In engaging customers today, we need to be heard above the noise, and we need to deliver creativity and uniqueness to each customer in the moments that matter. Customers are looking for value and for companies to address their needs on their terms. Companies now can start with a deep understanding of their customers and then act on this information to engage them and make them feel like they have a one-to-one relationship with the company. This approach is going from competitive advantage to expectation. The old segment-based approach to marketing automation is no longer adequate. In today’s marketing world, we need event-triggered communications to engage customers with personalized experiences. This extends well beyond traditional marketing practices and permeates deeper into your company beyond marketing teams.
After months of anticipation, we are thrilled to announce that the new real-time customer journey orchestration capabilities in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing are now generally available to all businesses, beginning in select regions and rolling out worldwide in the months ahead.
Dynamics 365 Marketing is transforming the way both marketers and business users alike can elevate customer experiences, win customers, and earn their loyalty faster through personalized, real-time, customer-led interactions, all on a unified adaptable platform by making every interaction count.
“Creating an enterprise-wide common conversation that meets customers in their exact moment of need is core to a successful growth strategy. This is exactly what makes Customer Journey Orchestration in Dynamics 365 Marketing a compelling and important addition to the Dynamics suite. It is an intuitive solution to one of CX’s greatest challenges: learning from signals and responding beyond expectations,” —Liz Miller, Vice President and Principal Analyst of Constellation Research.
And Dynamics 365 Marketing experiences get even better as you also use Microsoft’s customer data platform, Dynamics 365 Customer Insights. Dynamics 365 Customer Insights makes it easy to unify customer data, augment profiles, and identify high-value customer segments. You can use profile and segment data in Dynamics 365 Customer Insights to fine-tune your targeting and further refine your journeys to drive meaningful interactions.
We’ve partnered with Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst, Rusty Warner, to create a webinar titled Customer Journey Orchestration: Make Every Interaction Count to frame this modern marketing landscape. It’s a must-see overview that lays the foundation to understanding changing customer expectations and how marketing technology must evolve to meet these needs.
We have several customers that are already using these capabilities to elevate experiences for their customers and transform their businesses. Here are some of their stories.
Starting with a deep understanding leveraging the power of data and AI
The European Forum Alpbach (EFA) is a platform that drives ideas for an empowered and democratic Europe. It brings together young people, leading scholars, thinkers, scientists, policymakers, business people, and civil society actors from Europe and from all over the world to engage and contribute to its mission of shaping a stronger Europe. EFA is an incubator of ideas and an initiator of action for the European continent.
Like many organizations, disconnected tools and processes inhibited EFA from interacting with members along the customer journeys they had envisioned. By using Dynamics 365 Marketing customer journey orchestration EFA was able to bridge the gap between their onsite and online customer experiences by pulling together those unconnected systems (i.e. CRM, payments, registrations, etc.) to create a complete end-to-end experience for their members.
“It’s fairly simple with this tool where we can trigger the communication to the user based on the actions they are taking such as processing a payment. We get data from different sources and based on this data, we can trigger actions in real-time. This is something that we couldn’t do before.” —Mario Nurderscher, CRM Architect & Development Partner, European Forum Alpbach.
Using real-time event triggers and AI-powered channel optimization, EFA was able to orchestrate and automate ticket purchasing for their members. When a member purchases a ticket, a journey is triggered that orchestrates that member’s experience, including confirmation emails, real-time updates, and offers during the conference, etc. It was easy to create one journey with individual outcomes based on the actions of each member.
Triggering journeys based on events to respond in moments that matter
Leatherman, the originator and category leader in high-quality multi-tools, pocket tools, and knives, sought a solution to meet their growing D2C (Direct to Consumer) communication needs. With the objective to curate a more personalized customer journey and to create user experience continuity with their online store, Leatherman leveraged Dynamics 365 Marketing customer journey orchestration to deliver an end-to-end welcome journey for their new customers.
