João Gomes

jplg

CRM Leader - Xpand IT

3 ways to optimise business processes with Dynamics 365 Service

5-SECOND SUMMARY:
  • How to optimise business processes with Dynamics 365;
  • This article will explore the Service module with three critical points: SLA, Knowledge Bases, and Process Management.

Many of us have experienced times when we have questioned how we can improve the efficiency of our teams, organise them better and increase their productivity. It is pretty common to think about these issues, especially when day-to-day tasks start to pile up and condense in the work funnel, many of them which are cyclical or follow a pattern.

In this article, we shall be addressing how to optimise business processes with Dynamics 365. To do so, we will look at the service module, which features 3 major critical points: SLA, Knowledge Bases and Process Management. Let us look at each of them in detail.

Process organisation

To discuss how to optimise business processes, let us take as an example a company that needs product warehousing on its premises, followed by transportation to customers in due course. The process below is often trivialised as being routine work:

• Products arrive at the warehouse;
• Products are placed in their respective locations;
• Products are picked up from these locations;
• Products leave the warehouse;
• Products reach the customer.

As a seemingly straightforward process, many organisations do not always bother to standardise/systematise this. However, at busy times, reliance on routines associated with work fatigue can lead teams to make mistakes, such as changing stock locations, increasing load or speed per trip (on pallet jacks/stackers) and switching orders, among others. Automating parts of this process, supported by information systems, allows teams to be more methodical and gives management teams more and better information about what is happening. Examples of improvements include:

• Greater visibility of product volumes at each stage of the logistics process;
• More detailed information on workload, making it possible to understand work peaks or seasonalities;
• Better organisation of operational teams.

Just as in the case of the company with warehousing and distribution, other situations can take advantage of the same systems, such as manufacturing industries organising production lines, retailers scheduling replacements, the automotive industry arranging vehicle preparation, and last but not least traditional customer care, transversal to any industry.

Knowledge Base

All organisations seek to improve their productivity. As far as customer support teams are concerned, whether it be call centre services, repair teams, among others, there is nothing better than providing customers with a place where they can make use of free information that does not consume our teams’ time. That is what knowledge bases are for. They allow customers to access a site/portal and search for the problem in question and receive instant information about it. A few typical examples:

1. Telecoms companies, where customers have problems with the internet, can provide information on the first steps, reducing the number of calls from call centres or unnecessary in-store visits.
2. Product industry companies can provide informative documents on how to perform a few quick diagnostics and repairs, with a similar effect to the previous point.
3. Retail businesses can use this functionality to guide customers on how to use self-service checkouts or how to order products online, optimising cashiers’ time on control and supervision tasks.

These are some of the approaches that can be beneficial to the use of knowledge bases, optimising the internal component, but also have external effects. However, we also have exclusively internal situations for applying the knowledge bases, such as problem-solving articles, which we can associate to some extent to those already mentioned as well.

1. Once the diagnosis has been made, the operator or shop agent can use articles to conduct the first resolution steps before sending it to the technical teams.
2. On the production lines, workers will be able to help themselves to the articles for the assembly processes, having a helpful guide always at hand.
3. In the event of a problem occurring at a self-service checkout, a trained cashier can resort to an article to guide him/her through the problem, without the need for a superior to do so.

As we have seen, knowledge bases allow teams to be more independent and thus increase their productivity in more important tasks. Additionally, the articles in the knowledge bases can and should be written by the teams that will use them for their experience, namely their management teams. There should also be approval processes for the contents so that they are verified by the hierarchy or other responsible staff so that the information is relevant and does not expose relevant internal processes to outsiders.

Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

To ensure the best experience for the end consumer, but also to ensure internal commitment to optimise business processes, it is pretty common for organisations to define terms of service in the form of an agreement between the end consumer and the organisation. These agreements define customer level (generally associated with consumption and how important the customer is to the organisation), response times (where the organisation makes a commitment to respond in X days/hours/minutes) and/or resolution (the same but related to standard issues).

