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Four Practical Ways to Earn Customer Loyalty with Loyalty Management

December 18th, 2015 Chelsea Cole No comments

The customer is always right – this basic decree is Customer Service 101. So what better way to ensure your business is running effectively than by tracking customer needs and strengthening your relationships with them?

The Loyalty Management Solution with Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows businesses to better understand shoppers and helps create programs that will actively engage customer interest. Read more to learn four helpful, practical ways the Loyalty Management Solution helps businesses bolster customer loyalty.

1. Unified Customer Profile Equals Better Customer Service

There are so many different ways people can shop today, making it extra important to have a system that can gather all customer information in one easy-to-access place. If a customer shops online, in-store, through an app, or all of the above, it can leave retailers with a fragmented view of that shopper’s preferences.

The best way to gain insights into customer patterns and preferences is to have a full view of each individual customer at your fingertips. The Loyalty Management Solution leverages Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s powerful database to help provide invaluable customer insights while providing the best possible customer service.

The Loyalty Management Solution database consolidates customer information into a user-friendly format.

The Loyalty Management Solution database consolidates customer information into a user-friendly format.

2. Customer Rewards Program

A surefire way to increase the lifetime value of a customer is to offer incentives for their allegiance. The Loyalty Management Solution provides full control of loyalty program creation, enabling businesses to develop the programs that best appeal to customers.

With the solution, you can dictate the terms you want your rewards programs to adhere to that fit best with your individual brand and goals. For instance, you can define a timeframe that the loyalty program will run, the types of rewards offered, the ways in which customers can earn and redeem awards, etc.

The Loyalty Management Solution enables businesses to configure loyalty programs however they wish. Types of rewards, loyalty program timeframes, redemption and accrual rules, etc. can easily be created in the system.

The Loyalty Management Solution enables businesses to configure loyalty programs however they wish. Types of rewards, loyalty program timeframes, redemption and accrual rules, etc. can easily be created in the system.

Tiered reward programs can also be easily created in the Loyalty Management Solution, allowing businesses to determine different rewards for customers across tiers, as well as rules for moving up tiers.

Tiered reward programs can also be easily created in the Loyalty Management Solution, allowing businesses to determine different rewards for customers across tiers, as well as rules for moving up tiers.

3. Comprehensive Reports and Analytics

The Loyalty Management Solution offers real time reports and analytics that allow businesses to keep up with changing trends and customer preferences. For instance, dashboards offer all-inclusive, graphical reports, providing up-to-date information on customer interactions that allow employees to reach out to customers more effectively.

Dashboards helps representatives visualize data with dynamic charts.

Dashboards helps representatives visualize data with dynamic charts.

Reports and analytics give businesses a full view of the different tasks and actions needed to be completed in order to improve performance.

Reports and analytics give businesses a full view of the different tasks and actions needed to be completed in order to improve performance.

4. Promotions and Enhanced Marketing

Now that the database has provided you with details about customer tastes as well as real time reports on the market, it’s time to parlay that information into an advanced marketing strategy. Marketing lists can be created based on a customer-centric demographic, brand preferences, and transaction history. Offering loyal customers special promotions and other marketing tactics is guaranteed to keep them satisfied and coming back, helping businesses to keep in touch with customers on a proactive basis.

The Loyalty Management Solution conveniently consolidates customer information in one place, so marketing strategies such as e-mail lists can be easily created and acted on.

The Loyalty Management Solution conveniently consolidates customer information in one place, so marketing strategies such as e-mail lists can be easily created and acted on.

The Loyalty Management Solution with Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides functionality that helps manage data, turn it into successful marketing campaigns, and provide customers better service and greater access to your brand.

If you would like more information about the Loyalty Management Solution, please email loyalty@ignify.com.

Chelsea Cole is a Proposal Writer at Ignify – a Hitachi Solutions subsidiary. Ignify is Worldwide Microsoft Partner in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010, and offers eCommerce, ERP, CRM, Order Management and POS solutions based on the Microsoft Dynamics line of products. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing businesses in North America for seven years in a row by Inc. Magazine and Deloitte in the FAST 500 from 2008 to 2013.

