Microsoft have been working hard to improve the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The Spring ’14 release includes improvements for Marketing, Customer Service, and Social. This article takes a look at the new features Microsoft Dynamics CRM Spring ’14 release has to offer including some of Microsoft’s latest acquisitions; Marketing Pilot, Parature and NetBreeze.
“At Microsoft Dynamics, our vision is to help our customers deliver the kinds of amazing customer experiences that will help their business thrive. To do this, we feel there are three things organizations need to be able to do:
- They need to be able to market smarter – planning and delivering engaging campaigns, then being able to prove the quantifiable results of their efforts.
- They need to be able to sell effectively – enabling their salespeople to focus on what matters so that they can close more deals, faster.
- And they need to provide customer service everywhere – they need to be responsive, delivering relevant information so that in every moment of truth, they can earn customers for life.”
New Look and Feel
Built around Marketing Pilot, the new marketing area offers a new drag and drop visual campaign designer. The intuitive visual designer makes it easy for marketers to create multi-channel campaigns integrated with email marketing and social channels.
New dashboards, KPI’s, reports and charts allow marketers to quickly identify leads generated, email effectiveness, landing page opens, and budget performance.
You can now send highly personalized email messages to drive improved open rates. Personalize the content per sender, recipient, subject & content allowing you to send fewer emails with greater business results.
Sales and Marketing Connector
The Dynamics Marketing Connector is new and improved, with easy configuration and a UI for data mapping. Users can configure data mapping to bring in important information on the contact and lead to assist in better lead scoring. Sales gets better quality leads as a result. Rich information means that reporting on lead pipeline and lead conversion is easily accessible in reports.
Microsoft have put in a considerable amount of effort to make Customer Service the force it should be. Microsoft Dynamics CRM enables companies to earn customers for life by providing relevant, responsive and personalized service. Companies can connect their customers with the right answers to their service inquiries at the right time, via their channel of choice across web, social, chat, mobile and phone. Agents are empowered with a single, unified experience to deliver amazing customer experience with cross-channel context.
With the inclusion of Parature, a full suite of Customer Service tools are now available for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
- Parature Portal
- Parature Mobile Self-Service
- Parature Facebook Portal
- Parature Real-time Chat
- Parature Knowledgebase
Unified Service Desk
The new Unified Service Desk offers powerful desktop designed to improve key business metrics such as Average Handling Time, First Call Resolution and Customer Satisfaction by providing agents a unified experience to access all of the tasks and applications across their environment. Customers can easily create agent desktop applications through a configurable interface within Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Case management has been improved with an updated case form. You can now view merged cases, view or add child cases, review entitlements, and even add a Timer to ensure you do not exceed/breach your SLA’s.
Microsoft Social Listening
Microsoft Social Listening is a powerful new service powered by NetBreeze. It can be used to monitor social media channels like Twitter and Facebook. Use Microsoft Social Listening to track products, brands, competitors, and campaigns globally and in real time to gain a true understanding of your customers and your business across the social web.
Microsoft Social Listening visuals can be added your CRM dashboards and forms. These Social Insights charts and graphs help you identify buzz, trends and sentiment related to things like your customers, campaigns and competitors.
As well as all the new features around marketing, customer service and social, Microsoft Dynamics CRM has improved the platform and mobile capabilities.
The mobile app has been extended to include Customer Service capabilities optimized for people who are always on the move but want to keep an eye on high priority Cases, monitor Queues or route items across the queues to deliver amazing experiences no matter where they are.
Server-side sync and SharePoint integration
There have been improvements to Server-side synchronisation and SharePoint integration for CRM Online. Server-side sync now offers greater stability and SharePoint integration no longer required list components for CRM Online and SharePoint Online.
There is now the concept of Sandbox Environments to allow users to develop and test customizations in an isolated, non-production online environment. Administrators can copy a CRM Online instance into a sandbox instance.
New CRM Online Admin Centre
This can be made possible with the new CRM Online Admin Centre. Administrators can easily manage their test and production Dynamics CRM Online environments.
Support has been added to the follow products
- Windows 8.1
- Internet Explorer 11
- iOS7 Safari on iPad (web application)
- iPad Air using Safari (web application)
- Windows Server 2012 R2 (CRM server)
- iPad Air using CRM for Tablets
The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Spring ’14 release has lots to offer and covers a lot of ground for marketing, customer service and social. There are also improvements for administrators who look after CRM.
Pricing and Licensing
Some of the new features such as Microsoft Social Listening and Parature require additional licensing. Please contact your Partner or QGate for more information.
CRM Online and CRM On-Premise
This release is available for both CRM Online and CRM On-Premise although some features may differ between versions. CRM Online customers will have the ability to “Opt-In”. The On-premise update will be in the form of service pack 1.
Further information is available from Microsoft by visiting their Get ready for the next release page.
If you need any specific information on any of the new features and changes to licensing contact your partner or visit the QGate Knowledgebase.