“[the Journey designer] is straightforward and easy to use, with an intuitive workflow layout. We have flexibility to trigger our journeys in multiple ways from our website and our other Dynamics products, and products from other vendors. The journey can also react to customer activities in real-time.” —Liz Lee, IT Director, Leatherman Tool Group.
Using customer journey orchestration and Power Automate, the team at Leatherman was able to create a multi-touchpoint journey which allowed them to engage their customers across their commerce and marketing solutions using real-time custom events. This journey was executed every time a customer signed up or started to check out on their website. This allowed Leatherman to seamlessly activate new customers and to create opportunities for continued engagement along the way.
Hyper personalizing communications at scale to drive better outcomes
“When I first heard about CJO, I immediately thought about the potential efficiencies the product would offer. To say that I was exhilarated, would be an understatement. CJO in Dynamics 365 has allowed me to build significantly fewer segments and has automated deployments that used to take my team and I hours to do. Instead now, I get to spend that time focusing on what matters; mentoring volunteer leaders and getting our volunteers into the field.”—Dustin Lynch, Team Rubicon Sr. Associate, Operations Support Mobilization.
Team Rubicon is a veteran-led disaster response organization that serves communities before, during, and after disasters and humanitarian crises by mobilizing their network of nearly 150,000 volunteers who largely consist of first responders and veterans. In addition to responding to natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes, Team Rubicon has been leading vaccination efforts to help combat the COVID-19 crises.
The impact that nonprofit Team Rubicon has made in hundreds of disaster relief operations is life-changing for the people and communities they serve. The Microsoft stack and Dynamics 365 are at the core of their operations, and over the past three years, they have continued to innovate tech to support, scale, and drive their missions. Their latest tech innovation comes from the work they’re doing with Dynamics 365 Marketing customer journey orchestration.
“The ability to communicate with our volunteers based on detected changes in our data and based on their actions in real time provides a huge boost to our volunteer experience. Having these notifications orchestrated reduces staffing requirements and allows our mobilization and communications teams to focus on more important tasks.” —Ed Glover, Team Rubicon Technology Analyst.
By using real-time customer journey orchestration, Team Rubicon can not only re-confirm deployments, they can keep volunteers up to date with changing details such as meeting location, date or time updates. With CJO, they were able to reduce the overall number of segments maintained by 35 percent and reduce the human effort to build, send and monitor these notifications by as much as 8 hours per week. Team Rubicon is excited to expand the use of CJO to cover additional elements of their overall communications strategy.
Orchestrating journeys that go beyond marketing to deliver a congruous experience to customers
One of the existing Dynamics 365 customers that have been evaluating and using real-time customer journey orchestration since its preview release is HP. The team at HP clearly knows that customer care goes beyond support. It’s about connecting the various customer interactions into a single, holistic experience that delights customers.
To achieve this, HP wants to provide both enterprise customers and home consumers with exceptional customer service. The company is working to enhance its support experience with Dynamics 365 Marketing customer journey orchestration. By providing a more personalized experience, HP keeps the customer experience positive and builds lifetime loyalty, while also reducing support call times and lowering operational costs.
“With customer-led journey orchestration in Dynamics 365 Marketing, our agents can gain a real-time, 360-degree view of each customer and their support experience.” —Jibu Mathew, Project Manager, HP Inc.
With end-to-end journey orchestration, HP’s goal is to keep each customer informed throughout the customer support lifecycle. This is achieved by delivering a highly personalized and context-aware experience using multiple channels including SMS and email. As the customer’s support case proceeds towards resolution, the customer plus the case data are orchestrated in a unified, end-to-end journey. By bringing the customer and case data together, HP is able to deliver a consistent and highly integrated experience to their customers.
These are just a few examples of how businesses are evaluating and implementing solutions based on our new customer journey orchestration capabilities and how we are empowering customer experience-focused organizations to unleash the power of data and AI to deeply personalize customer communications so that every interaction counts in the moments that matter. When you build on our trusted and adaptable platform, the creativity and experience design possibilities are limitless and you can start using them today.