5 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You about Retail ERP Software

October 16th, 2015 Chelsea Cole No comments

We all know competition is a fact of life. One of the biggest aspects of running a successful business is knowing what your competitors are up to. As a company it is important to try to stay one step ahead. In order to compete with a greater impact businesses should be looking to the best and newest forms of technology. Unfortunately, due to hesitancy, competitors can often times get ahead of the game. Read on to learn 5 things your competitors can teach you about the benefits of Retail ERP Software. (And want proof? Read the successes that retailers have experienced firsthand from Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail here: http://bit.ly/1G7Z4SN).

1. Time Management is Crucial

When it comes to competing with other businesses, the sure fire way to rise to the top of the heap is by saving time. Time and accuracy are the main attributes that contribute to efficient business practices. No company wants to be spending their time manually entering information, often times on multiple different systems. This can lead to frustration and annoyance. Not only does this waste time, it can lead to inconsistencies and inefficiencies in decision making and planning. An ERP software can solve this issue by providing a single, unified view of all business information. With an ERP system like Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retailers your competitors are avoiding redundant data entry and manual tasks. Reduce manual data entry and other tedious tasks and make a difference in company growth by investing in a Microsoft ERP solution.

Reduce manual tasks by introducing a completely connected ERP system that covers all areas of retail.

Figure 1. Reduce manual tasks by introducing a completely connected ERP system that covers all areas of retail.

2. How to Support Future Growth

Don’t fall so far behind that it becomes impossible to catch up with competitors. Watching other companies in your industry expand as their business easily grows larger and larger can be frustrating. With a Dynamics ERP system, smooth business growth becomes increasingly more efficient and feasible. Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail enables managers to implement predictive analytics, which helps efficiently introduce new products and target new markets. If your company wants to grow globally it cannot operate on out of date or heavily modified systems. Instead, move faster with more confidence and allow your company to grow and expand with no headaches. Whether it’s transitioning from a mom and pop shop to brick and mortar, moving from a production based organization to a sales driven one, or simply expanding locations. Microsoft Dynamics AX can help you easily operate your business across geographies and locations with deployment options that are flexible enough to support new sales channels and keep up with a continually changing industry.

3. Visibility is Essential for Real Time Market Changes

What cannot be seen cannot be improved. Visibility is a key factor in guaranteeing a successful business practice. Only with full visibility into your company’s workings can a business react to real time market changes. Microsoft Dynamics AX allows for full visibility into business events that might not be entirely apparent, such as fulfillment rates and inventory movement. Making sure all aspects of business are completely transparent allows for faster and better decision making. Competitors are reacting to market changes in a timely manner making it important to adapt quickly to changing business requirements with POS add-ins and extensible headquarter software that can be tailored to meet specific retail needs. Achieve greater visibility and access information to ensure your organization is operating in the best way possible with Microsoft Dynamic AX for Retail.

Purpose-built POS components provide inventory visibility and efficient checkout processes.

Figure 2. Purpose-built POS components provide inventory visibility and efficient checkout processes.

4. Everything Starts with Inventory and Warehouse Management

When it comes to any type of retail business, the exterior cannot work without a smoothly functioning internal system. This starts with the warehouse and inventory. Inventory management is a critical component of a smooth operation. If the inventory is off than the whole system is off. ERP solutions help manage existing inventory as well as enables future products to integrate smoothly. The fulfillment and warehouse management systems in Dynamics AX provide a solution that is able to meet complex and unique requirements allowing you to manage the warehouse inventory, improve store replenishment cycle, and satisfy customers need at the fastest rate possible.

