Before the internet, marketing was a comparatively simple affair. These days, consumers have so many options at their fingertips that it can often be difficult for smaller businesses to stand out from the crowd. Where there used to be a gap between your business and any potential customers, there is now complete overlap thanks to the likes of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and brands that don’t embrace these channels are likely doomed to fail in 2017. Customers that would once sit on hold to make an enquiry now flock to Twitter to make themselves heard. Those that would happily navigate your website to find a way to reach you now expect a ‘request a callback’ service that’s prompt and deals with their query instantly. Now, more than ever, business is a social and immediate affair.

Underpinning this shift in consumer behaviour is one key trend: personalisation. Once customers realise they can get a personalised service they’re unlikely to settle for less, and this how many businesses have started competing in the modern age of commerce. Anyone can set up a store and sell a product or service online but service and reputation are what really set your brand apart, and more and more businesses are beginning to realise this. According to research by Forrester, up to 30% of retailers placed ‘personalisation’ in their top 5 areas of technological investment for 2016. That figure is set to nearly double in 2017, making personalisation very much in fashion for the years ahead. Instead of calling brands and having their details ready to hand over, consumers expect the member of your team taking their call to already know everything about them. It’s one thing to have a trained team of employees ready to deliver a friendly and personalised service, but without the right tools for the job their energy will most likely go to waste.

That’s where Microsoft Dynamics 365 comes into play.

When a customer calls up your business or browses your website, you want them to find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible. In many ways, your business need to take a preemptive approach and give consumers what they need before they’ve even started looking for it. The two core ingredients to solving this problem are journey analytics and data availability. Journey analytics takes things you already know about your audience based on past behaviour, and uses that data to determine when, how and why they’re likely to contact your business. Data availability is all about how easy your staff can access contextual information about a given customer at any moment in time. We can use various practices to shape the customer journey in order to give us better insight, such as asking a customer to highlight a reason for a call when they request a call back. In this way, your team can have all the details they need on hand in order to offer a fast, tailored service. Similarly, if you know a customer is predisposed to buying at a certain time of year or taking advantage of a particular offer, you can use that data to target them more appropriately and personalise the messaging in your communication. It gives customers a personalised experience and increases their propensity to buy.

Every single interaction a consumer has with your business is a chance to learn more about them. Adding this data to your bank of knowledge will eventually turn it into insight that your staff can use to deliver a highly personalised and effective service.

Think of it as a return on time. You need to give customers the best possible value for taking the time to interact with your brand. Create campaigns that are valuable, targeted and content rich and you’ll see a much better relationship start to develop between your business and its customers. That’s where a solid CRM (customer relationship management) tool such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 can really shine. It uses social insights and customer intelligence to help you build and manage campaigns, and also gives your team the information they need right at the moment they need it, making your customer feel like a VIP whenever they engage with your brand.

Want to learn more about Dynamics 365 and how it can help you get closer to your customers? Equity Networks are Microsoft Silver Partners, providing everything your business needs to get started with Dynamics 365, including full business-wide rollouts, licensing, set-up and staff training. Give your team the tools they need to transform your customer experience and create high-value marketing campaigns. Call 01442 217099 for more information.

Try Microsoft Dynamics 365 for FREE for up to 60 days. Click here to get started.