Learn more and get started
Join me over the next few weeks for a three-part blog series that will give us a deeper look into how businesses are already using customer journey orchestration and driving business value.
Until then, to learn more about how your organization can elevate your customer experiences, visit the Dynamics 365 Marketing webpage and sign up for a free trial to explore real-time customer journey orchestration and the other rich capabilities offered in Dynamics 365 Marketing.
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Celebrating many identities within a global community of impact: An Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month conversation
Srinivas Prasad Sugasani: It’s such fun to connect with you on Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. As Asians and Pacific Islanders, I feel that we have so much to celebrate. At the same time, as we think about some of the events and realities that we have navigated recently, I’m curious from your perspective,…
Srinivas Prasad Sugasani: It’s such fun to connect with you on Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. As Asians and Pacific Islanders, I feel that we have so much to celebrate. At the same time, as we think about some of the events and realities that we have navigated recently, I’m curious from your perspective, Jane, what do you feel is different about this past year?
Jane Hesmondhalgh: We’ve continued on our journey of working to create an inclusive culture at Microsoft. And there is still a gap between our aspired culture and everyone’s lived experiences today. For some, that gap may be small; for others it may be larger. But the fact that at Microsoft we have this value system we’re aspiring to is, I think, very much aligned to the Asian and Pacific Islander communities.
We’re consistently working toward respect, accountability and high integrity at Microsoft. I would say that our continued work to make progress is not so much different this year, but that we’re focusing even more effort on it.
Unfortunately, this past year we have seen the continued trend of acts of hate toward Asians globally. But the fact that Microsoft is strongly supporting the community in the face of those is super critical for the community. And that much-needed support is not a one-time event where we say something and then we’re on to the next thing. It’s the ongoing recognition that acts against violence, injustice and inequities across the world are unacceptable.
SPS: That’s right. We’ve also been focused on community education in the wake of this alarming rise in acts of hate and violence — how the community can leverage safety practices, and how can we work with the local government communities to increase safety.
JH: Our Inclusion Council has also been really engaged in these discussions. Other examples of sustained commitment to the community include the events we’ve done to engage with external experts in ongoing learning such as Microsoft Include, and of course the support of our Asians at Microsoft Employee Resources Group (ERG). I have heard from the community specifically that one of the most powerful things they’ve attended this year are our community calls, where people have had the opportunity to talk through how they’re feeling with others who may have experienced similar things.
SPS: Based on what we heard from our community, we’ve also been increasingly focused on how we strengthen and support the advancement of the ERG and its members at the company. I am really proud of how we’ve been working with outside experts on leadership development across the company, all the way from entry-level employees to the most senior in the company. This is the kind of year-round investment that is directly benefiting the community.
JH: I’m so passionate about this piece — the leadership education for Asians and Pacific Islanders. When I started as the sponsor for the Asians ERG, that was the No. 1 feedback, that the community wanted unique and tailored leadership education.
As we know, there are 4.7 billion people in this broad community across the world. Asians and Pacific Islanders make up 60% of the world population. That really strikes me. Because within that, there are so many different perspectives. So, a question for you is, how do we ensure that different types of conversations and perspectives from the entire community are brought in?
SPS: As you said — 60% of the global population! And we are trying to represent diversity within the community at that scale. It’s actually one of our strategic pillars in our ERG — including all community members. I think we’re doing a really good job with that. The leadership team has ensured that we include many voices, and as a result of that diversity of thought, we’ve seen new steps and actions being taken. For example, we had an Asians ERG art exhibition. We had a day of remembrance where people could talk about their practices, cultures, ancestors. We had a stand-up comedy event. And we’ve focused specifically on women inventors. Those are just a few examples.
So, focusing on the many dimensions of identity within our global community ensures that we can all share our experiences and learn from each other.