5. Create an Omni-Channel System for Optimal Success

There are so many building blocks that make up a successful business. In order to effectively compete in the market place there has to be clear communication and smooth flow between all channels. The more channels a customers has to choose from that better the business opportunity, and the more likely they will choose your business over a competitor’s. Dynamics ERP systems work to easily connect complex multi-channel systems. Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail enhances the customer experience by providing the ability to the mix and match payment providers, leverage support for shopping carts, buy online and make returns to a physical store, and much more.

Microsoft Dynamics AX, built from the ground up, cohesively acts as the core to complex omni-channel retail businesses.

Figure 3. Microsoft Dynamics AX, built from the ground up, cohesively acts as the core to complex omni-channel retail businesses.

If you would like more information on Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail, please email retail@ignify.com.

Chelsea Cole is a Proposal Writer at Ignify. Ignify is Worldwide Microsoft Partner in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010, and offers eCommerce, ERP, CRM, Order Management and POS solutions based on the Microsoft Dynamics line of products. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing businesses in North America for seven years in a row by Inc. Magazine and Deloitte in the FAST 500 from 2008 to 2013.

The Top 6 Things that Undermine Customer Loyalty

October 14th, 2015 Chelsea Cole No comments

The main aspect that any retail business should be concerned with is customers. The goal is to attract new customers and retain the old ones, however customers today have so many choices it can be easy to make mistakes when it comes to retaining their loyalty. It is important to keep meaningful relationships with customers across multiple channels that will keep them loyal to your business. Ignify’s Loyalty Management Solution can give you insights into better understanding your customers that will prevent you from making the major mistakes that retailers often make. Because a retail business lives and dies on what their customers think of them, here are the top 6 things that undermine customer loyalty – and how the Loyalty Management Solution prevents them:

1. Focusing on the Wrong Customers

When it comes to marketing strategies and business processes, many companies strive to gain new customers. And while gaining new customers is important and good for business, it is also important not to neglect those customers that already exist. With a loyalty program, you can reward the customers that shop in your store and guarantee their continued patronage. Ignify’s Loyalty Management Solution enables businesses to offer different types of incentives in their loyalty programs, such as a points based program where customers earn rewards for money spent, or frequency of transactions. You can also offer special deals only for loyalty customers like BOGOs or discounts on birthdays. These personalized offers help create better relationships with existing customers and motivate them to make repeat purchases.

Key Functionalities Offered.

Figure 1: The key functionalities offered by Ignify’s Loyalty Management Solution.

2. Not Paying Attention to the Individual

Another way to give customers an experience guaranteed to please is by making it tailored specifically for them. The best way to show a customer that their loyalty is important is by having access to a 360- degree view of the customer so that you can be in tune with their individual needs. A fully rounded view can provide a next level in-store experience that shows you care about them as individuals. Ignify’s Loyalty Management Solution provides easy access to customer’s past purchase history, their profile and product preferences, their specific wish lists created online, and the specific products they might have browsed online. This information helps equip store associates for giving customers an unmatched, attentive shopping experience that will strengthen long-term loyalty.

3. Leaving Employees Out

Although customers are the main focus of a successful business, it is crucial to remember what makes a customer’s interaction with the business work: the employee. A company cannot prosper unless the employees are competent and happy. The quickest way to cultivate a disgruntled employee atmosphere is by making them work with out of date, complicated system software that they do not understand. Negligent employees will only lead to bad customer service and unhappy customers. Offer your employees an easy to use, helpful system that will allow them to convey the best possible customer service experience. The Loyalty Management Solution provides a full view of the customer and the tools employees need to leverage that view. Putting this type of knowledge and the right tools into your employee’s hands will inspire them to provide that best customer care possible. They will work better if they understand how to use an easy solution that exists in order to help them be the best that they can be.

Easy Access Using Tablet Devices.

Figure 2: Tablet devices allow Employee's easy access to customer information.

