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Configure SMS Channel in Omnichannel for Customer Service

In our previous blog post we configured chat channel in Omnichannel for Customer Service. In this blog post we will configure SMS channel by integrating with a Twilio trial account.

SMS channel allows your organization to connect to customers by using text messages. It enables your support to reach situations and locations where even chat channel doesn’t reach. Consider following scenarios in which SMS channel can play a significant role:

Set up SMS channel

We will perform following tasks to demonstrate the set up of SMS channel.

Sign up for Twilio account

SMS channel can be set up in Omnichannel for Customer Service by integrating with a developer platform that provides SMS messaging service. Out of the box, Omnichannel for Customer Service provides configuring SMS channel with Twilio or TeleSign developer platforms. For this demonstration we will use Twilio integration.

  1. Go to https://www.twilio.com/
  2. Click on the Sign up button
  3. Fill in the your first name, last name, email and password.
  4. Select I accept the Twilio terms of service checkbox and click on Start your free trial button.
  5. You will receive an email to verify your account. Click on Confirm Your Email link in the email.
  6. You will be redirected to verification page again, this time to verify your phone number. Fill in your mobile phone number and click Verify button.

The mobile phone number you provide in the above step would also be your verified number that you would use for sending test SMS messages to the Omnichannel agent.

  1. You will receive verification code on your mobile device. Fill in this code in the verification code field and click Submit button.
  2. On the Customize your experience page, select No for Do you write code question.
  3. On the next page, select Skip to dashboard button.
  1. On dashboard, click on Get a Trial Number button
  1. On Your first Twilio Phone Number dialog, click on Choose this number button.
  2. On Congratulations dialog, click Done.

The trial number you got in the above step would be used by the Omnichannel agent to receive and send SMS messages to and from Omnichannel for Customer Service app.

  1. From the Twilio dashboard, note down your trial number, Account SID and Auth Token. This information is required later to configure SMS channel in Omnichannel for Customer Service.

Using your Twilio trial account you can send messages to verified numbers only. For testing purpose, you can add more mobile numbers to your trial account by selecting verified numbers link on the dashboard.

Create a queue

For this demonstration, we will route the incoming SMS conversations to Omni SMS Queue.

  1. Go to Dynamics 365 home (https://home.dynamics.com/)
  2. Login as Omnichannel Administrator or System Administrator
  3. Open Omnichannel Administration app.
  4. In the site map (left navigation), go to Queues & Users > Queues.
  5. Click on the New button on the command bar at the top
  6. On the summary tab, in the summary section, fill in the following information
    • Name: Omni SMS Queue
    • Priority: 3
  7. Click on the Save button to save the new queue. The Users (Agents) section will be shown for the new queue.
  8. Click on Add Existing User to open agents’ Lookup Records page.
  9. Select Omnichannel Agent 1 to add that agent to the queue.
  10. Click Add button. The agent would get added to the queue.

Create Work stream

  1. In the Omnichannel Administration site map, go to the Work Distribution Management > Work Streams.
  2. On the command bar, click on the New button
  3. On the Work Distribution tab, in the General information section fill in the following information:
    • Name: Omni SMS work stream
    • Channel: SMS
    • Capacity: 30
    • Auto-close after inactivity: 2 days
    • Allow Automated Messages: Yes
  4. In the Work distribution section fill in the following information:
    • Work distribution mode: Push
    • Allowed Presences: Available, Busy
    • Enable selecting from pushed based work streams: No
  5. Click Save button. Let the work stream remain open.

Define SMS settings and numbers

  1. Click on SMS Settings tab.
  2. Fill in the following information:
    • SMS Provider: Twilio
    • Account SID: Twilio ACCOUNT SID.
    • Auth Token: Twilio AUTH TOKEN.
  3. Click Save button.
  1. Click on the SMS Numbers tab.
  2. Click on the New SMS Number button.
  3. On the General tab, fill in the following informatin:
    • Number: Twilio phone number (that you get as a trial)
    • Type: Long code
    • Work Stream: Omni SMS work stream
  4. Click Save button. Let the work stream remain open.

Validate SMS settings

  1. Go back to the SMS Settings tab
  2. On the command bar, click on the Validate SMS Settings button.
  3. On the SMS Settings tab, in the Twilio account information section, confirm the following values:
    • Last validation status: Success
    • Last validated on: <Current date and time>

Add routing rule to work stream

  1. Click on the Routing Rules tab.
  2. Click on the Add button to add new rule time. A New Rule Item form will be displayed.
  3. On the General tab, in the General Information section, fill in the following information
    • Name: Omni SMS Routing Rule
    • Work Stream: Omni SMS work stream
    • Queue: Omni SMS Queue
  4. Click Save button. Let the work stream remain open.

Do not set any conditions this time as we want all the incoming SMS conversation to route to the same queue.

Establish Twilio connection

  1. Click on the SMS Settings tab.
  2. In the Connection parameters section, copy the value in Twilio inbound URL field.
  3. Go to your Twilio dashboard (https://www.twilio.com/console)
  4. Go to verified numbers > Manage Numbers > Active Numbers
  5. Click on the SMS phone number. The Configure tab would appear.
  6. On the Configure tab, if you can’t see the Messaging section, scroll down to locate the section.
  7. In the Messaging section, in the A MESSAGE COMES IN field, paste the Twilio inbound URL.
  8. Click Save button.

Omnichannel configuration changes take up to 15 minutes to reflect. Allow that much time before start testing.

Test it out

  1. Log out as admin user or open different browser
  2. Go to Dynamics home (https://home.dynamics.com/)
  3. Sign in as Omnichannel Agent 1
  4. Open Omnichannel for Customer Service app. Agent’s home page would be opened.
  5. Confirm the presence indicator at the top right side of the page. It should be green (means agent is available)
  6. Now send an SMS to the Twilio trial number using the mobile phone you used to register a Twilio trial.
  7. Move back to the Omnichannel Agent 1 browser page. An incoming SMS notification would appear for the agent in few seconds.
  1. Click Accept. A conversation panel and a customer and case details would appear in a new session.
  2. Send a message back to the customer using the conversation panel. You would receive that message on your mobile phone’s SMS messaging app.

Next

In our next blog post we will try to put together all the features of Omnichannel for Customer Service to have you an idea about how beneficial it could be to implement Omnichannel for Customer Service for your organization.

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