Take CRM beyond sales management to personalized service

By - August 14, 2013

I am flying home from vacation to my family’s favorite destination, Disney World.  I took note on this trip to how personal everyone working at Disney in front of a computer was.  They were able to welcome me by name, ask how my stay was at our hotel, which they knew by name.  At check in, they asked how the weather was in New Jersey, my home state, and if I arrived that day.  They were able to ask about my family members by name and let me know when the last time I had visited.  I could go on and on about this, but it really drove home a point to me, they have customer service and data mining figured out.  Disney has clearly seen the value of this data and has effectively put this information into the hands of their employees.

This brings me to the point of this post.  We, as implementers of Microsoft Dynamics CRM,  have the ability to store all this information, but more times than not, end up implementing a sales tracking and order entry system.  We typically do some customer service, but that tends to be to handle problems. 

I don’t discount at all the need for a realistic sales pipeline.  But after seeing the customer care offered this past week, it seems that using Microsoft Dynamics CRM in such a way to allow people to put a personal touch in their conversations with clients is something that would make sense for many of our customers. 

So where do we start.  I would say that a really good start lies in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, which was recently announced.  The single pane approach is going to allow for more diverse information to be displayed on the screen.  Our ability to have better subgrids is going to allow us to give a better one to many view to the users.  The new user experience is going to do a better job to get at information without clicking through to many screens.  The enhanced mobility experience is going to give this information to users away from their desks.  I do not dispute the fact that we had a number of these features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, but in many ways these features were a little clunky. 

The second piece to the puzzle, though, is around management’s support and encouragement to use these pieces of data to enhance the experience with the customer.  There has to be the mentality that while it is nice to have this order, we would like to have many orders in the future.  Better yet, we would like the customer to not feel the need to shop around.  Training on how to use the data in a conversation with the customer would help. 

Finally, data mining and integration would be needed to put the information at the user’s fingertips.  In the case of Disney World, it is clear that in their CRM system, the user can easily get to dining reservations, prior requests, prior visits, prior travel partners, and preferences.

Just as we preach at any kick off meeting, the true value of Microsoft Dynamics CRM is to give users a holistic view of the customer.  We talk about seeing the opportunities, the issues and the orders.  Why not start tracking and looking at the soft information to make a touch point with a customer personal?

By: Bob Kanzler – Microsoft Dynamics CRM consultant in New Jersey

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