PowerObjects Awarded 2019 Microsoft Global Partner of the Year… Twice!

In today’s blogpost, we’re sharing some very exciting news. On June 6, 2019, Microsoft announced their Partner of the Year winners and finalists. We are proud to report that we won two awards and were a finalist for a third. Please check out our press release here: PowerObjects Takes Home Multiple 2019 Global Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards.

We were named the global 2019 Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Service Partner of the Year!

The Dynamics 365 for Customer Service Partner of the Year Award recognizes a Microsoft partner that excels at providing innovative and unique customer solutions based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Service. It demands demonstrated business leadership and consistent customer success, with strong growth in new customer additions and cloud revenue while maintaining and growing the existing customer base. See our press release here: PowerObjects recognized as Winner of 2019 Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Service Partner of the Year.

We were also named Microsoft’s global 2019 Financial Services Partner of the Year!

The Financial Services Partner of the Year Award recognizes a Microsoft partner organization that excels at providing innovative and unique services or solutions based on Microsoft technologies to Financial Services customers, demonstrating thought leadership in their industry. It requires demonstrated business leadership and success through strong growth in new customer additions and revenue by leveraging the latest Microsoft technology as the solution platform.   See our press release here: PowerObjects recognized as Winner of 2019 Microsoft Financial Services Partner of the Year.

We were also named a Finalist for the Business Applications PowerApps Partner of the Year!

This award recognizes a partner that excels at providing innovative and unique IP built on top of the Microsoft Business Applications platform (Dynamics 365, CDS, PA, etc.). Winners must have demonstrated success on a global scale by providing industry specific solutions that help customers transform their business in this digital age. Nominees will also need to demonstrate a proven track record of cloud business growth driving not just driving platform sales in addition to their own solutions but also Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Flow, Power BI solutions, and other value-adding Azure services provided by Microsoft.

Forgive us for patting ourselves on the back for one blogpost but this is really huge news and a true testament to the innovation and quality of work PowerObjects provides for our clients! Our blog will resume normal programming tomorrow…

Happy Dynamics 365'ing!

A Tour of Our Partner of the Year Awards

Last week, we posted about the recent announcement from Microsoft that PowerObjects has been recognized with two 2019 global Partner of the Year Awards:

In today’s post, we thought we’d share a couple of examples of some of our Financial Services and Customer Service work!

Dynamics 365 for Customer Service: Sovereign Housing Association

With 56,000+ homes and 130,000+ customers and tenants, Sovereign is one of the largest housing associations in the U.K. They recently initiated a digital transformation strategy that included the implementation of modern, customer-focused, and scalable technology. Specifically, they sought a technology solution that would enhance the customer service being provided in the contact center, improve the tenancy management capabilities of the housing offices, and create efficiencies across all customer interactions. At the heart of the project was partnering with PowerObjects to deploy Dynamics 365.

Implementing Dynamics 365 was the obvious starting point, but the partnership between Sovereign and PowerObjects was especially focused on integrating Dynamics 365 with Sovereign’s multiple websites to introduce self-help options and enable tenants to fully engage in the management of their own homes.

https://powerobjects.wistia.com/medias/9331jflcr4?embedType=async&videoFoam=true&videoWidth=350

Learn more here:  Sovereign Customer Success Story

Financial Services: Moneris Solutions

Moneris Solutions Corporation (Moneris) is Canada’s largest processor of credit, debit, wireless, and online payment services for merchants in virtually every industry segment. They process more than three billion transactions annually. With more than 350,000 merchant locations throughout Canada, Moneris provides the hardware, software, and systems needed for organizations to improve business efficiencies and manage payments.

Moneris identified that their legacy ticket management system lacked the ability to scale into a full-fledged CRM. Their customer service representatives required more efficient processes and their knowledge base was not integrated into their other systems.

Through a partnership with PowerObjects, Moneris now uses Dynamics 365 for case management, field work order creation, approval management, customer notifications, marketing campaigns, sending surveys, social listening, knowledge articles, Unified Service Desk, and more. Since deploying Dynamics 365, they have seen a 4% reduction in average handle times and a 5% increase in first call resolution.

Read the full story here: Moneris Customer Success Story

We will continue striving to deliver robust end-to-end solutions – like Sovereign and Moneris – that make PowerObjects worthy of our dual Partner of the Year status. Maybe your organization is next?

Happy D365’ing!

Delivering a Better Customer Experience with Dynamics 365

As the customer service industry transforms, consumer behavior is driving that transformation, challenging companies to shift the way they interact with customers. It’s now more important than ever to provide excellent service to increase customer loyalty. A great way to approach building an effective customer experience strategy is by working with the right tools!