For example, let us look at a utility provider overseeing water management. In the event of a burst pipe, the water company may be alerted by water monitoring systems or by the public. From the moment the company is aware of the disruption, it may set a response time of 2 hours, for example. This is the maximum time that company workers should take to respond to the situation and reach the site of the disruption. Suppose now that the agreement specifies a 6-hour resolution time. When they arrive on site, company workers will have 6 hours, minus the time it took from when the incident was created to the time they arrived on site to repair the leak. In other words, the time taken to resolve the incident an aggregate of response time and repair time.

This is one example among several for water management companies. But just like them, all organisations can adopt SLAs, according to their needs. A few other examples:

Telecoms companies may have response and resolution times for domestic customers, supposing a customer is left without Internet at home, as well as internal issues, such as the repair of antennae and other network equipment;
Insurance companies use them to streamline their service to customers reporting accidents, so they can conduct expert reports and repairs in a timely manner;
Retail organisations use SLAs to schedule stock replenishments of essential products so that these products are not missing from the shelves.

Where a timeframe is exceeded, the problem then gets escalated to further responsible parties, who in turn have their own response and/or resolution times. This allows for the aforementioned commitment and optimisation of the team’s time to solve such problems.

Conclusion

Overall, Dynamics 365 Service helps to optimise business processes and enables companies to:

• Get better visibility through hierarchical structures;
• Improve customer perception of the company;
• Enhance team performance;
• Focus teamwork on the most relevant processes;
• Integrate teams into internal processes.

João Gomes3 ways to optimise business processes with Dynamics 365 Service
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Marketing and Sales: 4 reasons to bet on a 360-degree customer view

When we look at a sales funnel, we usually worry about the number of opportunities that come at the end of the funnel – that is, that they actually materialise in a sale. However, the quantity and quality of the converted opportunities are directly related to their nutrition, as well as the new Leads (potential new customers).

By this I mean that in order to have good sales, the sales teams and the marketing teams must be in full harmony, they must bet on a unique vision between teams. And this should happen not only in planning and retrospective meetings but also in constant communication and information sharing since this alignment is a critical factor for success. It is in this continuity that CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) platforms become fundamental support.

Here are 4 key points for the cohesion of information between commercial and marketing teams.

1. 360-degree customer view

One of the central points of information for both teams is what is usually called the “360-degree Customer View“.

The 360-degree customer view is not only the details of a customer file. It is also the information about all the opportunities (remembering that an opportunity is a possible sale) and the information about how many of those opportunities actually materialized in sales, how many requests for the support this customer has and, in the case of Business-to-Business (B2B) businesses, the contacts that are associated with this customer.

The marketing teams are usually the first to realize that some information is not according to what was planned. This is because there is a variation between the conversion rates of the campaigns when compared to those planned.

As far as the sales teams are concerned, they are in most cases responsible for introducing and updating most of the information that will be used by the marketing teams later on. More on this topic.

2. Campaigns

Speaking of information used by marketing teams, it is in marketing campaigns that information about customers has its most critical role.

Today, any action taken is focused on customers, not products. Campaigns are the entry point for various leads and opportunities. But I’ll speak better of quantity than quality. For the moment, let’s return to the fundamental point: how to make each communication unique for each client.

Before we customize the actions, it is necessary to segment the customers so that they can enter the right campaign. This is where marketers use customer data – which, as I said in the first point, it is essential that they are up-to-date – to target campaigns and, consequently, sales. Some common points of segmentation are: region, trend of products already purchased, degree of satisfaction, indicators from websites visited, etc.

After the segmentation is done, the marketing teams define a certain workflow to reach the sales target. In this process, we may have digital points and/or points of contact with sales teams (mostly in B2B). It is in this nutrition process that the 360º vision information is being updated.

3. Quantity Vs Quality

As I addressed in the previous point, we should focus our marketing and commercial actions on people and not on the products and/or services we provide.

Unqualified leads and poor quality opportunities are not only cold leads/opportunities, but also inappropriate leads/opportunities. And they are inappropriate because companies will waste time and resources trying to convert an opportunity that, in the beginning, they would no longer convert. And when do these inappropriate leads come out? When there is a lack of information or when the information is of poor quality.

Maintaining a strong and careful relationship with the client helps to maintain a good relationship with them. With more confidence, there is more and better information, brought by the sales teams, which in turn will feed the marketing actions. In other words, it is more important to nurture leads and increase their quality, than to bet on quantity – since what we will achieve are leads with no real interest in our company.