JH: This leads me to reflect on the word “community” and what does that mean? With a global team located all over the world, how do we bring everybody together in a sense of community? At Microsoft the community is a combination of people, cultures and beliefs. So, I think that community piece is our connection to the history across the Asia Pacific region. Within this vast land mass, we can appreciate and understand the differences and uniqueness of the people in the sub-communities and societies. We talked earlier about Microsoft’s culture and values. I think one thing that helps us is that Asian values around integrity and respect are very similar to the company’s. And then of course we go beyond respect to actually celebrating our cultures. Each of our ERG chapters and groups, each culture, is a contribution that is valuable to the world.
And these values are actually critical for the work ahead, right? This year, next year and beyond, we want to tackle the biggest problems that divide us as a society. And we’ve got that microcosm of society within our Asian and Pacific Islander community. We can play a huge role in landing the mindset of interconnectivity and learning both within and outside the company. Each person must be committed to driving positive change, be more intentionally inclusive in the workplace and build our empathy. With this, we can build momentum to meet the challenges of the world.
SPS: Well said Jane. As you’re speaking, I’m thinking about my own personal journey as well. Part of my life I lived on a farm in a small village. I experienced a community there where everybody looked like me, spoke like me with a very similar kind of language. When I lived in various cities, that was the first time I’d experienced people looking like me but speaking different dialects.
And then when I started working on a multinational level, I encountered people who had such a range of cultural differences from me. What I’ve learned is whether it is living in a village, in a small community or at the global level, human values remain the same. I’ve realized more recently that as things become more complex, more turbulent, and we do not know what future will hold, the constant is the values that we all stand for. And that is true across the Asian and Pacific Islander communities, and all across Microsoft and our nine ERGs and many dimensions of identities.
JH: You know, I never thought about it in this way but because you shared a little bit about your own background, I’ll share something about when we moved from the U.S. back to the U.K. In his new school, my son felt left out, and suddenly struggled with questions around “I am British, but do they think I am American or Chinese?” He didn’t feel that sense of belonging, and all these new questions of identity came up which he held to himself. Things did get better, but it reminds me that it’s all of our responsibility to help each other understand that while people are different, everybody has something to offer. People need to feel like they’re valued and that they can contribute without being judged.
SPS: It is so true. Thank you for sharing that. Are there any misperceptions about the Asian and Pacific Islander community that you would like to address?
JH: I’ve heard people say things like, gosh Asians are good at math and science, and they have an easier entry to STEM fields and occupations. I don’t know that I would ever categorize it as easier or not easier. There are many Asians who are not good at math and science, right? It’s a generalization, and there are a lot of these.
Another misconception is that because the Asian population is large, there are a lot of Asian leaders. But actually, the statistics have shown that we’re the least likely of all racial groups to become managers and executives. We need more role models and pathways to that senior level, which is where those development efforts we spoke about earlier come in. And of course, some other misconceptions came up during the pandemic around Chinese people.
So again, what combats these types of misconceptions and harmful stereotypes is learning and building our understanding and empathy for one another.
SPS: I absolutely agree. We will continue this work with the Microsoft communities and our leadership. I look forward to the impact we will make in the coming year. Thank you so much, Jane, for the chance to have this conversation. I look forward to our celebrations and recognition this month!
JH: Thank you, Srinivas! Happy Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!
3 ways to turn your field service operation into a revenue-generating machine
For decades, companies have relied on skilled technicians to repair equipment and engage with customers in the field. While these technicians were often the only representation that the customer would see, their skills, processes, and systems were seldom seen as critical aspects of the company’s revenue cycle. Until recently, many field technicians or field service…
For decades, companies have relied on skilled technicians to repair equipment and engage with customers in the field. While these technicians were often the only representation that the customer would see, their skills, processes, and systems were seldom seen as critical aspects of the company’s revenue cycle. Until recently, many field technicians or field service teams were merely thought of as necessary cost centers. But like other parts of the organization, even the cost centers must learn to innovate and discover additional revenue–generating opportunities.
