Using the Power Platform to track customer interactions
Dynamics 365 enables teams to capture and manage all sales and customer service-related interactions for their prospects and customers. Product managers at Microsoft interact with customers too, for instance to get feedback on new features, run early access programs, and give demos of upcoming features. Using the extensibility capabilities of the Common Data Service in Power Platform, we made a Power Apps app to record customer interactions. This enables our product management organization to manage and search engagements to further improve our product portfolio.
Before onboarding to Power Platform
Our product development team used to track and update engagement status in Excel/OneNote/emails, compile overall status reports and newsletters manually, and follow up on action items over email.
Execution challenges and opportunities
Because the team was tracking customer interactions mostly in Excel or email, there were multiple copies of trackers in different systems. With follow-up happening in email, there was no visibility to the rest of the team members.
Individual team members spent time searching through spreadsheets and emails to prepare status reports.
In cases where different teams or team members were working with the same customer, they duplicated efforts with no visibility to other ongoing customer interactions. To get a profile of a customer and understand our existing relationship with the customer required manually gathering information from different system in bits and pieces.
Microsoft Power Platform solution
To solve this problem, the team built a Power Platform-based solution on our existing Dynamics 365 instance that contains rich data about our customers, such as sales opportunities, products, usage, support cases, and other formally tracked customer engagements.
The solution was built using Power Apps, Power Automate, and Dynamics 365 for App for Outlook.
Value realization and impact
Our new Customer Tracker app helped the team track all customer interactions and engagements (projects) in one place. No more Excel spreadsheets and random tools. All team members track all key attributes (such as overall status, executive summary, status, start and end dates) in the same format, which helps us track and report status.
Managing all stakeholders on the project is structured, with no duplication of customer or team information. With Dynamics 365 App for Outlook, tracking all email interactions and attaching them to the project is a seamless experience. Users can see all the interactions with a customer in one place, using the timeline control.
Because the solution is built on an existing Common Data Service instance with rich data, users now have access to all customer information, such as existing open sales opportunities, other existing relationships, usage data such as monthly active usage on Dynamics products, and open and closed support tickets. In a nutshell, this gives us an end-to-end view of each customer relationship from presales to post-sales. Customer information is in a secure and compliant environment instead of having multiple offline copies.
Starting from the initial launch of this application in August 2020, around 170 projects are already being tracked, and a few more teams are in the pipeline to onboard to track their engagements.
Our Customer Tracker app will be extended to support more scenarios. For example, we’ll add features to enable teams to request executive engagement with customer, track executive engagements, and track action items from the meetings.
Screenshots of the applications:
Figure 1: Main form to track customer engagement and executive summary
Figure 2: Add and manage all stakeholder related to the engagement
Figure 3: Track all the features under a product you are working with customer
Figure 4: View usage of the product based on the tenant linked to engagement
Figure 5: Emails are tracked on timeline control
The Microsoft Power Platform has a variety of features that provide engineering teams a reliable and robust foundation for rapidly building digital transformation solutions.
Building on an already existing CRM system, such as Common Data Service in this case, helps the team use the existing data and configure their app to meet their specific business scenario.