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Processes, Workflows and Dialogues: How Microsoft Dynamics CRM Makes Running Your Business So Much Easier!

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Customer Relationship Management (CRM) doesn’t start with CRM software. CRM is a business strategy which uses systems and processes to effectively manage interactions with customers, potential customers, and other contacts.

An effective CRM strategy largely comes down to well designed, well implemented, and well run customer facing business processes. In theory, you don’t need software to have a CRM system. However, the modern advances in technology make maintaining and developing a CRM strategy a lot easier if it’s supported with good quality CRM software.  Whatever CRM software you choose, it’s how you’ve designed your processes, and made the technology assist or enhance these processes, that delivers the main value.

One of the key features of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is that it makes it easy to create automated business processes. The feature, called (unsurprisingly) ‘Processes’, enables any user that’s been assigned permission (these are usually system administrators), to quickly build these processes and tailor them to your business requirements. This powerful functionality has the flexibility to enable users to tightly fit the software to the way your business works. With some other CRM software solutions, creating processes of a similar level may need significant development work or a ‘plug-in’ application.

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Processes feature allows you create two different types of process. These are ‘Workflows’ and ‘Dialogues’.

In a nutshell, a Workflow is a selection of activities or tasks that are done automatically. A workflow can be triggered manually, or by a defined action or event, or by another workflow. Workflows increase efficiency by reducing repetitiveness and helping users perform tasks and activities quickly, correctly, and reliably. Workflows also help standardise the way things are done, ensuring consistency and reducing user errors.

Workflows in Microsoft Dynamics CRM can deliver benefits to customer service, support, sales, marketing, and many other areas of an organisation. So here’s a very simple example of a workflow.

Let’s say a user in Marketing enters a new lead or enquiry, and assigns the lead to a user in Sales. A workflow could trigger an email to the Sales user to tell them that a new lead has been created and assigned to them, and provide them with a summary of the lead details. It could also create an activity, such as a phone call, for them to follow the lead up. If they haven’t completed the follow up in say, 6 hours, the workflow could then send a reminder email to them, or their manager, or even reassign the lead to another staff member.

A clever feature of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is that workflows run asynchronously. This means that the workflow will only run when there’s enough system resource available so that it doesn’t adversely affect user performance. On most workflows, you won’t even notice this is happening (it’s usually fractions of seconds), and it gives you the assurance that all users have an efficient, smooth-running CRM system.

The other type of process in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is Dialogues.  Dialogues are a great tool for things like approval procedures, getting feedback, or creating call scripts for customer service, support, telesales, or telemarketing. They allow you to define a set of steps to follow, answers to give or actions to take when communicating with your customers, depending on their response. This ensures consistency, reduces training and improves efficiency when talking to customers or contacts.

With just a small amount of training, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 users are quickly able to produce processes, dialogues and workflows, and bring another level of benefits to your business. Even if the processes are particularly complex, you can always ask your CRM business partner to write them for you. Then, your system admin (or whoever you choose to train up in processes) can tweak or adapt the processes if or when your requirements change.

However you use it, the process, workflow and dialogue functionality of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 makes it a lot easier to implement and maintain an effective CRM strategy within your business.

By Concentrix TSG –UK Microsoft Dynamics and CRM Specialists

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