Field service is the process of organizing and managing work tasks that need to be completed at a particular location, usually a customer site. The field service process often includes many variables and can be quite complex. It encompasses dispatching, scheduling, skills matching, and route optimization, to name a few. Many people have been in a situation where they’re expected to wait all day for a technician because they’ve been given a broad arrival window time between the hours of 8 AM and 4 PM. Well, that’s field service—albeit, a rather inefficient model.
As the field service domain evolves, companies are learning their inefficiencies in the field can quickly cost them revenue as customer satisfaction is negatively impacted and the lifetime value of their customers decreases. And while companies across all industries are realizing the extended costs of inefficient field service operations, those that are innovative have begun to understand how to also leverage field service to generate more revenue. Cost reductions by becoming more efficient can be great, but reducing costs while increasing revenue is pure gold.
Here are three ways to drive revenue through your field service operations and how Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service can help create efficiencies.
1. Lead generation
This may sound odd primarily because lead generation has always been a staple of marketing and sales operations. But who else gets to know your customers better than your field technicians? Here’s a quick personal story:
After a recent move, I called several internet service providers. For starters, I selected the provider that could deliver service in the least amount of time. Upon arrival, the technician asked about other services, particularly mobile phone service. Since I had a different mobile phone carrier, he said they have specials and asked if I would be interested in hearing them. Shortly after confirming my interest and completing my internet installation, a field salesperson knocked on my door and converted me over to their mobile plan. A lead generated and a sale transacted—all originating from the field technician’s simple question.
Field technicians are skilled workers that often have a series of tasks needed to complete the service. By simply including a question or by noting a specific item on their task list, a Microsoft Power Automate flow can be triggered to automatically create a lead and route it to the sales team. This creates a qualified lead for the sales team and a cross-sell revenue opportunity for the company.
2. Expanding business units: Field Service-as-a-Service
To truly turn your field service operations into a revenue generator, the current operation must become efficient. Efficiency requires innovation; that is, innovation of processes, system platforms, and people. When it comes to field service operations, it’s safe to say not all organizations innovate at the same pace and some prefer not to innovate at all. This is where your innovation and efficiencies can become a revenue-generating asset.
For example, a large healthcare facilities provider began as a facilities management operation. They provided facilities management services to the vast and growing network of healthcare providers. Continuing to innovate and drive efficiencies with Dynamics 365 Field Service, the healthcare facilities provider quickly recognized the value they could bring to other healthcare provider networks and began offering their services to other hospitals. By leveraging their efficiencies, they were able to provide great value to more than 160 hospitals which allows their customers to create better patient experiences. The healthcare facilities provider is a great example of how field service efficiencies were used to create a revenue-generating business unit.
3. Connected Field Service: leverage data
Connected Field Service leverages IoT data collected from device sensors and integrates with Dynamics 365 Field Service to create a new revenue-generating service model. Connected Field Service allows organizations to graduate from the traditional break-fix service model to a proactive and predictive service model. This shift creates opportunities for organizations to market and sell new service offerings that yield greater revenue and increase margin.
A connected field service example is a Pacific Northwest mechanical contractor company. The organization specializes in developing energy-efficient buildings. However, by capturing the data from IoT sensors, their connected field service solution enables them to offer post-construction optimization services. IoT sensors capture a building’s energy levels and proactively dispatches a service technician prior to failure—thus, ensuring operational efficiency within their customers’ facilities. Building on their efficiencies, they can conserve and reduce travel costs by performing remote inspections and service with Dynamics 365 Remote Assist. Such efficiency creates opportunities to sell more advanced support offerings thereby increasing revenue and profitability.
Learn more about Dynamics 365 Field Service
The good news is that becoming more efficient in field service operations can be extremely valuable to your organization. The better news is that through innovation, field service operations can even be transformed into a revenue-generating machine.
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