4. Retrospective

Finally, it is in the analytical component that both teams can draw conclusions. The marketing team usually looks for conversion rates, campaign ROI, and publication views. The sales teams look for indicators such as sales volume by customers, quantities sold, top customers, etc.

Although both teams have their reports, the most important thing to analyse is the crossover of both sides. We remind you that the commercial pipeline begins with the discovery of opportunities, and follows the nutrition path – usually used in marketing automation tools – but is also supported by sales teams, teams that carefully monitor customers and feed CRM platforms to feed back marketing initiatives.

In conclusion, the sales funnels must be worked by the marketing and sales teams together, and this is the only way to guarantee the quality of the leads, verify which are real opportunities, and improve the results of the marketing campaigns carried out. Only a single 360° view between the two teams guarantees the best results, and a CRM tool can, in fact, be an extremely facilitating element.

João GomesMarketing and Sales: 4 reasons to bet on a 360-degree customer view
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Artificial Intelligence as the ideal partner for your CRM

5-SECOND SUMMARY:
  • Customer management systems (CRM) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be two essential allies for your business;
  • This article will talk about how these two tools can help departments/areas: Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, and Field Service.

We have always heard that a company’s first objective is to gain profit. Well, that usually means they have a good product to offer and a strong customer relationship. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) helps us fulfil our daily tasks such as customer liaison, improving team productivity, and keeping customers’ information organised. But there are always improvements that can be made, namely to combine the CRM system with the power of Artificial Intelligence. That is what we are going to talk about in this article: how to bring both components together and get the best out of it for your business. In a nutshell, how to combine Artificial Intelligence and CRM and get the best out of both worlds.

We will discuss Marketing; Sales; Customer Support; Field Service. So let’s get started!

Marketing

As we all know, the goal of the marketing team is to generate and strengthen relationships with leads in our business, in order to feed the commercial teams with potential future customers. Nowadays, marketing solutions already allow a high level of autonomy and automation, however, by adding artificial intelligence, we are further increasing the capabilities of the system such as:

  • Improving content classification, by having artificial intelligence automatically assign tags to the content in question, and thus deliver the best content to our leads;
  • Improving the communication provided to potential customers, using chatbots so that they identify the persona associated with the lead and thus provide a better user experience of our channels;
  • Improving the lead score models, using existing patterns in the system data and in the AI algorithm itself, in order to pass the leads with the highest probability of conversion onto the commercial teams;
  • Recommending the most suitable products/services for each lead, according to their interaction history and persona. This will increase the probability of closing a deal.

Sales

Sales teams will also be able to take advantage of the artificial intelligence features of CRM solutions to increase the likelihood of closing opportunities. Some examples of this are:

  • Improving the forecast predictability by allowing AI algorithms to evaluate the company’s data history and deliver more reliable results. This way, teams can focus on their work and know how they are doing pursuing their goals;
  • The assignment of scores to opportunities, indicating to the sales team which opportunities they should focus on in order to close deals more effectively;
  • The advice that the platform suggests so that those responsible for the opportunities can work on them more effectively. These tips are provided by rules defined by organizations, reminding them of actions that would help close deals.

Customer Support

It is not possible to talk about CRM platforms without talking about the customer support component, where the whole relationship is managed, from post-sales assistance to the clarification of doubts about products/services/company. In this scope, artificial intelligence will play a key role in:

  • Answering more effectively to customers, through chatbots, which identify the needs of stakeholders and respond accordingly. This allows the time spent by service teams can be reduced so that they can focus on more critical tasks;
  • Analyse customer sensitivity, through text analysis, understanding whether they are more or less pleased with what they are talking about and allowing the agent responsible for the ticket or chatbot to act in the best way possible to resolve the situation and have the customer satisfied;
  • Interpret problems reported through images, such as damaged products, in order to reduce the analysis and response times of requests, improving SLA times and customer satisfaction.

