Microsoft releases voice of the customer platform

Microsoft takes on Qualtrics with Dynamics 365 Customer Voice, a customer experience feedback tool native to its platform for retailers and B2B users.

Microsoft expanded on its existing voice of the customer feature and this week rolled out Dynamics 365 Customer Voice, a more sophisticated survey bundle that includes templates for users to set up customer feedback solicitations for common scenarios.

The voice of the customer survey tool connects to the Microsoft customer data platform, released earlier this year, to assemble real-time customer insights for CX teams. Templates included with the release enable quick setup of surveys for key junctures in the customer journey, such as after a service call or when a customer receives a package delivery, with sample questions and integrations to generate reports in business applications.

While Dynamics 365 Customer Voice was on the product roadmap before the pandemic, Microsoft accelerated development earlier this year when digital commerce and customer service tools became more crucial for Dynamics 365 users, said Brenda Bown, general manager of Microsoft Business Applications. Customers that were traditionally successful with in-person customer engagements quickly needed to replicate that remotely.

"We've seen digital transformations that have taken two years in the past now happen in a matter of two months," Bown said. "We want to make sure we're setting up our customers for success."

Dynamics 365 Customer Voice was released in conjunction with Microsoft's Inspire partner conference, held virtually July 21 and 22. Also released on the customer experience front were Dynamics 365 Connected Store tools for retailers to set up curbside pickup services as well as Store Traffic, which enables store employees to manage customer flow in physical stores so customers can maintain social distance.

Microsoft voice of the customer tools
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Voice offers templates to get customer service and marketing workers started on gathering customer feedback for common scenarios.

Challenging Qualtrics

Dynamics 365 Customer Voice might not have the deep features and functions of mature competitors such as Qualtrics, said Faith Adams, an analyst at Forrester Research. But advanced features sometimes go unused, or there isn't always budget for customer experience teams to implement an expansive voice of the customer program, or to buy the accompanying technology to support it.

That might make Microsoft's entrant into the market an immediate contender, at least for existing Microsoft Dynamics 365 users.

Being able to get started with a lower-level program and make the most of a technology that exists -- and then getting some quick wins under your belt -- can be a great way to build a foundation.
Faith AdamsAnalyst, Forrester Research

"I often hear [CX] teams noting that they don't yet have a big budget for tools or technology, or they don't have the support needed yet," Adams said, adding that it can take a few years to build a holistic, all-encompassing voice of the customer program. "Being able to get started with a lower-level program and make the most of a technology that exists -- and then getting some quick wins under your belt -- can be a great way to build a foundation."

Furthermore, Adams said, it's common that different departments of the same company employ more than one voice of the customer vendor for various tasks.

Dynamics 365 Customer Voice comes included with the customer license at no extra charge, and can also be purchased separately.

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