The 4IR story goes deeper... knowing the modern customer

Our last post talked about security - the foundation everything in your customers' businesses should be built on. It's about protecting their internal operations from external factors. And it's not the only way the outside influences the inside.

Customers (your customers' customers, that is) are a big, diverse, sometimes fickle bunch. And they're the biggest outside influence there is. It takes some serious forward-thinking to see what they're going to want next - and find the technology that does it. And businesses boldly transform their entire operations just to keep them happy.

That's our topic for this blog post. How do you give your customers the tools to please their customers (who we'll call end customers from here), when what they want is constantly changing?

Customer service behind the scenes

Everyone wants to keep the end customer happy. But how that's done is one of the big shifts of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).

Personalised service based on what they've bought in the past. Proactive responses to their requirements. A trusted advisor - someone they know they can come back to for advice and support later down the line. This is all dictated by the end customer - they've made it quite clear what they expect, and they'll go elsewhere if they don't get it.

For your customers, the ones that have to live up to this service, it demands flexibility. It means delivering on external expectations by managing internal processes. These may sound like front of house challenges. But in the 4IR, they can only be overcome with the right systems in place behind the scenes.

A solution for any ambition

As well as putting in the time on the shop floor (whether that's physical or digital), businesses should be getting their data together, to know what end customers want before they want it, and see the best way of delivering. It's a resource challenge as much as a data one. And while the end effect is a better front for end customers to engage with, the demand is on the back end.

So how do your customers get the most from their data? How do they use it to really know their end customers - and their own business? This is where Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Management (ERM) should be blending together - and a solution like Microsoft Dynamics 365 comes in. With both sides of the business working together, and a full view of their data, everyone has the insight they need to deliver on end customer expectations in the 4IR. When they can see everything, they can see all their opportunities for improvement.

Ideally, the solution will be made up of modular applications. Your customer chooses the apps they want, to focus on the areas they choose. And as they want to look more closely, or into new areas of their business, they can add or change apps.

Make every sale personal. Stay updated in the field. Manage and complete projects on time and in budget. Whatever their ambition, it's more easily achieved with a solution that combines CRM and ERM, using the data your customers have already got, and a platform like Dynamics 365.

Data where it matters

Citta Design is using a combination of CRM and ERM to get to know its end customers. The New Zealand design company has eight stores of unique textiles, furniture, and fashion, and ships its products around the world. Naturally, it's found itself growing quickly over the last five years. So as part of a plan to connect its social marketing, end customer loyalty, and omnichannel selling, Citta Design looked to Dynamics 365.

Now, end customer data is in the hands of every in-store and digital employee. They can deliver the friendly and knowledgeable service the brand needed to stand out in the 4IR. The package is painless to run, and easy to evolve.

Knowing your customer

When everyone can see what's going on behind the scenes, they can present a united front. That's what ERM and CRM do for your customers. And it's not just for service. A platform like Dynamics 365 can take their data even further, into finance, marketing, talent, operations, and beyond.

Which means you can apply it to a wide range of scenarios. Add value as your customers need it, in the areas you see the most potential, with Dynamics 365.

The draw of data

There's potential in every area of your customers' business for some added value from the cloud. That's what makes a platform like Dynamics 365 such a smart addition to your 4IR portfolio.

In the next blog post, we'll explore some more of these areas, and the effect of data gravity - the way your products and services revolve around data.

How do your customers get the most from their data in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR)? Download our infographic.