On-site Service

As the last topic was chosen, we have on-site teams, which are no less important than the others, and where artificial intelligence proves to be absolutely key. Some of the advantages that companies can take advantage of with these technologies, concerning on-site teams are:

  • Improved efficiency by prioritising tasks to be carried out, so that teams can respond to the most critical issues as soon as possible;
  • Automation and better performance in allocating resources, according to the skills and experience required, thus providing a better service to customers;
  • Obtaining more efficient routes in order to avoid unnecessary wear and costs, through route optimisation algorithms, combining the needs of service and their locations.

Artificial Intelligence and CRM: final thoughts

In summary, although CRM systems already allow a great improvement in the performance of teams/companies, adding artificial intelligence allows:

  • Further improved productivity
  • Greater team autonomy
  • Better predictability of results
  • Optimization of human resources and routes
  • Better customer relations and satisfaction

Although we have only looked at four areas, AI is spreading across all modules of these platforms, such as eCommerce and Portals, among others, but these topics will be explored in another article.

João GomesArtificial Intelligence as the ideal partner for your CRM
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3 approaches to consider before implementing a CRM platform

5-SECOND SUMMARY:
  • A CRM solution is more than just a work tool;
  • There are three approaches to consider before implementing a CRM platform;
  • Vertical by industry, Horizontal by department/team or Functional for particular needs.

Many companies are still not making the best of the technological structure of their CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Their operations are often based on a few files spread among their employees or centralised in a document manager, even in the best-case scenario. And other companies might have reached the embryonic phase of adopting a CRM solution to meet their immediate needs, but without having considered their company’s medium to long-term requirements, in a more or less self-taught or unstructured way. And this too could be a challenge.

To help you clarify the basic considerations for getting the best out of your company’s CRM solution, we aggregated some deliberations, the result of years of experience in the field, into a convenient article so that you can validate the advantages of one approach over another for yourself.

So, without further ado, let’s see which approach suits your organisation better when implementing a CRM platform:

Vertical, by industry

There are several fields of industry that, due to their extended interactivity with this type of system, already make it possible for providers in collaboration with organisations in these industries to create a database based on best practices and their current needs. Some examples of these sectors are:

👉 Industrial/manufacturing;

👉 Retail;

👉 Education;

👉 Financial services;

👉 Telecommunications;

It is a fact that no two companies work in the same way; because either they have very different basic models of operation, or their unique company culture extends considerable influence over day-to-day activities, among other examples.

Suppose that your company operates in a sector where a CRM system has already been organised and executed. In this case, a vertical system should be a hypothesis to consider as the basis of the solution.

Horizontal, by department/team

Another approach to consider is a departmental or team management view of the company. The need here is not so linked to an end-to-end system but rather in line with the organisational, planning and performance needs of every department. In these cases, you can take a horizontal approach, where a platform module is chosen as the basis of the solution. The most traditional aspects are:

👉 Sales, traditionally dedicated to commercial teams, where the base solution already includes customer management, opportunities, insights over the sales funnel, and budgeting components, among others;

👉 Marketing, for teams that need to understand how the company is interacting with customers and potential customers (that is, leads) and that need a platform on which to organise various data, such as landing pages, forms, campaigns and ads, as well as planning the customer journey or implementing scoring models;

👉 Customer Service, where the focus is usually on after-sales teams or clarifying customer doubts. In this component, you can count on a knowledge base engine, that is, a database prepared to help respond to problems that have been reported and analysed previously, with distinctions between internal and external Question/Answer articles, ticket monitoring, and with or without an SLA (Service Level Agreement). This way, you will be able to prioritise any customer and allow your customer service teams to know where to concentrate their attention);

👉 Field operations, offering the teams that operate in the field the necessary tools to help them be more productive, generally centred around the assignment of tasks/work to be carried out at specific addresses, with route planning for this work or perhaps optimising resource allocation;

👉 eCommerce platforms are as exciting or more interesting from the point of view of customer data as any other component mentioned above because it is through these that we can understand the tastes and inclinations of our customers. Whether they take longer looking at a particular product, for example, tend to favour one colour above another, make choices and add them to the cart but then go shopping at the store, or save specific items to a wishlist, amongst other information.

