We have all experienced the frustrations can happen on a journey. Whether it is a delayed flight, a puncture, or just the bad luck of catching every light on red, those hiccups may cause us to consider another route next time. Now imagine that journey, complete with irritations, is your customer’s path through each interaction with your organisation. What if you could eradicate most of the problems and replace them with a smoother and more enjoyable experience?
Like many organisations, you may already use Microsoft Dynamics in a key area, such as CRM. Evolution of the product, though, is bringing Dynamics AX, NAV, GP, SL and CRM together into one Dynamics 365 offering. It makes sense. The needs and activities of stakeholder management, marketing, customer service and sales have considerable overlap, and synchronising these areas improves customer experience and intelligence outcomes.
Suppose that hypothetically Data#3 were working with a customer called ABC Bank. There are four ways that Dynamics 365 helps us create a seamless customer journey focused on the bank’s needs:
- Knowing the customer. Dynamics 365 Customer Experience (CE) is used by many organisations because it is great for storing customer information and managing those relationships. Customer account information can be fully modified, but would typically include contact details, a ‘social pane’ and other day-to-day details we may need to know at a glance. Dynamics 365 allows for the capture of complex hierarchical structures, showing us that the ABC Bank has both a parent company and multiple branches – and we can use custom mapping to ensure we can understand our customer’s environment quickly. We can even track our contacts – so if our key contact moves from one branch to another, that information is available. The more we know our customer, the better service we can offer – so if anyone from the ABC Bank calls us, direct messages, emails or meets us, we are equipped with details about current and past projects, and communications that have been synchronised from a range of sources.
- Make it easier to sell. Sales has been greatly improved by the addition of Process Flow, simpler integration and newly available artificial intelligence (AI) features. When our contact at ABC Bank asks for a quote, it can be converted into a lead, qualified, and progressed right through the sales cycle. His initial email is tracked via Dynamics 365 App for Outlook, which thanks to strong integration can be seen in Dynamics. The Dynamics Process Flow bar maps the sales process; because it is configurable, we are able to design each stage to include qualification processes unique to Data#3We advance through the mapping to the proposal stage and add in some products. As we progress discussions with the customer and learn new details, we can fine-tune and add more products, or remove those deemed less suitable. Estimated revenue and margin are calculated automatically, and fed into our sales reporting tools, with a range of configurable charts to give at-a-glance information at a customer, account manager, region or division level. We finalise a quote and present it to the customer in pdf format. At every stage, anyone involved in the sales cycle can view details and add further information, so our contact at the ABC Bank doesn’t have to repeat himself for each new product specialist or account manager.
- Improving customer service. Supposing the ABC Bank hits a snag, they can’t log in and they ask us for assistance. Depending on the customer’s selected channel, either a case is created directly, or one is created by a company representative. Within the case the contact is viewable in Dynamics 365 and the case number is automatically generated. The option of using the Dynamics 365 portal is available to customers, and can be a convenient option for them, as it gives self-service access to the knowledge base article library. The case can be routed to the appropriate support team, picked off a queue and addressed, with the process flow bar showing progress. Our ABC Bank customer can view this progress at any point. Service level agreements (SLAs) can be factored into the priority level assigned to each case. When responding, relevant library articles can be attached for the customer to guide them through their situation, and when resolved, the case is closed. Working hours are calculated by Dynamics 365.
- Targeted marketing. Lists are at the heart of marketing activity, and when we can refine our target audience, we can ensure relevance and response rates are high. Dynamics 365 lists segment customers based on chosen criteria. We may use information gathered in our encounters with the ABC Bank to include them on communications about events close to them, solutions that relate to their biggest challenges, or news updates that affect companies with headquarters in South Australia. On the other hand, our marketing team can avoid overloading the Bank with events that would be irrelevant to their environment. When we send a piece of email marketing, we can track the way our bank contact interacts with the email, such as which links are clicked, whether it is forwarded, and whether articles are shared on social media. Dynamics 365 gives us tremendous insight into which marketing activities work for each customer segment.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The October 2019 release heralds the addition of artificial intelligence (AI) to the mix, making Dynamics 365 a very exciting proposition. There are four AI modules. Text classification enables administrators to build and refine auto-categorisation models. For example, at Data#3 we have systems of records stretching back decades. By feeding in customer classifications from these existing records, we can create a model that will auto-categorise in future, allowing user feedback in order to continuously improve accuracy. This is all done in a no-code environment, so the time-saving capabilities don’t come at the resource cost you might expect.
Binary classification seeks to provide answers to yes/no questions, with a degree of certainty represented by a decimal number. For example, sales opportunities which are marked as won or lost opportunities can be fed into the model. By doing this, up to 10 fields can be analysed for their likelihood to lead to a successful sale. Using this model, we can estimate the likelihood of future opportunities.
Object detection has some interesting possibilities, especially when you consider the range of mobile devices with camera functions. Essentially, this third module can learn to identify and count objects in images. Whether that is a drone counting sheep or a hand-held scanner tracking stock levels, the potential is there for time and cost savings.
Time saving is also a focus in the fourth module, form processing. It is possible to extract information, even from forms that are hand-completed. At Data#3, for example, we could take a contract with a combination of printed and handwritten text and extract that information onto the customer record, so that it is searchable and trackable.
The Data#3 Approach
Approaching Dynamics 365 is where our expertise goes a long way. Typically, we begin with by talking with staff from many parts of a customer’s organisation, gather a ‘wish list’, and work out what is possible before creating a ‘Fit Gap’ report with recommendations of how to best align Dynamics 365 with business needs. We’re seeing customers make remarkable gains when instead of focusing on minimum viable product, they take a position of minimum valuable product, where they invest based on value to the overall business.
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