Provide an Amazing Customer Experience

How you interact with your customers matters. As technology evolves so do the needs of our customers. Microsoft’s stack of applications provide a unified platform that enables users to engage with customers, empower employees, and improve service levels and responsiveness. What impact do you have on your customers? Watch our video to learn how you can achieve a superior customer experience with Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Improving the Customer Experience through Service Innovation

Today’s customers are more informed and connected than ever before, and the balance of power has shifted. When it comes to relationships between customers and businesses—the customer is in control and the number of channels that customers use to engage with businesses is increasing. Providing top-notch customer service is more important than ever. Download this white paper to learn more. 

customer experience

D365 In Focus: The USD Accelerator

Have you heard of USD (Unified Service Desk)? Well, it's a fantastic configuration based framework that allows us to create applications that addresses specific needs in contact centers but can sometimes take quite a bit of development time. In this Dynamics 365 In Focus, we explain how the USD Accelerator can provide benefits to your business quicker with standard out of the box configurations. Watch the video to learn more!

Red Door Company Customer Success Story

What does customer services success with Microsoft Dynamics look like? Red Door Company uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM and PowerObjects’ suite of PowerPack add-ons to centralize their customer data, manage leads, streamline their customer feedback process, and ensure responsive customer service. Watch their success story:

Customers want quick, relevant answers across multiple channels, even on the go. If you’re having trouble with aging technology, inefficient systems, and long on-boarding processes, it’s time to reevaluate your solution. Get back on track with Dynamics 365 for Customer Service, a solution designed to reduce maintenance costs, improve user-adoption, integrate seamlessly with existing technologies, and provide an efficient means of accessing data.

Here are a few more blogs to help you explore customer experience trends and strategy:

If you're ready to begin your customer service journey, our team of experts can help! Through the power of the Microsoft stack and Dynamics 365, we help you achieve customer service excellence. Learn more and contact us today!

Happy Dynamics 365'ing!

Common Call Center Metrics for Dynamics 365

Customer Service is an ever-expanding opportunity for growth and enhancement. As competition increases, often the difference between two similar products is simply brand loyalty. Identifying methods to improve a customer's experience can be the dividing line between a lost consumer and a customer for life.

Discover More: Five Ways to Innovate Your Business to Improve Customer Experience

However, identifying the proper metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) is not always intuitive when implementing the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service module. Often our clients ask, "Where do we start?" or "What do other companies do?" when starting this process. It is important to initially develop a set of baseline metrics, so that as the Customer Service needs mature the organization has a quantifiable grasp on the workstreams in place.

Here are some common baseline KPIs used in Customer Service implementations, along with brief explanations as to how they can impact your organization.

Case Duration

Case Durations calculates the total time it took to resolve a case from inception to completion. This can provide insight into the various complex case types and expose opportunities for training.

Note: A custom entity is often used in conjunction with a plugin to write this data to the entity. Additional reporting tools are likely required to display the results in legible format.

Average Case Handle Time (ACHT)

This measures the median time a case was open until it was resolved. This metric provides a comparative result that can be tracked over time. ACHT can be useful for quick analysis, however lengthy scenarios where the organization is waiting on customers and/or 3rd parties can skew this metric.

Note: Calculating and displaying this metric relies on the use of the Case Duration metric and requires additional reporting services like Power BI or SSRS.

Case Volume by Inquiry Type

This is a simple summation of all cases within a specific period, sorted by Inquiry Type. This will aid in identifying when drastic changes in customer inquiries. This is often helpful at a macro level, allowing leadership to obtain a bird's eye view of service activity. Reporting on inquiry types that permeate across lines of business help to uncover operational issues when transitioning a case.

Case Count by Status

Measures the various states in which cases reside in real-time. Understanding Case Status counts will aid in determining CER workload, defining capacity and anticipating volume.

Case Count by Origin

Calculates the total number of cases over time by the method of input. This KPI reflects the various ways that customers are interacting with an organization. Examining this metric should provide awareness into the customer's preferred methods of interaction, ability to adjust talent allocation and identify opportunities to automate.

Case Count by Status Reasons

Provides a detailed description of what is currently occurring with a case, aside from simply Active, Resolved or Canceled. Summarizing this data allows for a comprehensive assessment of the overall workload for an organization and offers forecasting opportunities.

Measuring these aspects of your Customer Service center offers an opportunity to obtain normal baseline parameters within your organization. The diagram below indicates the iterative analysis process involved in developing KPIs. Once a baseline has been established, areas for operational improvement should readily present themselves. After the initial set of KPIs are established, the service center should be prepared to move onto more complex KPIs and to perhaps begin to track Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

call center metrics

You can learn more about Dynamics 365 for Customer Service here!

Happy Dynamics 365'ing!

Using Customization Files for Deploying Custom Code

When using USD in a CRM implementation there is a lot we can accomplish using configuration and out-of-the-box hosted controls, but in implementations that are more complex, we often find ourselves utilizing custom hosted controls to get the job done.