4. Incongruent Channels

What’s better than giving customers one channel to access your company? Giving them multiple channels. As customers’ tastes and preferences change they often want to seek out interactions across a multi-channel platform. While a multi-channel system is great for business it is even more important that all these channels are connected and in sync with one another. Disparate systems for each channel create a fragmented view of the customer. A CRM system helps consolidate all customer information and records. This way, if a customer that typically shops online decides to come into the store, representatives can still access their records and transaction history. A unified loyalty program that merges all channels will make sure that customers are receiving the best service and will help retailers have easily accessible customer information for any scenario.

Key Customer Service Functionalities.

Figure 3: Key customer service functionalities include case management, automated service process, and dialogs.

5. Inconsistent Communication with Customers

The best way to keep customers coming back is by making sure you are keeping up constant communication. If your business is on their mind, it will be the first place they look to when shopping. Ignify’s Loyalty Management Solution keeps a database with customer information and contact info so that you can give special treatment to loyal customers such as birthday greetings, reminders on sales, access to downloading apps, or special offers and deals. With this system, employees and representative have customer related information at their fingertips. It also provides a case management system with integrated knowledge base, call guides, escalation functionality, and more features that will provide better quality service and will allow you to keep in touch with those customers that are most loyal to your brand.

Create App to Track Customer Rewards.

Figure 4: Create an app for customers to track their rewards.

6. Fear of Advancement

All of the ways in which customer loyalty can potentially become undermined can be improved by talking one simple step, which is investing in your business by investing in technology. By simply implementing a loyalty solution you can improve customer service and loyalty be leaps and bounds. Even though this seems like a no brainer, many retailers can be hesitant about systems they don’t understand. Don’t let yourself fall behind and lose customers to your competitors. The Loyalty Management Solution is simple and helpful while resembling the Microsoft products you are already used to. The benefits of a loyalty system, and thus this particular solution, far outweigh the small effort it takes to implement this new solution.

Customer Profile Analytics and Reports.

Figure 5: See costumer profile analytics and reports.

Ignify’s Loyalty Management Solution strengthens relationships with customers, reduces total cost, and make disparate systems and channels come together as a well-oiled machine. For more information, please email us at loyalty@ignify.com.

Chelsea Cole is a Proposal Writer at Ignify. Ignify is Worldwide Microsoft Partner in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010, and offers eCommerce, ERP, CRM, Order Management and POS solutions based on the Microsoft Dynamics line of products. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing businesses in North America for seven years in a row by Inc. Magazine and Deloitte in the FAST 500 from 2008 to 2013.

5 Myths Scaring Companies from Using CRM – and Why They’re Bogus

September 10th, 2015 Chelsea Cole No comments

Diving into the unknown can be a daunting process. As with most unfamiliar practices, it is not surprising that companies can be ambivalent about introducing new software to their business structure. There are a number of factors that can scare companies away from implementing a CRM system, even though it provides a more comprehensive and accommodating customer relationship approach to business. Despite the proven benefits of using a CRM system, there are still a lot of myths that can delay or prevent a software search and eventual implementation. Check out these five myths preventing companies from using CRM, and how we have debunked them using Microsoft Dynamics CRM:

1. The Implementation Will be Too Complicated or Time-Consuming

The number one fear for many businesses when it comes to CRM systems is the implementation process. If implementation does not go as planned or becomes too complicated, companies worry they won’t be able to potentially fix the problem. This will leave them stuck with an intricate system that they cannot handle, wasting time and resources rather than improving business processes. The fear of installing a complex system that no one really knows how to use can keep companies from using CRM.

Solution

Implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM requires excellent execution. This is where choosing the right implementation team comes into play. A team with extensive implementation experience and a risk management system designed for getting businesses up and running on Microsoft Dynamics CRM can ensure success. Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services implements and protects projects while helping organizations improve the predictability and quality of implementation by simplifying and standardizing the process to realize business value faster. Proper implementation is also ensured by utilizing Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step, which is a proven framework of methodology and tools for implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The key benefits of which include predictable, on-time, and on-budget implementation. The robust combination of methodology coupled with best practices mitigates the common risks that can occur on a project, improves overall consistency and predictability, expands business agility, and increases the probability of a successful implementation.

