Dynamics 365 Customer Service – Which app is best for my customer?

MSFT is coming up with new features with every release to provide best customer service solution to its customers. At times, it is overwhelming to keep up with the pace at which things are moving. I was at Inspire this year (2019) and attended an amazing session from Neerja. I thought I would write this blog to help you understand different applications available under customer service solution. Hopefully, this will also enable you to pick the best application for the customer when presented with the opportunity.


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There are primarily four applications available in the modern user interface to provide customer service solution. It depends on customer requirements as to what solution or a combination thereof, would be best for the problem at hand. However, it is important for solution providers to understand the product roadmap as I strongly believe that some of these solutions would be less relevant considering MSFT’s direction and application roadmap. As it stands these are the four applications available:

  1. Customer Service Hub
  2. Unified Service Desk
  3. Channel Integration Framework (adding it here based on my prediction with its direction :). Keep on reading)
  4. Omnichannel for Customer Service (new kid in town)

1) Customer Service Hub:

Customer service hub is the core module for designing and building a customer service solution. This is where the case management module resides. Other applications that are part of the customer service solution are essentially extensions of case management to enable effective client interfacing that leads to better case management. Here are some of the key features in Customer Service Hub:

  1. Case Management
  2. Entitlements
  3. Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
  4. Service Scheduling
  5. Knowledge Management
  6. Case Routing

Customer Service Hub-Roadmap

You can download the release plan from here


Here are some of the great features in the roadmap:

  1. Timeline Enhancements: Higher information density and improved filtering and search
  2. Knowledge Management: KA templates, Internal ratings, Auto filtering based on entity fields; Inline images, drag & drop editor; Rendering enhancements
  3. SLAs: Modern SLAs powered by Flow, easy to configure and trigger, support multiple actions
  4. Automatic Record Creation & Update Rules: Available in Unified Interface with Microsoft Flow Integration

2) Unified Service Desk:

When it comes to USD, everybody has an opinion. Most of the consultants feel that USD is a bit difficult to understand and implement. However, I beg to differ as this product has evolved over time and it is so much better now. It is getting even better with SSO and Chrome support with USD 4.1. USD is essentially an integrated agent desktop that enables agents to access information from disparate systems in a single unified interface. It is a thick client that needs to be installed on the agent’s machine and configured in Dynamics 365 online. It allows for integration with telephony systems (might require building an adapter) to pop open screens using navigation rules. It is truly omnichannel so it can be integrated with chat, email, social or other channels as well. Here are some of the key features of USD.

  1. Integrated Agent
  2. Session management
  3. Agent guidance
  4. Centralize management
  5. Omnichannel

USD Roadmap

As mentioned USD already has Chrome support and single sign-on. Some additional features are listed below:

  1. UCI based Admin application
  2. Stacked notifications

If you want to learn USD, then Neil is your guy:


However, before you learn a great deal on USD, I would strongly suggest that you read-up on CIF.

3) Channel Integration Framework:

Channel integration framework (CIF) is not an application/module that is part of the customer service solution. It is essentially a set of JS-based APIs that help integrate Dynamics 365 online to other applications. CIF key features:

  1. Bring your own channel providers
    • Standardized Integration
    • Screen Pops, Click to Dial
    • Channel Agnostic
  2. Customized for your business
    • Maintain Brand Identity
    • Programmatically controlled experiences
    • Works with any D365 CE app
  3. Low total cost of ownership (TCO) with cloud-based solutions, Faster Go-Lives
    • Platform/Browser Independent
    • Plug and Play configuration
    • Seamless upgrade of Telephony service or softphone

There are a lot of channel providers and integrators already leveraging CIF to integrate their products in Dynamics 365 CE apps.


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Dynamics 365 CE Apps

CIF Roadmap (Important)

CIF v2.0 is set to be previewed as part of wave 2 in October. This version has a great deal of features, but there are some that require special mention:

i) Session Management

Yes, you read it right. Same session management that is available in USD. CIF is purely cloud-based whereas like I mentioned, USD is a thick client. However, as more and more channel and integration providers are moving to the cloud; MSFT is going to support a cloud-based agent. In version 2.0 initially, session management would support the following features:

  • Session Templates
    1. Session template is a reusable combination of different session-specific metadata
    2. Multiple session templates can be created for an org
    3. Dynamics 365 will have default session templates configured
    4. They can be cloned to build new session templates
    5. The session templates can be used to start a new session

chat session

ii) App Tabs

    1. App tab template is a reusable combination of different app tab specific metadata
    2. App tab template can be a part of a session template
    3. Dynamics 365 will have sample app tabs template configured
    4. Out-of-box templates cannot be deleted or modified; they can be cloned to build new templates
      1. Example 1: List of Accounts in an App tab
        • Type: “Entity Grid View”, Entity: account, View ID: <ID of view>
      2. Example 2: Related Custom Entity Record
        • Type: “Entity Record”, Entity: <name of custom entity>, Record ID: <odata query with filter based on ContactID>, Form ID: <ID of the form>
      3. Example 3: Create Case
        • Type: “Entity Record”, Entity: Case, Form ID: <ID of the form>

Dynamics 365 App tab template

iii) Notification Templates

    1. Notification template is a reusable combination of different notification specific metadata
    2. Notification template can be invoked as a part of session start workflow
    3. Dynamics 365 will have sample notification templates configured
    4. Out-of-box notification templates can be cloned to build new templates

Dynamics 365 Notification template

4) Omnichannel for Customer Service:

Omnichannel for customer service is now available.  It is a single unified interface for agents and supervisors to look at the experience of customers across different channels. It supports most of the traditional channels like email, chat, and forums. It still does not support co-browsing but that is part of the roadmap. Here are some of the key features:

  1. Chat
    • Set up Pre-chat /Post Chat surveys
    • Authenticated and Unauthenticated Visitor Support
    • Design chat widget UX based on org preferences
  1. SMS
    • Quick & seamless integration with 3rd party SMS providers
    • Two-way texting capability initiated by customers
  1. Unified Routing
    • Unified routing and work distribution framework
    • Works across channels

work distribution framework

Omnichannel for Customer Service – What’s new

  1. Agent & Supervisor Experience
    • Multi-session agent experience: USD & Browser
    • Real-time insights into the health of the engagements
    • Sentiment analysis across channels
  1. Bring your own Bots
    • Escalate to human agents with rich context and complete transcript
    • Bot transcript in CDS for post-chat analysis/learning
    • Integrate bots built using Azure Bot Service
  1. Channel Integration Framework
    • Bring your own channel provider
    • Standardized Integration
    • Screen pop, click to call

Omnichannel roadmap

Omnichannel roadmap


If you have any question or queries, do not hesitate to reach out to us