Often these custom hosted controls are comprised simply of ".dll" libraries but sometimes we may need other files or dependencies. In the past, we would have to deploy these files using some distributed installer or script to copy the dependencies into each user's USD install folder, but no longer!

customization files

There's gotta be an easier way!

Now with Customization File records we can easily distribute and update custom controls and functionality to our agent's machines.

To create one, let's navigate to Settings > Unified Service Desk > Customization Files and create a new record.

customization files

Customization Files, like any other USD configuration, are records in Dynamics 365 and should be associated with a USD Configuration record. We can track the version number using the version field, as we increment this number, the cached controls will be overwritten on the user's machine.

Next, let's prepare the attachment which will contain our files to distribute. This is a zip file consisting of the files we want to distribute and a "Content Types" file describing what file types should be extracted from the zip.

So, gather your files and create a new file with them named "[Content_Types].xml" which should contain XML like the following:

[Code snippet]

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

<Types >

<Default Extension="dll" ContentType="application/octet-stream" />

<Default Extension="config" ContentType="application/octet-stream" />

<Default Extension="css" ContentType="application/octet-stream" />

</Types>

[Code snippet]

Each child of the "Types" element will describe a file type which should be extracted. The above Content Types XML will cause any files ending in .dll, .config, or .css to be extracted. After creating this file, place it in the same folder as the files that you wish to distribute and then zip them up with your favorite archive tool.

customization files

Finally, attach this zip file to the previously created Customization File.

customization files

Now when our users start USD, it will pull down, extract, and cache these files in their Local AppData folder at the following location: C:/Users/<UserName>/AppData/Local/Microsoft/UnifiedServiceDes/<OrgUniqueName>/<GUID>/

customization files

That's all there is to it!

For more helpful Dynamics 365 tips and tricks, subscribe to our blog!

Happy Dynamics 365'ing!

Customers Can Make or Break Your Brand, the Proof is in the Numbers

As the customer service industry transforms, consumer behavior is driving that transformation, challenging companies to shift the way they interact with customers and the proof is in the numbers.

Did you know that 96% of global consumers say that customer service is important in their choice of, and loyalty to a brand? So how can brands meet these new expectations? Check out this infographic to see the facts on why brands are putting a focus on their customers and team members, and the technology that will empower everyone to have better experiences. Click here to view the infographic!

customers

Now that you have the numbers, how does your organization stack up? If you need to reevaluate your solution, get back on track with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Service.

Reach out to us today to see how we can help organizations deliver superior levels of service to their customers by leveraging the Dynamics 365 for Customer Service platform.

Happy Dynamics 365'ing!

See the KPIs that Dynamics 365 is Generating for Moneris

Moneris has 600 users on Microsoft Dynamics 365, managing the customer experience from onboarding and post-sale, to call center and field service interactions. Beyond the customer-facing roles, which make up about half of their end users, Moneris also uses Dynamics 365 for some of their back-office and risk management teams. This ensures that all customer information is tracked and managed in one system. We sat down with Allan Measor, Vice President, Business Transformation and Customer Enablement at Moneris to hear about their experience.

Moneris overview:

Why did you choose to start using Dynamics 365 for all new support inquiries immediately following the implementation?

"For a short time, we ran our old ticket system as a reference tool alongside Dynamics 365. We analyzed our old ticket data, and over 80% of our inquiries were one and done, with 90% solved in a week or less. Because of this, we chose not to import our old tickets. In terms of data migration into Dynamics 365, we imported standard items like customer company data, name, address, account numbers, email address, phone numbers, all key payment device data, and work order information. We also authored over 1,900 knowledge articles into Dynamics 365 for reference."

Why did you choose to be on the Cloud?

"Our legacy systems tended to take longer in terms of features and updates, so the idea that Cloud solutions get features firsts, thereby empowering our organization to be more current, was appealing to us. We also could avoid costly infrastructure investments and gain reliability and redundancy when on the cloud."

Why did you choose Dynamics 365 for your CRM platform?

"Since we were already using Office 365, our team members were able to easily adjust to the Dynamics 365 and our customers now receive a seamless experience because of our investment in the Microsoft stack. The value of Microsoft's Canadian data center, the feature richness of Dynamics 365, and the ease of integration into our existing technology footprint were key deciding factors for us."

Why did you choose PowerObjects as your partner?

"PowerObjects came highly recommended from multiple individuals at Microsoft. We also had several vendor meetings with them, and ultimately liked their collaborative approach. We looked at other big consulting firms but liked the agile and flexible approach that PowerObjects offers, along with their deep Dynamics experience, so we went ahead with PowerObjects and haven't regretted it once. We also liked that PowerObjects has an office and local staff right here in Toronto."

