In a previous post, I outlined the process for integrating CRM with SharePoint for document management. Continuing with the topic of CRM SharePoint integration, I’m now going to turn outward and discuss some of the ways organizations can leverage these two products and their common platform to interact directly with customers.
Using three different scenarios (Event Management, Customer Profile Management, and Help Desk/Case Management) I’ll demonstrate at a high level what these integrations can achieve.
CRM SharePoint Integration Overview
As a customer service organization, it’s likely that you will engage with customers at various digital touch points and you have a need to track and consolidate all of this data in a single place.
With the benefit of structured data, CRM is the ideal place to track all of your customer activities whereas SharePoint is the perfect customer-facing tool to facilitate these interactions. CRM has a very robust API designed for external connectivity which means that any object in CRM – accounts, products, etc. — can be exposed to a SharePoint portal.
So, let’s talk through these three integration scenarios I’ve discussed above and how they benefit you by delivering a richer and more complete customer experience.
Note: The portal examples used above are for conceptual purposes only.
Scenario: You host an annual golfing tournament aimed at encouraging new business. You want to be able to centrally manage attendee info while tracking how well the event helped you meet your objectives.
Using SharePoint as a portal, you can capture data directly from attendees.
This data will be pulled into CRM’s Event Management module and will enable you to track RSVPs, capture comments, update client records and more. In other words, CRM will be your complete content management system for the event. Having access to this data will help you tailor the event according to customer preferences.
In addition to helping you successfully plan an event that your customers and prospects will enjoy, you can leverage CRM to track its success. Using CRM’s campaign function, you can track all activities and associated costs and measure this against how many new opportunities you developed. It is also possible for you to send out a follow up survey and determine what you can do better next year.
Customer Profile Management
Scenario: You want your customer to be able to login and manage his or her own data, like contact information and marketing preferences.
Your customer (e.g. John Simpson) can login through a secured site and start managing his own data through contact forms.
This data will then populate fields against his record in CRM, providing you with a complete and updated view of your customer. To manage data integrity, you can use CRM’s business process flow feature to run all changes through an internal approval process.
Help Desk / Case Management
Scenario: You operate a help desk where users can log complaints, ask questions, and seek answers in your knowledgebase. You want to track these activities against a customer record in CRM and where necessary, against a Case.
You can surface knowledgebase data in CRM through a SharePoint portal. Using the example below, if someone types in a keyword (e.g. “fault”), they could get a “cheat sheet” that would pop up and help them with their issue, potentially easing up the number of requests that have to go through to your customer service department.
If they do need to escalate their issue to a case because the info they need can’t be found in your Knowledgebase, they can open up a new support request directly from this form, like in the example below.
When creating a case, you can expose any CRM fields that you would like. For example, if the customer needs to upload a document, they can do so and it will go directly to SharePoint so you can have a full record of customer interactions.
The actual management of the case can be done entirely from within CRM. In a case form, there are escalation options – resolving, applying a routing rule, etc. You can also easily move onto the next stage in the process flow. It’s also possible to break it into an SLA to ensure that top-tier customers get served first.
Using the process flow also gives managers insight into how effective you are as a customer service organization by providing a top down view of the stages. For example: where are your bottlenecks? How good of a job are you doing of resolving particular issues?
Back to the End Game: Better Service
With external-facing portals being the norm for most customer service organizations, it’s interesting to see how the SharePoint and CRM worlds have begun to collide over the last 10 years. As these 3 scenarios show, the demand to manage various touch points and offer a rich experience at the same time is a challenge, however, it’s also the key to differentiating yourself in a competitive market. In fact, integrating CRM with SharePoint gives you a leg up on the competition and goes a long way to providing an accessible and collaborative experience for your customers.