications besides Dynamics 365, including third-party CRMs and platforms for marketing, sales and services. It’s these platforms that Microsoft now wants to cater to with its latest copilot experiences.

Copilot for Service

Microsoft Copilot for Service offers companies the flexibility to integrate generative AI with a range of CRMs and contact center platforms. Users will simply be able to point the assistant at their data, no matter where it’s located – such as on public websites, SharePoint, knowledge base articles and offline files – and unlock customized generative AI chat experiences out of the box, the company said. At launch, it offers integrations with Dynamics 365, Salesforce, ServiceNow, Zendesk and other well-known platforms, with more than 1,000 custom connectors.

Organizations are free to fine-tune their copilot experiences using their own data, logic and actions for specific scenarios, frequently asked questions and other use cases. They can also integrate Copilot for Service with Azure AI Studio to create additional capabilities for it. The tool will become generally available early next year, priced at $50 per user, per month.

He offered a couple of examples of the difference Copilot for Service can make. For instance, a customer service agent can use the copilot to quickly bring themselves up to speed on email threads within Outlook and other email clients, simply by asking it to provide a summary of what was said. They can ask it to generate quick draft emails to respond to customers’ queries too.

Meanwhile, in Microsoft Teams, the copilot can help users to keep abreast of all of their conversations, including meetings with customers and subject matter experts. The AI simply summarizes what was said, highlighting the key discussion points, customer sentiment and recommended next steps. It can also help to grab the latest account and case information for each customer.

The company wants to make Copilot for Service even more productive in future. It said it will do this by enriching email summaries and drafts and meeting recaps with CRM data. Users will be able to view and update their CRM records based on what has happened, and automate CRM tasks such as case wrap-ups, meeting scheduling, adding new contacts and task follow-ups, based on the context of emails, knowledge sources and previous communications with customers. In this way, it’s comparable to the agent assist capabilities of the existing Dynamics 365 copilot.

Also in the future, Copilot for Service will be able to make proactive recommendations on how to update or create knowledge assets. It will do this by curating information from across emails, cases, Teams chats and elsewhere. These updated knowledge base articles can then aid every other agent within the organization, as well as knowledge workers in other roles. It’s all about creating a more comprehensive, 360-degree view of each customer, the company explained.

Copilot for Sales

As for sales teams, they’ll soon be able to access what is described as the evolution of Microsoft’s existing Sales Copilot, which is already used by more than 10,000 sellers within the company’s own sales teams.

Microsoft cites a new ebook on the AI advantage for sellers that shows how 85% of its own agents report completing one or more tasks faster using the existing Sales Copilot tool, while 70% say it helped to improve their productivity.

The new Copilot for Sales tool could have an even bigger impact, allowing sales representatives and teams to harness generative AI throughout the sales workflow, leveraging CRM data and information from documents, emails and chats within Microsoft 365 applications. The company said new innovations include an integrated experience with Microsoft Word and Teams. Sellers can prompt Copilot to create a meeting preparation brief in Word, for example, and automatically populate it with customer information such as an account, an opportunity, open tasks, highlights from earlier meetings and recent email threads, and more besides.

There’s also a new meeting recap feature for Teams that’s able to surface key information from the conversation and tasks that must be performed. It will also display conversation key performance indicators and sales keywords.

Copilot for Sales can be paired with Copilot for Microsoft 365 to enhance seller productivity across workflows, saving workers time and energy while helping them to generate innovative ideas and build stronger relationships with their customers. And just like Copilot for Service, companies will be able to customize their AI-assisted sales processes with Azure AI Studio to create more tailored experiences for different scenarios, informed by their own data, logic and actions.

Microsoft said Copilot for Sales will also become available early next year, with the same price of $50 per user per month.

Images: Microsoft

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