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Customer service goes “next-gen” with Microsoft CRM

Recently I had the opportunity to work with a customer who was looking to develop what they were referring to as “next-generation” customer service.  A long-time user of Clarify, this customer was looking to break from the mold of having application screens and forms drive their customer service workflow, and evolve their business to deliver more dynamic,  process-centric problem diagnosis and resolution for their products and services.

In the incident management space, workflow can be more than just: “Phone ringsè Service representative answers call è Service representative listens to customer complain è Service representative offers solution è Call ends è Service representative types notes into application”.  Often times – and in the case of this customer,  there are significant needs for problem diagnosis, collaboration amongst a group of engineers and even call escalation to a specific (certified expert) group of professionals.  It is in this area – process orchestration, collaboration and routing that Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 truly helps businesses work smarter and not harder to exceed customer service demands. The following is a list of their key requirements and how Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 helped them re-design their customer service needs:


Their “old-way” of doing business with application-driven processes

Their “new-way” of delivering service with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0

Service representative must have as few screens as possible running on their desktop.

Combination of Clarify, Outlook, SharePoint and Internet Explorer all open on the service agent’s desktop.

Microsoft Outlook 2003 with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. 

Incident management forms must be configurable to their business.

Custom coding and development onto the Clarify application to reflect their workflow.

2 tabs, 10 fields added to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 using System Customization; configuration performed in less than an hour.

Problem diagnosis engine needs to be driven dynamically from FAQ system

Static picklist fields depicting which steps to follow.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s embedded intelligence for Top KB articles by subject.

Call escalation system needs to search against skill sets and resource availability

Manual selection of users. No native intelligence for resource availability.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM workflow with custom assembly calling into Service Scheduling engine for skill-based and availability-based routing.

Integration with SAP for access to service contracts and entitlement

Custom developed integration.

Integration accelerated with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Real Time Integration Framework for Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006.

Detailed call reporting and incident management statistics

Custom developed reports – 1 report per each measure.

Dynamic Pivot reporting with Dynamics CRM 3.0 and Microsoft Excel 2003.

What I especially loved about working with this customer, was that every which way we bent their business requirements, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 had an answer for how we could address their desired system needs. In this case, the power of the system flexibility combined with the ease of customization and use, led to their selection of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, but more importantly, has this customer asking themselves this important question (and this is a direct quote):

“Now that we know Microsoft CRM will allow us to do just about anything we want it to, how should we be thinking about delivering service and optimizing our own business processes?”

The days of software package-oriented system design are over and Microsoft Dynamics CRM is leading the way to the “next-gen” business.

Bill Patterson