In order to serve them properly, businesses need to know their clients extremely well. However, the challenge is that customers connect with businesses across all types of platforms.
Acquiring a complete profile of your client requires somehow consolidating all of these pieces of information from across this platform into one simplified, complete view. Only then, armed with the right information, can a business best determine how to serve their clients effectively, with personalized experiences.
In this article we look at a Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution – Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights. We go over what it is, how it works, and how your business would benefit from this solution.
What is Dynamics 365 Customer Insights?
Customer Insights is what Microsoft calls its Customer Data Platform (CDP). It is a solution that combines data to give you a complete view of your clients. Customer Insights draws from different data sources and applies artificial intelligence and other smart tools to consolidate this information into a unified searchable profile.
The platform takes data scattered across different platforms and, like a jigsaw puzzle, puts the pieces back together to form a complete picture of the client. With this 360 degree view, companies can set up with the client at the center and produce content that is relevant to them and will speak to their needs.
How Does Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights Work?
The Customer Insights workflow can be distilled into four general steps.
The first is bringing in data from different sources. The next step is to unify this data into one consolidated view. Step number three is to analyze the data and generate additional insights. And the final step is to export this data to other services or platforms.
You can add or import data into Customer Insights by attaching a data source. Bringing data into the software is also known as ingesting the data. if you already have data in one of Microsoft Azure services you do not need to re-import, or re-ingest it. If you’re using local data sources, you can use the Power Query connectors to bring in the data. There are different connectors for data stored in different formats, including Excel spreadsheets, XML, text, CSV, JSON, and many other formats.
This is the process of creating a master data set comprising all of the customer data coming from different sources into Customer Insights. The unification process takes place in five steps. The first involves identifying the fields and entities that will be used to unify the data.
The next step is deleting redundant data. After that, a matching process to bring together different records from different entities takes place. The penultimate step is to merge all of these matched records. Finally you review the unified profile and, if you’re satisfied, create it.
The data analysis stage is where you generate additional insights from the data you’ve combined in the unification stage. This is achieved using what Microsoft calls Segments, Measures, and Predictions.
Segments do what the name suggests, they enable you to group your customers based on different attributes. Measures are key statistics that help you get a more complete view of customer behaviors and the performance of your business. A Measure could be something like the return on investment per client.
Predictions are AI powered insights that help you determine future values of different parameters. For example, customer lifetime value, whether or not a customer will unsubscribe from your products or services, and sentiment analysis to tell you what customers are saying about different facets of your business.
The export stage is where you give access to your insights to other applications and services. you can export customer profiles, schemas, entities and other details as per your configurations. Just like you require a connection to important data into Customer Insights, you use the same connections to export the data.
Why use Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights for your business?
Better business decisions
Customer Insights not only gives you a more complete view of your customers, it lets you see into the future and informs your decision making process, giving you the edge over your competitors.
Easy to use
The platform is well supported, well documented, and generally easy to use, even for those who are not Microsoft D365 experts. There are step-by-step guides to get started and to set up the environment as necessary. Also, because it is within a familiar Windows environment, the UI is generally intuitive for the average Microsoft product user.
Predictive capabilities always keep you on the front foot when it comes to anticipating demand on your inventory. This enables you to optimize how you resupply your warehouses to ensure business runs cost-effectively and without disruptions.
Predictive lead scoring
The software makes the process of qualifying leads much easier, more efficient, and more reliable. You can not only determine which qualified leads to target based on their scores, you can figure out why certain leads’ scores are low and see whether the score can be improved.
Unification and segmentation
The power of Microsoft Dynamics Customer Insights is apparent in its ability to unify customer records. However, it doesn’t just combine data, it also plugs gaps that might be missing, and helps you clean up incoming entries.
For example, you can reformat fields like addresses to improve consistency. Typos can be fixed using smart AI powered enrichment tools. This enhances the completeness and the quality of the data you have in your system, something that is crucial for processes like segmentation.
Customer feedback integration
The platform also helps you improve your business by using AI to analyze sentiment in customer feedback. This gives you the opportunity to quickly address issues that might be hampering the experience for your customers, and, on the other hand, to identify which aspects you are getting right.
The predictive capabilities of the platform are also a huge asset. You can use AI to determine how much revenue a customer will bring in throughout the duration of their interaction with your business. You can make better product recommendations for your clients by applying AI to analyze their purchase behavior and match them with other customers who have exhibited similar traits.
Being able to treat each customer relationship as a one-to-one with your business is crucial to providing customer satisfaction. Clients today value personalization, they want to feel that the business understands their needs and will therefore be able to fulfill them. However, delivering this at scale is the challenge that most businesses struggle with. You can take advantage of the tools Microsoft offers in Customer Insights to deliver the level of customer satisfaction that will take your brand to the next level and garner loyalty and support from your client base.