What are some of the KPIs that you've seen since implementing Dynamics 365?

"We've seen a 4% reduction in average handle times (AHT) and a 5% increase in first call resolution (FCR) on top of our already high FCR which was around 80%. We've also seen improvements in our onboarding processes for new team members since there are more standardized processes in place, resulting in a decrease in onboarding time and an increase in employee performance. Additionally, we're experiencing better Interactive Voice Response to Dynamics integration, improving screen pop accuracy for Customer Service Representatives."

To learn more and read the full case study, click here.

Happy Dynamics 365'ing!

How to Prevent USD from Closing a Session with Unsaved Changes

One great feature of Unified Service Desk (USD) is its ability to manage sessions during customer service interactions. This functionality allows customer service reps to unify information and applications for each customer in separate sessions, which in turn helps improve performance and service.

For example, a company might use Microsoft Dynamics 365 to handle their contact, policy, and case information. However, they might use completely different applications for billing and event registration. Imagine the number of application windows that a customer rep would need to have open in order to help a single customer! Now multiply that if the same rep must multitask and help numerous customers at the same time. It would be a nightmare for the rep to navigate through different applications just to find the correct customer information and perform their job.

USD resolves this issue and helps improve resolution time by creating a session for each customer so that reps can simply select the correct session and retrieve the correct customer's information with a single click.

USD

However, with this great advantage comes an issue that can have a large impact on data if it is not handled properly. Out of the box, if you close a session in USD, it does not check to see if there are any applications with unsaved changes. Upon closing a session, USD closes all applications under that session without saving any data. If customer reps are not careful, they might lose a lot of important information about their customers and they will be unable to recover that information.

To prevent this, we can use a combination of USD actions and events to check if one or more applications have unsaved changes. If there aren't any changes that need saving, we can program USD to close the session automatically. If there are one or more unsaved applications, we can inform the user about it and let them decide whether to cancel the closing of the session or to end the session disregarding the unsaved changes. We can perform this on any application that is able to check for unsaved changes and communicate back to USD using USD events. For ease of demonstration, this blog will show you how to do so for two Dynamics 365 pages.

For the demo, let's pretend that we have to perform the check on the Case page and the Contact page for the customer. The part that makes this issue trickier is that at any given time both pages may be open or only one might be open. We must somehow handle both scenarios. To resolve this, we will utilize Dynamics 365 CRM's native XRM "getIsDirty" function to check if the pages are dirty and then trigger USD events to inform USD with the result so that USD can take appropriate next actions.

Let's look at the flow we will be utilizing to check if the pages are dirty:

USD

Let's begin by hijacking the 'X' close button next to the session tabs. To do so, we need to open the SessionCloseRequested event on the Session Tabs hosted control and associate some actions to this control.

Create the following actions on the "SessionCloseRequested" event:

USD

USD

USD

Notice the conditions on these actions. The first one checks if the Contact page is dirty, but only if Contact Page is open in the session. If contact page is dirty, it prompts the user whether or not to close the session without closing the session. If contact page is not dirty, it triggers the "CheckIfCaseDirtyEvent" event that we will configure in a bit.

The second action in the list checks if the Case page is dirty, if the Contact Page is closed and the Case Page is open or if "CheckCaseIsDirtyTriggeredFromEvent" parameter is true (which we will use below). If the case page is dirty, it prompts the user with the same notification as the contact page. If it is not dirty, it calls the "CloseSessionNoDirtyPagesEvent" event (more on this below).

The third action is triggered if both the contact page and case page is closed or if "CloseSessionRequestedFromEvent" parameter is true (the latter condition will be used below). This action closes the active session.

By this time, the "SessionCloseRequested" event should have these actions associated to it:

USD

The first two actions above trigger USD events using the "windows.open" function. Note that even though the two actions might trigger an event with the same name, we will need to create two separate event records and associate it both Contact and Case page. Now, let's add these events and associate previously created actions to USD as shown below:

USD

USD

USD

Now, let's try closing a session with unsaved changes on either contact page or case page:

USD

As you can see, we have successfully created a notification mechanism to make customer reps aware if there are unsaved changes within a session. You can use this same technique in as many CRM pages as you want. You can also do the same with other external applications as long as you have control over the code for those applications and can check: 1. If the application has dirty fields that needs saving and 2. If it can trigger USD events.

We hope this helped you save some data! For more troubleshooting tips and tricks, be sure to subscribe to our blog!

Happy USD'ing and Dynamics 365'ing!

The Customer Experience Impact [VIDEO]

How you interact with your customers matters. As technology evolves so do the needs of our customers. Microsoft's stack of applications provide a unified platform that enables users to engage with customers, empower employees, and improve service levels and responsiveness. What impact do you have on your customers? Watch our video to learn how you can achieve a superior customer experience with Microsoft Dynamics 365.