What’s new in the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and how can you use it to get closer than ever to your customers? Cassandra Whobrey, CRM Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft UK, gives us her unique insight on ‘uniting with your customers’. Your customer relationship management (CRM) software should work for you, not against you. After all, it’s there to help you get closer to your customers. This is why we’ve researched how people actually use it – we want to help employees focus their attention on giving people a great customer experience. For us, this means giving users the right information in the right format at the right time. If you think about the apps you love on your phone and tablets, you’ll see a new way of thinking about software. There are apps that make our lives better by giving us exactly the information we need: the time of the next express train at Reading station or the latest update from your best friend. You don’t get that experience from long lists and data tables. You get it from software that prioritises the information you need and gives it to you in a format that makes sense. We want CRM to be like this and we’ve simplified the design, improved the workflows, added mobile versions for Surface tablets and, yes, iPhones and iPads. We’ve also integrated it with Yammer to give people an online version of the water-cooler chat and real time intelligence that salespeople thrive on. Getting closeCRM in isolation is never going to give a customer a great experience. But used in combination with the right people and processes it’s a very powerful tool. One of our customers, Eyeful Presentations, are a great example of the way that Dynamics CRM can help maintain customer intimacy. The founder left a larger firm because he wanted to have a more personal relationship with his customers. Because the business was successful, the company attracted more and more customers until there were too many to keep it all in his own head and there were too many employees to support a one-to-one relationship with customers. So CRM lets the company keep track of every customer interaction. The software plays the role of an organisational memory, so that every contact with the customer stayed personal and well-informed, replicating and scaling the founder’s original approach. Scalable personalisationDynamics CRM 2013 takes this kind of personal relationship to the next step. For example, when an employee has an interaction with a customer, it might suggest what to do next: upselling a product, capturing a key piece of contact information or reminding the customer about an important deadline. It uses a combination of data analytics and workflows to add intelligence to CRM and make sure that customers feel like they’re getting a personalised service without having to endless repeat the same information on every contact. It can pull in data from online interactions as well as in-person or contact centre meetings to give a joined-up history for each customer. If you think about every annoying phone call you’ve ever had with a company, this approach makes a lot of sense because it promises a more intelligent alternative. People and processesWhat often hampers CRM adoption is the difficulty of entering information into the system. It can’t be a chore or else people won’t use it and a CRM database is only as good as the quality of the information entered into it. With this in mind, we’ve made it easier than ever to add new information in Dynamics CRM 2013. For example, one new feature called Quick Create lets you add a note, lead or contact without interrupting your flow. It’s like a Post-it note for CRM. Too often, when it comes to selecting CRM software, people look at functionality without also evaluating the user experience. The interface matters a great deal in the rough and tumble of everyday life. Saving users a few minutes every day can mean the difference between a CRM system that really delivers for the business and a white elephant. Being authenticOrganisations need to be authentic. You can't pretend and you can't fake it. Get it badly wrong and it’s all over the internet before you have a chance to put things right. This is why CRM systems are becoming more and more important – they ensure a more consistent and a higher level of service. The right CRM amplifies the personality of a business and the people who work there, making the service more intimate, holistic and profitable. CRM is a tool to bring your employees and your customers together; uniting them to create a better shared experience. This is the vision that motivates us and inspires Dynamics CRM. Is your Customer experience simple, intuitive, personal and connected? Learn how successful organisations get it right and join us in November for a unique perspective on delivering amazing customer experiences with insight from guest speaker Ellis Watson, CEO of DC Thomson, the Scottish media group. Join us to see how Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 changes the way people connect to get work done. There are three UK events with commercial and also a public sector focus, so please Register today! We look forward to seeing you there.