Editors at Microsoft News Center recently spoke with John Noel, CEO at MyAssist, to learn more about how Microsoft Dynamics CRM is helping the company transform the concierge industry.

Have you ever wished you could free up time by handing off some of your personal errands? In today’s busy world, many of us struggle to squeeze in day-to-day tasks such as making a restaurant reservation, finding the right veterinarian, or purchasing a gift.

That’s where MyAssist comes in. Started over a decade ago, MyAssist is a world-class mobile personal assistance, concierge, travel, and emergency medical assistance service. The company provides personal service to thousands of on-the-go individuals so they can concentrate on more important things in their lives. Customers simply place a call, email, or text asking for what they need, and MyAssist does the rest.

Over the years, an increasing number of customers have been signing on to MyAssist. Not only are individuals using it, but major companies are tapping into it as well. Ford Motor Company recently built the MyAssist service into its Ford SYNC voice-activated technology available in many North American Ford vehicles, providing operator assistance to millions of new customers overnight. In addition, Verizon Telematics uses MyAssist to provide real-time driving assistance and concierge services to Mercedes-Benz owners.

As demand for its services skyrocketed, MyAssist quickly outgrew its call center technology. The company needed a solution that could help it deliver world-class service, while keeping its prices affordable for customers.

MNC: How does a typical call center agent use Microsoft Dynamics CRM to serve MyAssist customers?

Noel: Let’s use a restaurant reservation as an example because that is a very common request we receive. When a customer calls us from New York City, their name will pop-up on the call center agent’s computer screen along with a map pinpointing their exact location, down to the cross-street they are standing on. If the customer wants a reservation at an Italian restaurant for 7:30 pm,  we’ll research restaurants based on the cuisine surrounding their location and complete the reservation.  If it’s a business meeting, the customer might want the back room. If it’s a romantic evening, they might want flowers on the table at arrival. If it’s for an engagement dinner, it might require special arrangements with the restaurant to hide a ring in a piece of cake or a glass of champagne. Our agents make sure we have all the details necessary to make it an unforgetable experience. MyAssist will then confirm with the restaurant and the customer to see if there are any last-minute changes. The entire case is documented and tracked using Microsoft Dynamics CRM. We have a record of every customer’s request history and can follow up as needed.

MNC: What technology were you using before and what were its limitations?

Noel:  Our old technology was a competitive CRM solution to Dynamics. One of the primary issues with the old CRM was instability. On a regular basis the system would crash, usually a few times each month, lowering our agents’ productivity. Scalability was an additional problem. We were adding so many new members that the previous system simply could not keep up. When a large company hired us, it might take days to add all of the new members to our system. Another limitation was customization. We didn’t have access to the code, and were not able to customize tools necessary to improve our efficiency.

MNC: Why did you choose Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

Noel: We evaluated all the major players on the market, and selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM for two major reasons. First, we could easily customize it to fit our needs. With Dynamics CRM we develop customized applications in-house to fit our internal needs or the specific requests of our customers. Our development team is trained in Microsoft Visual Studio and code in C#, which is what Microsoft Dynamics CRM is built on. Second, we had the option of deploying Dynamics CRM on-premises, while the other offerings we evaluated were cloud-based only. We wanted to deploy our software on-premises to improve the speed of our interactions with customers.

MNC: How is Microsoft Dynamics CRM helping your business?

Noel: For one thing, improved productivity. Dynamics CRM is more stable than our old system. Aside from routine maintenance and upgrades, it’s been up-and-running the entire time, keeping our agents always available. Another reason is the ability to add new members more quickly. With the old system, it took about six or seven seconds to upload each new customer. As a result, uploading a new company with 300,000 customers could take days. With Dynamics CRM, it takes less than an hour. After all, the bottom line is to provide astonishing service at a fraction of the time of our competitors.

MNC: How has Microsoft Dynamics improved the way you serve customers?

Noel: It’s empowering us to provide cutting-edge customer care. Our old system was cloud-based and we often had delays of 20 to 30 seconds before the call reached the agent. With Dynamics CRM, the customer’s information is available even before the customer starts talking. With any high-touch customer service solution, the first step is personalizing the customer experience, we do this by addressing our customer’s by name from the moment we start the call.

Most importantly, we’ve customized Dynamics to put the information our agents need to service the request at their fingertips. MyAssist handles a wide range of calls, from 411 emergency calls to arranging extravagant engagements, and these calls could be back-to-back. Everything the agent does, including all phone calls and follow-up tasks, are managed through Dynamics CRM. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is integrated with Microsoft SharePoint Server, which stores our knowledge base and rich profile about each customer. All of the information an agent needs about a customer is available right from within CRM. This allows our agents to really focus on the quality of interactions with customers.

MNC: What other benefits are you seeing?

Noel: Another benefit is that it’s easier to create customized reports. Our previous cloud-based system didn’t give us direct access to the back-end database so we weren’t able to write custom reports. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we can access the back-end data we need to generate the exact reports our clients are looking for.

Dynamics CRM helps us to responsively evaluate the quality of our service. Previously, we had to go through several steps when conducting our quality audit. That meant we completed fewer and it took longer to provide feedback to our agents. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM all the information is in one place. Managers can immediately access case notes and the phone calls recorded to complete their analysis, resulting in a more efficient feedback system. This ultimately improves the quality of service we can deliver to our customers.

MNC: How are the customization capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM helping your company?

Noel: We have eliminated agents switching back-and-forth between two different systems, just to get them the information they needed to help a customer. We’ve customized Dynamics CRM to include the customer’s personal profile and location on a map, making us more efficient. We have also built in a time-tracking feature into Dynamics CRM that allows our agents to allocate time working on tasks for customers or projects. Our business is all about speed and accuracy. Our ability to customize the CRM helps us with that.

MNC: How will Microsoft Dynamics CRM support your growth in the future?

Noel: One of the main reasons we selected Dynamics CRM is that we have innovations on the horizon that will help us revolutionize the service experience for our customers. Right now, our CRM contains in-depth profiles for each customer. We have projects under way that creatively utilize that data to enhance the customer experience. Microsoft will continue to play a big role in our technical solutions as we continue to grow.

To learn more, please watch the MyAssist video. Also, please visit the Microsoft Dynamics CRM website.