Functional, for particular needs

Finally, we have a more functional vision. We need a particular characteristic to bring employees closer and encourage cohesion within a team, department, or even across the entire organisation. Some examples are:

👉 Collaborative, where the aim is to give employees more information from different sources and break down data silos;

👉 Analytical, where the main feature is that the system stores all the information in order to present it in the best and most cohesive way;

👉 Interaction Management, giving the team a tool to record external and internal interactions so that everyone is on the same page;

👉 Document Management is a bit like interaction management, but this time sharing is based on documents, such as budgets or advertising material.

Final Thoughts

As we have seen, a CRM solution is more than just a work tool. It is a fundamental source of data for the operation and function of any organisation, and we can and must choose to always look beyond implementation. Have a thought-out, well-planned strategy that comprehensively addresses the company’s processes, needs, and teams and how they work.

👉 If you are in a sector that focuses on the customer, you can opt for a vertical solution, taking advantage of the best practices of the industry in which it operates;

👉 On the other hand, if the need is related to increasing the productivity and efficiency of a specific department or team, then the base must be thought of horizontally, using the available modules;

👉 If what you are looking for is related to specific functionality, then the base should be a system that provides this functionality, and generally also combines one of the previous aspects;

Regardless of the basic approach to be used, every solution must be configured and customised to suit the organisation individually, in order to facilitate the adoption of teams so that in the end, we can achieve fewer information silos; greater collaboration between teams; and greater and more precise information from diversified sources!


João Gomes3 approaches to consider before implementing a CRM platform
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Four great things customer service systems can provide

5-SECOND SUMMARY:
  • The potential of a collaborative CRM system that can take your organization to the next level;
  • The four points that companies can work to improve the performance and productivity of customer service teams, and the importance of having great customer service systems.

Companies care more these days about their customers and followers and how they can be an asset to their lives, but they are also beginning to wake up to improving the experiences their customers encounter using their products and services.

With customer satisfaction and customer service in mind, we will talk in this article about four ways in which companies can interact with their service users in order to improve not only the customer experience but also increase the performance and productivity of customer service teams using great customer service systems, meaning a great CRM system; in this case from the customer service aspect.

Increasing customer satisfaction and retention

Let’s start this journey with one of the most important considerations for customer service teams, which is customer satisfaction. It is widely known that it is always simpler and cheaper for organisations to retain and build on customer loyalty than to acquire new customers (it is widely estimated that it takes between 5 and 20 times more effort to acquire new customers than retain existing ones, depending on the area and size of the business).

Having this said, it is fundamental that the organisation provides the teams working on this conundrum with a system that not only allows them to know who the customer is and the kind of person with whom they are communicating, in order to adjust their tone of voice and positioning, but also gives visibility on their purchase history and previous orders, in order to understand whether they have an open balance or to be able to provide a more tailored response in the case of a complaint.

Omnichannel

An also growing theme is building a presence across multiple channels of communication, and going beyond traditional channels, such as website, email and telephone. It is increasingly important to have a consistent presence on social networks where customers and followers of the organisation will be present, not from a prospect marketing perspective (marketing is a topic already covered in other articles and which we will continue to give continuity to) but from customer support and service perspective, helping them communicate with the organisation, clarify questions or solve problems.

Therefore, it is important that a collaborative system facilitates easy interaction with these methods of communication, so that response time may be short and information consolidated and aggregated. Thus, our employees can take advantage of data they’ve already collected, in order to increase satisfaction, as we discussed in the previous point.

Field Service

Turning now to the outdoor teams, those that provide service to customers in their homes or at locations outside the organisation. These teams usually have a well-defined calendar and may also have a planned route, against which we can associate cases/tickets.

For these teams to be more productive, they can take advantage of collaborative systems, which must be interconnected, either with integration systems or by adding modules (which happens in most current CRM systems). The fact that they are modular systems allows time and cost savings for organisations, since there is only one database and no need for propagation times between systems, and reduced susceptibility to network breakdowns, amongst other problems.

Self Service

Focusing again on the customer, there has been a growing need to provide customers with ways to self-diagnose problems or solve less complex situations.

Usually, these sources of help are provided on the company’s own website and linked to collaborative tool portals, such as a CRM, where the articles provided originate from a set of common cases/tickets. By adding artificial intelligence, enables the discovery of new patterns that employees may not be observed immediately.

