Microsoft has updated Parature, the company's self-service customer care software platform, to help users provide more personalized customer service and resolve issues faster.
In a bid to bulk up its Dynamics CRM ecosystem, Microsoft acquired Parature, a customer service software specialist, early last year. R "Ray" Wang, founder and principal analyst of Constellation Research, told eWEEK at the time that the deal helped fill in "a key gap" in the software giant's portfolio, which competes against Saleforce's market-leading CRM platform.
The cloud-based Parature offering extends Dynamics CRM's reach by providing "self-service knowledge base software, core customer service, live chat, mobile access, survey and feedback capabilities, social monitoring and Facebook portal capabilities to the Microsoft service offering," Wang continued.
In January, nearly a year after the buy, Microsoft released a major update with more than 30 new features—the largest release in the software's history. In addition to expanded localization options, for a total of 10 languages and in 50 markets, the software gained support for more social channels. Joining Twitter and Facebook in the Spring '15 update were YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Today, Microsoft is focused on helping customer service professionals find answers to their customers' pressing questions and concerns faster.
Parature now features newly enhanced search and filtering capabilities, announced Bob Stutz, corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. "Businesses can now spend less time searching for information and more time connecting with customers," he said in a statement. "Dynamic content facets make it easy for agents to find the information they're looking for across customers, content and downloads, while advanced filtering helps both agents and customers find the most relevant results the first time, and every time."
New engagement intelligence capabilities exploit Microsoft's expertise in analytics to improve customer service processes and interactions. "From knowledge base views, to chat requests, to self-service deflection, you'll see what's working and what needs to be improved as part of refining the customer journey experience," Stutz said.
Enhancements to the Parature support portal enable businesses to offer customers seeking help online "a more personalized, productive experience," he claimed. "On the agent side, business processes remain consistent across teams with easy setup, configuration and customization of the portal."
In an expansion of the platform's language capabilities, Microsoft has integrated its real-time translation technology for organizations with a global footprint.
"Customers receive support and self-service knowledge in their preferred language, while agents can translate, route and respond to questions and tickets, as well as create custom content," with room for unique terms, Stutz informed. "Agents can also leverage machine translation for real-time chat powered by Microsoft Translator," he said.
Microsoft's bet on cloud-based CRM appears to be paying off.
On Jan. 26, the company reported strong financial results for the second quarter of its 2015 fiscal year on the strength of its growing cloud software and services slate. "Within Dynamics CRM Online, customer growth accelerated and revenue nearly doubled," said Amy Hood, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Microsoft, during an earnings call on the second-quarter results.
During last week's call discussing the company's fiscal 2015 third quarter results, CEO Satya Nadella revealed that Dynamics alone is "nearly a $2 billion business."