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This blog looks specifically at the Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution, and how it supports various channels and gives companies a 'joined-up' approach to omni-channel customer support.

Before delving into this further I’ll caveat this by saying that Microsoft Dynamics Customer Engagement (CE) can support “core” service needs and also “Field” service requirements; I’m going to pen another blog later that will focus on “Field” requirements and capabilities.

 

My last blog focused on customer service but more from the perspective of the value and challenges associated with delivering good quality customer service. Mistakes, or lack of commitment to the customer across the many messaging channels that exist today can cause huge issues for companies, and we can all name brands over the last 20 years that have lost significant brand value and revenues because of mistakes and poor-quality customer service.

 

The important capabilities and benefits of Microsoft Dynamics 365 are:

Omni-channel support for issues

CE2Customers will want to use a variety of channels to resolve issues, and this will include formal traditional channels such as email and phone, but customers today expect much more than this – if you sell direct to consumers then you should expect them to use Twitter and other social channels to flag issues about you and your brand.

The option of webchat has grown in use and adoption substantially, and some customer want to use secured support websites to create, monitor, and work together with customer service agents on their issues.

Support expectations and demands go from self-service only all the way up to premium service levels, and therefore often many discrete channels for service need to be used.

Integrated mature Service Level Agreements

Corporate clients differ from private consumers, and quite often corporate support contracts will include defined levels of service support. The ability to define standard service level agreements, and then have automated monitoring and escalation rules built into the software is very powerful and critical.

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SLAs give management a powerful indicator of the success or failure of the customer service organisation and the business can trend the performance against SLA to see if the business is improving in this area.

Unification of core service support with field service management

I’ll be talking more about this is my next blog, but I’ll touch on it here – a lot of companies I’ve talked to over the years use completely different systems from different vendors for core service management and Field service management. 

Most businesses need to offer some capability to come to the customer and fix issues, and most discrete manufacturing and utilities customers I’ve dealt with have had very heavy requirements to dovetail customer service agents with the field workforce.

Dynamics 365 has a completely unified suite for core service and field service, and this joined up approach delivers better communications for the end customer, better scheduling of engineers, better visibility of performance, and an optimised approach to resourcing.

As I said, I’ll cover this more in a separate piece, but service needs to be viewed not in silos but as an end to end joined up approach to deliver quality support to the customer.

AI for Customer Service 

When I put together the blog about Sales in Dynamics 365 I talked about the value of AI relative to Sales, but this extends in the same way over to Customer Service.

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The use of AI is emerging as one of the most powerful and valuable differentiators for the best customer service focused companies.

Microsoft has blended Dynamics Service with it’s Azure services seamlessly, and is using the inbuilt Cognitive services inside Azure to analyse and interpret trends. This interpretation is then surfaced through a service of dashboards and interactive systems areas and delivers recommendations to the business that can streamline customer service further and identify drivers that improve first time resolutions for issues.

Intelligent BOT framework

In some companies and in some scenarios a BOT can intervene and be the first port of call for a customer when they interact with the service organisation through webchat.

CE4Microsoft has released an advanced technology that gives companies an advanced framework for automated conversations and responses with clients, giving customers quality support without always needing a human agent on the other end of the transaction.

Integrated CSAT and other related survey capabilities

A lot of companies use siloed survey tools to follow up and check satisfaction levels of the customer. Microsoft Dynamics 365 has a completely built-in capability to send a follow up survey to the customer, and then the business can use the response data to analyse the performance of the customer service organisation.

The survey engine is completely embedded inside Dynamics 365 and stores customer responses inside the customer profile.

In summary...

Over these 2 blogs on customer service I’ve highlighted the business imperative for quality customer support, the way that customers have changed and their expectations from the companies they work with.

Customers have much higher expectations for post sales service, and some modern companies have been able to deliver much higher standards of customer support, while other brands and vertical markets have not yet been able to make that transition.

Microsoft have delivered a set of capabilities inside the Customer Service functions in Dynamics CE that will undoubtedly give companies the ability to change for the better, and it’s now up to businesses to modernise.

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I’ve experienced large companies who have not been able to change move quickly from leadership positions to positions where revenues start to lag, as customers quickly move to more modern brands, and it’s clear to me that today’s world will not let technology laggards survive.

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