Such articles are written by our own teams and approved, via internal application approval processes, by elements with their respective competencies. Only after the process has been completed can they be published in the so-called knowledge base, along with known FAQs, in order to help customers and, once again, increase satisfaction with our brand.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, we can see the potential of a collaborative CRM system, from the customer service point of view. Not just to improve the internal productivity of the organisation, but also to enhance customer satisfaction. As for macros, the following insights can be inferred:

  • Increase customer visibility, through the aggregated view of the information provided by a set of screens and dashboards.
  • Provide documents that allow customers to interact in real-time, making them feel part of the company, with the use of self-service portals.
  • Omnipresence towards customers, by utilising the information obtained via various channels of communication between the company and the customer.
  • Increase the productivity of street teams, with the help of field service components.

The mission of these teams is to keep the customers satisfied, as people usually return to their favourite brands. Plus, where they get good service and enjoy a good experience, more than 70% of customers remain loyal.

João GomesFour great things customer service systems can provide
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3 ways to leverage your company with Salesforce service Einstein

What is Salesforce service Einstein?

Salesforce service Einstein is the first to include Artificial Intelligence (AI) for CRM. It’s an integrated set of AI technologies that makes Salesforce Customer 360 smarter, and it helps the Service team to focus uniquely on the tasks that matter. Einstein for Service makes AI easy to use because it’s built right into Service Cloud, your service channels and your CRM data.

Through this article, we will share a possible use case for some Einstein features which can help organisations to improve customer experience.

Einstein features to help your service team:

1 – Chatbots

Chatbots are a fast and easy way to communicate with your customers, reducing customer service employees’ time for more urgent and critical cases. Some of the chatbots’ main goals are:

👉 Helping more customers resolve common issues fast with Salesforce chatbots, without the need of a service agent.

👉 Guiding customers through multistep actions, all inside one conversation.

👉 Collecting and qualifying customer info, then seamlessly connect them to the right agent.

👉 Integrating Einstein Bots with Chat and Messaging (SMS, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp) channels to give the user a friendlier experience.

Let’s assume your company has a high volume of clients requesting information about your business, such as product information, payment methods, business schedules, etc.

We can configure chatbots to request the client’s information, understand who the receptor is (if you have multiple client levels this is highly important), then ask what the client’s concern is and show them some common categories. From this moment, the configuration is similar at every step: setting multiple answers for one question. After some iterations, Einstein will start to understand what the most likely questions/answers per client pattern are and new questions to ask.

2 – Next Best Action

The Einstein Next Best Action tool uses artificial intelligence to give recommendations to users, so they have guidance on what to do next to improve customer satisfaction. Next Best Action uses information from your customer data, finds patterns and advises the user to take the action that best suited other customers with similar issues, so your organisation can improve this customer’s satisfaction too (by providing the best answer, the best product, and the best action in order to sell).

To illustrate this feature, let’s imagine an organisation that receives a message from a customer asking about payment methods. Einstein Next Best Action can suggest telling the customer that if he pays his bill by Direct Debit he can get a 10% discount on his invoice.

3 – Article Recommendations

This model is similar to the previous one, but now with reference only to customer help. Einstein learns how customer service teams solve customer problems, checks the Knowledge Articles already available and compares them with the current case/ticket so that it can recommend articles to help customers resolve new similar cases.

Users can also attach one of the recommended articles to a case, edit an article or mark an article as “not helpful”, so Einstein can learn for future cases and become more accurate.

For example, an organisation receives a complaint about invoicing, with the customer saying that he’s received an invoice containing products not bought by him. If Einstein and Knowledge Articles are configured, Einstein will analyse the problem in this case, compare it against other cases and point the user to the right article, guiding them through the steps to resolution.

Final Thoughts

In a constantly evolving world and with consumers becoming more informed, companies must position themselves more strategically in the market. Salesforce service Einstein came to revolutionize customer support, making your experience increasingly memorable and differentiating.

If your company is looking for a solution like the one we describe in this article, don’t hesitate to contact us!

João Gomes3 ways to leverage your company with Salesforce service Einstein
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