Federation – the surprising customer service tool for Skype for Business

One of the most undervalued capabilities in Skype for Business is federation. With federation, users can use all the collaboration features of Skype for Business – presence, IM, voice, screen sharing, etc. – with any other organization that also has Skype for Business and has enabled federation, and even people who use consumer Skype. They can do so without using the public telephone network, and while still maintaining security and compliance with organizational reporting and archiving policies.

As someone who works remotely, I find that Skype for Business makes it much easier for me to communicate and collaborate with my colleagues if I’m not in the office.  Presence lets me see if a colleague is available, IM starts a quick chat, adding voice lets us talk more directly, and screen sharing enables us to collaborate.

Federation brings that same level of connectivity and productivity with any partner or customer that has consumer Skype or Skype for Business. This presents a unique opportunity for customer care, in entirely new models. Contact centers can become more customer focused: by monitoring presence to see when the best time is to reach out, for instance, or by enabling a customer to start a conversation with IM and later add voice or screen sharing / video as needed. 

For example, a leading European outsourced IT support firm uses Clarity Connect to service a number of external companies via federation.  As a result, they can essentially act as an internal helpdesk for their external customers.

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Fundamentally, customer service improves with better communication. With Skype for Business, federation and Clarity Connect, organizations can bring customers into the fold, improve communication and collaboration, and manage those interactions - leading to a markedly improved customer service model.