With the commoditisation of products and services and the ability to switch between financial services providers easier than ever, delivering excellent customer service time after time is one of the few ways businesses can still distinguish themselves in this industry. Ninety five percent of senior business leaders say that customer experience is the next competitive battle ground and it’s easy to see why. Eighty nine percent of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience, according to a report by Oracle, but 86 percent of consumers will pay more for a better customer experience. Consumers are growing ever more demanding and ever less loyal, wanting an excellent experience on whichever channel they choose and quickly switching providers if the service is found wanting. Boosting front-end and back-end efficiency to provide unparalleled customer service, therefore, is becoming a crucial part of differentiating your business, increasing your sales and retaining your customers. Legacy and siloed business systems, however, prevent your employees from seamlessly engaging with customers and lack the ability to provide real-time visibility of your customer interactions and business operations. Marrying together efficiency and customer experience requires a unified business architecture. Putting customers at the heart of the business Customer experience and efficiency are two sides of the same coin; making your business more efficient gives you the ability to deliver excellent customer service. And, to make it more efficient, you need to place the customer at the heart of your business. Metro Bank, the first new high-street bank in 150 years, for instance, empowers its employees with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Office 365 and Yammer to deliver the personalised interactions that define and distinguish the business. But, more than this, these applications allow the bank to identify best practices in one branch and implement them across all locations. Equipping its employees with unified, collaborative tools and focussing its efforts on the customer, Metro Bank boosts both efficiency and customer experience. Improving efficiency and customer experience isn’t just part of the business, it is the business and this means more than just satisfying the customer; they need to be delighted every time. Focus This requires, as Deloitte puts it, a much-needed ‘shift from a mass‑market approach to micro‑segmentation.’ Rather than trying to recreate the same experience for every single customer, businesses need to use information about customers’ past interactions and preferences to segment their customer base in order to focus their efforts and tailor their service more closely to each customer’s needs. Not only does this allow you to engage seamlessly with your customers across multiple channels, it also increases efficiency by prioritising the most promising and profitable customers. Integrated business applications, like Microsoft Dynamics CRM and AX, put customer and operational information at your fingertips, giving you real-time visibility of your business and allowing you to react with the right information at the right time. Better data, better decisions This easily accessible data also breaks down ineffective internal information silos. Unified core business systems give you a single digital source of truth, eliminating the errors and cost – in both time and money – of the paper trail and encouraging collaboration and innovation in the business. Furthermore, the insights from this single source allow you to view the customer experience from the outside in. Rather than asking ‘what can we sell to the customer?’, you should be asking ‘what does the customer want?’ The companies that put their information to work in this way and deploy the right technology to propel efficiency and create exceptional customer experiences will stay competitive and continue to realise tangible business results. Customer experience leaders outperform the industry average by 22.5 percent, according to Watermark Consulting, while laggards underperform by 46.3 percent. Ultimately, an integrated business architecture means smarter, faster and more strategic decision making, keeping your company agile and your customers happy. Technology that means business The most competitive companies know that efficiency and customer experience go hand in hand. Blackstone Wealth Management, switching to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, reduced its annual CRM licensing costs by £5,000, enhanced its client interaction through consistent communication across multiple channels, boosted the productivity of its advisers with work flows and automation of administrative tasks and liberated IT from time-consuming workaday maintenance to focus on long-term strategic issues. Microsoft Dynamics lets you spend less time managing your technology and more time using it to delight customers, drive efficiency and produce real business value. Find out more here!