Ignify overall implementation Process.

Figure 1. Ignify’s overall implementation process provides for multiple validation points so there are no surprises guaranteed from early on in the process. This reduces the risks during the application of the project.

2. CRM Won’t Fit with Current Processes and Systems

Some companies fear that CRM software might not fit with their current processes and systems. They believe that installing CRM will require a fundamental change in their current systems, which can disrupt the business process and cause more hassle than it is worth. If the transition is too hard or the software does not fit smoothly into the company’s already established dynamic then the results will lead to frustration and waste of the new CRM system.

Solution

When implementing a new CRM system, failure most often results from poor communication or expectation gaps between the consulting organization and the current business processes that the client is actively engaged in. However, specific processes are used to implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM that aim to bridge this gap. During the initial days of the relationship between Ignify and the individual client, the frequency of meetings is high in order to ensure that all problems are proactively identified and resolved so that configuration of Microsoft Dynamics CRM will best fit with the respective company. Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps employees by working the way they already do, and providing them with consolidated customer knowledge along with intuitive relationship management tools that are a natural extension of the Microsoft Suite, including Outlook. This tight integration with Microsoft Outlook allows employees to continue using the tools they are most familiar with and already use on a daily basis.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is integrated with Microsoft Outlook.

Figure 2. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is completely integrated with Microsoft Outlook. A user can convert a lead to an opportunity directly in Outlook, and the information will flow directly into Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Any changes and upgrades requested by the company are easy to make and the IT staff will be fully trained on how to manage and maintain current systems along with the new CRM program.

3. The Learning Curve Will be Too Slow

Companies worry that the time and energy spent on learning about and training on a new system will take away from productivity. This transition can seem like a long and difficult process that is best avoided. In other cases the employees themselves might be apprehensive about their abilities to use a CRM system resulting in open resistance to the new processes that managers and business owners do not want to deal with.

Solution

Formal training and proper knowledge transfer can minimize any potential for frustration that can come with learning a new system. Ignify has flushed out several strategic steps within the training process in order to guarantee the smoothest transition to Microsoft Dynamics CRM possible. Informal knowledge transfer happens with managers and IT staff early-on in the engagement with formal training in all functional areas to follow. Typically a “train the trainer” approach is taken and planned well ahead of time in order to ensure that the process becomes repeatable internally by management staff to end users. Adequate training is one of the most important steps in a successful implementation. Ignify also provides E-learning training to help users increase productivity without spending time away from the office. E-learning allows employees access to training 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so they can learn at their own pace. Microsoft Dynamics CRM works with familiar Microsoft Office software so that employees don’t have to learn a completely new application or juggle different applications.

4. Security Issues Can Cause Important or Confidential Data to Become Compromised

It’s natural for a company to worry about the security of their customer data or other types of confidential information. Implementing a CRM software means putting all of this customer information and sensitive material in one place. Having important information in one program can pose a security threat. Companies worry that if the system is hacked or a bug causes it to shut down, all of their important resources, information, and data could become compromised.

Solution

Ignify is, in partnership with Microsoft, committed to delivering the reliability, high security, and privacy expected by its clients through centralized management as well as options for application delivery based on factors such as device trust and type. Microsoft Dynamic CRM uses Enterprise Data Security as well as Customer Portal. Enterprise Data Security provides customer service while ensuring data security and implementing a system of appropriate approvals, reducing the risk of implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Customer Portal has a two factor authentication and role based security system that provides a unified customer registration and self-service module. A business unit framework is also created that establishes clear security boundaries. This is tested across two business units to ensure that while a unified customer master is visible everywhere, the legal boundaries of data access can be enforced in the platform.

5. Lack of Standardization

Due to the fact that CRM systems are easily malleable in order to fit into a system of operation in a variety of ways, some companies worry that this lack of standardization can lead to management difficulties. If the configuration of a new system is not implemented in a uniform way but constructed by multiple voices and opinions, then it can be hard to keep track of certain aspects of the company.

