(This article was originally published on LinkedIn)

You run a very busy business and have Dynamics 365 CRM in place to bring all your data and processes into order, enable your service and sales teams and get new insights into your operations. Well done, you are well ahead of the curve! But you may be missing out…

At the same time, your customers and partners are still calling you. You have a dedicated team answering calls or chats or emails and processing their request, creating tickets, sending quotes, updating customer details or sending out invoices. And this team is very busy, apparently. What is going on? Is it how it supposed to be?

Well, the fact is that most customers don’t like picking up a phone There are many reasons why they hate customer service, including the fear talking to strangers, waiting time, operating time restrictions, need to repeat things again and again, shy others eavesdropping on the conversation etc. Instead, customers prefer the convenience of online services which is available 24×7 and on the go.   

So, here are some ideas what you could enable your customers or partners to do through the Dynamics or Power App portal:

  • Place an order or request a quote
  • Request support/repair/maintenance ticket
  • Book an appointment
  • View outstanding invoice and make a payment
  • Submit applications or registration requests
  • Manage membership, for example, upgrade plan or renew membership.
  • Manage the casual employment roster.
  • Register for events  
  • Access the documents or other information between them and your business in a secure manner  
  • Update their contact details  

The great news – it’s all at the tips of your fingers. As you’ve already done the heavy lifting and implemented Dynamics in your business (let me know if you still need help with that), so the remaining bit is to enable the portal and configure it to allow all these benefits. Many of the above features come out of the box, some require tailoring to your business needs. Visual branding and styling are also yours, so the whole experience is within your brand and seamless. 

As a result of this, you will benefit from:

  1. Faster sales process through the exposure of catalogue, pricing, quote generation and order capture. 
  2. Reduced costs on service call centre through automated capture of requests, routing and execution of processes (e.g. order of spare parts or accept payments). 
  3. Improved data accuracy through enabling customers to fill in their details accurately and update when their circumstances change. 
  4. Improved customer/partner experience and more likely repeat business as a result of the above. 

In other words, your company can become even faster, better and more loved by those who generate your business, so they come again! 

There are numerous examples of how other companies have done this. The examples range from alarms business to funeral agency. As a result of opening up to their customers via Dynamics or Power Apps Portal, the businesses have benefited through an increase in sales or better service, so you can too!

Any strings attached? Fair question, especially if you are mindful that Micorosft Dynamics pricing is per user. The good news, you don’t pay the per-user CRM license for your customers and partners accessing the portal. The costs for portal use is based on whether the users accessing it are logged in or not, from here: https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/

  • unauthenticated (not logged in) access to view pages, submit general forms, view public data – $100/month for 100,000 page views
  • authenticated (logged in user) to access personalised data or update data – starting at $200/month for 100 daily login sessions.    

On the latter one – is it expensive or not? It depends on your business and average revenue per customer or partner. As an example, though, let’s assume that a customer logs in 5 times per month into your portal, so 100 daily logins would be on average expected when there are 100 * 30 / 5 = 600 customers. Is the cost of 33 cents ($200 / 600) per month worth enabling better customers experience and provide faster sales and service? Is it less than ~$6…$15 per minute call handling time? My answer to this is yes and yes!  

Also, the volume pricing is available, so if you expect higher loads from users, we can find out additional options for you.

I hope this helps you to get inspired by what you can do more and better. If you are interested, start here https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/portals/.

When you need some advice or help, feel free to chat with us in Technomancy and we will be happy to assist. Even if you have on-premise Dynamics, some options are available to you, so – reach out. In the meantime – all the best!