Written by: David Pennington
Empower your People and Reap the Rewards
In a previous post, we talked about the ways Microsoft Dynamics is reimagining business applications, by making the experience of using the applications more natural and more intuitive—by making the tools we use at work more like something people actually want to use. This week, I want to expand on another aspect of that vision, to focus on what those people are actually going to accomplish, and how reinventing your business applications can actually help your people engage more fully with your customers.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen dramatic changes in the sales cycle—in how and when your organization engages with your customers. Our sales tools need to reflect these changes. Traditional CRM is too focused on managing customer and the relationship; to stay ahead of the curve, we need to shift our attention to helping employees to engage with the customer, to build and strengthen the relationship. That means changing the way we think about CRM.
In the traditional model, CRM is a system of record: it tracks customer information and contact history, manages the sales pipeline, and enables detailed analysis of sales performance and customer data. This classic model certainly delivers value to the organization and enables us to better manage sales, marketing and customer care processes. That’s great for the managers and executives who see the big picture. Unfortunately, the people who feed the beast are not always on the receiving end of the value proposition. The CSRs and sales people who enter data and update or capture their contact histories rarely get more out of the system than they put in.
In the new world of work, we envision a system that adds value for the users, the people on the front lines—the people who are out there talking to your customers every day. We envision systems that are outcome-driven, focusing on results as much as data. Systems designed to help people actually accomplish the things they need to do. When we make this shift, we’re empowering our people to engage with customers—not just track and report on them. And that’s where the real value lies.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking to Melissa Singer, Director of Brand Extension, at Signature Flight Support. Melissa is someone who truly understands customer engagement and the value it can drive to the organization. And she understands how an organization like Signature Flight can use CRM to empower their people in the field to more fully engage with their customers.
Signature Flight built its business on the ability to provide world-class customer service. But when they set out to improve their customer satisfaction and customer loyalty scores, they started in-house: by empowering employees to engage more fully with customers and deliver a higher level of service than they could previously.
Singer knew she had the right people in place, and she needed to give them the right tools. After deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM, it was simply a matter of letting her team do what they do best. People across the country are using the data captured in CRM to improve the ways they interact with the pilots, passengers, and flight crews who use their service. By anticipating their needs and preferences, from fuel and maintenance requirements down to the pilots’ favorite snacks, Signature Flight empowers their representatives to deliver an unparalleled experience.
“I heard from our CSRs across the nation that their prayers had been answered,” recalls Singer. “With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, they were instantly more connected. They felt like a part of a team, like someone was out there enabling them to deliver a better service than they ever could on their own.” The results support this: Signature Flight’s customer loyalty scores have improved by nearly 20%, and the company regularly fields calls from customers asking to be added or reinstated to Signature Flight’s loyalty rewards programs.
Signature Flight is just one example of a company that recognizes the value of engagement—and of empowering its people to engage. Read about more companies that have seen the light, or learn more about how next generation CRM solutions from Microsoft Dynamics can help your organization.
Post originally written for Forbes.com: http://www.forbes.com/sites/microsoftdynamics/2012/12/12/from-customer-management-to-customer-engagement/