Solution

This concern can be easily appeased through assigning a lead person within the client company to work with Ignify and be immersed in the process. Ignify requires companies to assign a Project Manager from their own team to act as a contact person who will coordinate the project during its life cycle and will be the single point of harmonization. The project manager will be empowered to manage scope to ensure success of the project. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is built to make it easy to do business across locations and departments by consolidating and standardizing processes. With the Sure Step Methodology for implementations, Ignify has also developed RAPID, which acts as a layer above Sure Step. RAPID offers a set of standard and pre-built deliverables that are ready to use. If you would like more information on Ignify or Microsoft Dynamics CRM, please email crm@ignify.com.

Chelsea Cole is a Proposal Writer at Ignify. Ignify is Worldwide Microsoft Partner in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010, and offers eCommerce, ERP, CRM, Order Management and POS solutions based on the Microsoft Dynamics line of products. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing businesses in North America for seven years in a row by Inc. Magazine and Deloitte in the FAST 500 from 2008 to 2013.

CRM for Retail: What is It, and Why is It Needed?

September 2nd, 2015 Chelsea Cole No comments

Two of the biggest factors currently facing retailers in their pursuit of customer satisfaction are maintaining a consistent and reliable presence through every channel of shopping and making sure the customer has a personalized experience. Retailers are looking for technology that can allow them real time, in-store interactions that will customize a specific customer’s overall shopping experience.

CRM Across Channels – from Online to In-Store

It should come as no surprise that one of the easiest ways to personally learn about a shopper’s history and preferences comes from online shopping. Online records can show previous transactions of a particular shopper in order to offer new recommendations based on that customer’s history. But in-store shopping isn’t going away any time soon either – people enjoy being able to get an up-close look and feel of products before they buy. What retailers need is technology that consolidates customer insights from these different channels, so that the retailer can then provide a more personalized, unique shopping experience for those customers. But the different modes of shopping that the modern day consumer has to choose from can often times leave a fragmented view of the customer. Microsoft Dynamics CRM, however, offers the modern retailer the ability to give customers a seamless shopping experience through multiples channels.

Overview of Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Retail.

Figure 1. Overview of Microsoft Dynamics CRM for retail. Helps retailers support an omni-channel system based on an easy to use structure leading to better customer service and personalization.

CRM for Loyalty

Ignify’s CRM for Loyalty solution can also increase the lifetime value of the existing customer. CRM Loyalty helps retailers implement a loyalty program that fosters better relationships with existing customers and motivates them to make repeat purchases by rewarding them with points. More importantly, the loyalty program provides retailers the ability to track individual customer sales, thereby gaining valuable customer insights on their tastes and preferences. The CRM for Loyalty program focuses on customer tier management, promotion setup, award and redemptions, reports and analytics, as well as improving interfaces such as POS systems, web services, and mobile apps. This CRM solution can lead to improved customer service and reliability and help employees find all customer related information at their fingertips in one system. It also provides a case management system with an integrated knowledge base that will lead to better quality service.

CRM for Loyalty Interface.

CRM for Loyalty interface. Increase profitability by identifying and retaining valuable customers while tracking performance measurement and sales by channel.

Improve in-store employee to customer clienteling.

Figure 3. Improve in-store employee to customer clienteling with information easily available and editable on tablet devices.

Making Customers the Focal Point

It is crucial for retailers to make the customer the focal point of their business strategy, and using the right technology will help them give their customers better shopping experiences. Ignify’s CRM programs can help retailers achieve this goal. If you would like more information on Ignify’s retail solutions, please email retail@ignify.com.

Chelsea Cole is a Proposal Writer at Ignify. Ignify is winner/finalist of the Worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year Award in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010, and offers eCommerce, ERP, CRM, Order Management and POS solutions based on the Microsoft Dynamics line of products. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing businesses in North America for seven years in a row by Inc. Magazine and Deloitte in the FAST 500 from 2008 to 2013.