I had the opportunity to attend the eXtreme CRM conference this week in Las Vegas, NV. The first of a series of blog posts, I will recap my activities and observations during the conference. You can also take a look at my quasi-live tweeting of my conference experience at http://twitter.com/crmhobbit. Continue reading “eXtreme CRM Recap – Day 1”
I watched J.J. Abrams’s talk on TED.com today and his topic was “The Mystery Box”. It really captured my attention merely because of the word “mystery”…and well, it’s J.J. Abrams. He talked about how he and his grandfather would go to Lou Tannen’s Magic Shop in New York City when he was a child. While he was at this store with his grandfather he bought Tannen’s Mystery Magic Box. It was only $15 and it contained $50 worth of magic. A clear bargain, right? He never opened the box and still keeps it in his office today, enjoying the mystery. What he loves about the box is that it represents not only his memory of his grandfather, but the “infinite possibility, that sense of potential.”
His TED talk was only about 20 minutes long, but I immediately began to see parallels between his Mystery Box and Dynamics CRM. The Dynamics CRM platform is so extensible, the true capabilities of an implementation are left only to the imagination and the creativity (not to minimize time/budget constraints) of the implementation team.
In movies and television, the “Mystery Box” is the paper that the script is written upon or the computer that the CGI animation is conceived. Ours is the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform.
It is often quite simple to check off a task denoting a requirement met with out of box functionality. However, it is also often just as simple to enable an entire business process while meeting numerous requirements just as easily. Each implementation is itself its own “Mystery Box”, waiting to be opened to find out what is inside. Tools such as workflow, dialogs, custom activities, activity feeds and everything else that can be unlocked with the SDK are sitting in that box, waiting to be discovered.
So, I challenge you…have you had a situation where you effectively “opened the Mystery Box” and provided some incredible customer value or is that “Mystery Box” still sitting in your office, waiting to be opened?
Next Week: Creating an application for services using dialogs
I celebrated the 10th anniversary of the XBOX this week by playing and completing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (on Veteran difficulty…just sayin’). As I repelled the seemingly endless waves of the fictitious rogue Russian Army throughout Europe, a couple of achievements popped-up on screen after completing a level. That made me think…while the achievement does slightly inflate my ego and provide a brief, albeit unwarranted, sense of accomplishment, it also tells me that I am playing the game correctly.
So, I thought, it stands to reason that a similar tactic could be taken when it comes to CRM implementations. No, I am not saying that users get “achievements” when they successfully track an e-mail or complete a task…(although that would be kind of cool) but there are ways within CRM to provide users with cues, both visual and process based to inform them of successful use of the system. This can provide an easier path to higher user adoption for the new or hesitant CRM user. Some examples include Dashboards, Dialogs, Notifications and Color coding indicators.
Dashboards provide insight to management on business KPIs such as an Opportunity
pipeline reporting, which clients have received touch points, or case distribution by subject area. When combined with Goals, they open a window into a users success working in CRM. User based metrics can motivate a new CRM user to higher adoption levels based on a feeling of accomplishment and overall user value. These metrics can also provide training and support areas the ability to analyze negative usage trends that could lead to training opportunities to improve user adoption.
Dialogs provide the ability for users to update CRM records through an on-screen prompt and response mechanism. This improves the chances for more accurate data collection as users are directed to what information is required and how to enter it correctly. Tips on best practices or corporate procedures can also be included within the pages of the prompt and response. For new CRM users who may feel intimidated by the sheer number of fields available within a contact record, for example, dialogs cut right to the specific needs of the business process. This reduces the feeling that CRM “wastes time” or working in it can be a hassle. Also, dialogs can launch processes to automate follow up actions or workflow based on the prompt and response page input.
Notifications are available natively through the CRM Outlook client for appointments, tasks and phone calls that a user is assigned within CRM. However, these notifications are simply reminders to take the action. CRM also allows for custom notifications such as e-mails sent to the user to inform them that an activity has been assigned, approval is required, or a phase of a sales process within an opportunity has been completed. These notifications can contain links to underlying activities or detailed process information. How you choose to notify your users about actions is limited only to your imagination.
Color coded indicators
Adding color indicators to CRM provide users immediate feedback on the status of a record or the result of actions taken on the record. Gonzalo Ruiz has written a great article on his blog on a few methods for adding color to the CRM experience.
In summary, Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides a rich platform to not only support your relationship management initiatives, but do so in a manner that enables your sales force and support staff to achieve more.