MB2-718 Certification: (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service) – Overview / Introduction

As I revised for the MB2-718 exam (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service) I am creating blog posts detailing all aspects of my revision. I hope these posts will aid anyone who is also revising for this exam. In this post I will provide an overview / introduction to customer service.

Customer Service is important! In my opinion all good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions should have a heavy focus on customer service and must always put the customer’s needs first. Why? The answer is simple, giving excellent customer service leads to a happy customer. I’d like to think that it’s obvious why we want happy customers! Unhappy customers are not good candidates for repeat business and more importantly they are also likely to become detractors. In this age of social media customers will often publicly comment on the support they receive. I would suggest that it is essential for every business ensure their customers become fans who are “promoters” rather than “detractors”.

Giving good customer service involves having well defined business processes, excellent information and a consistent repeatable approach. Agents need to gain access to key information in a timely manner and have solutions available to them to quickly respond to customer requests. Dynamics 365 helps companies achieve this critical aim. As you review these revision notes I hope you can clearly see how cases, knowledge base, SLAs, voice of the customer, Unified Service Desk and much more all come together to provide a set of tools to manage the process involved in supporting the customer.

You may have seen the diagram shown below before! It splits the Dynamics 365 into the applications that make up the entire solution. I would suggest that customer service influences all of these modules. However commonly we will be covering two applications from Dynamics 365, those being the “Customer Service” and “Field Service”. The Customer Service application provides facilities such as case management and an integrated knowledge base to handle customer requests. The Field Service application is closely related but has a focus on providing service in the field. Imagine your company supplies air conditioning units. It would be likely that you’d have a number of engineers who would visit customer sites to install, service and repair your air conditioning systems. It is in scenarios like this that the Field Service application comes into play.

Before “diving into” the specifics of various aspects of the Dynamics 365 Customer Service and Field Service applications it’s important to gain an understanding of key service principles, entities and any associated terminology. If you have been working with Dynamics 365 for any length of time these concepts should be pretty familiar but a bit of revision never hurt anyone!

The service module within Dynamics 365 can be used to address multiple customer scenarios. Including customers reporting faults, scheduling service visits or resolving issues. Or alternatively a customer may simply phone for some advice or guidance, in this scenario the use of the knowledge base may be essential. These types of scenario can be supported by business process flows which help guide the operators, ensuring a consistent approach.

It is important to understand the key record types / concepts applicable to servicing with Microsoft Dynamics 365. Some of these are covered at a high level in the table below. The concepts mentioned here will be expanded upon in my future posts.

Term / Record type Description
Customer Records When the term customer is used this can refer to the “contact” or “account” records that require service. In several situations you will find a signal field called “customer” that can link to either a contact or an account.
Cases Key record type in service management, each case represents a single incident of a service request. (In fact the term incident is often used to refer to a case, you should therefore consider these as interchangeable terms.) Companies may create cases for a multitude of reason, including handling a complaint, logging a service request or even simply recording the fact that a customer has a question which needs to be answered. As we will see in later posts, each case has a status. As cases are completed they change from an open status to resolved.
Work Orders Like cases work orders are requests for service. However in Dynamics 365 when we use the term work order we’ll be referring to a service that needs to be completed in the field. (Therefore within the Field Service application.)
Activities Interactions between a business and their customers important enough to track, typically including phone calls, emails, tasks, letters, faxes and appointments. Although beyond these out of the box activities other bespoke activity types can be created to reflect additional scenarios unique to a particular organization. It will be common for companies to use activities to log all activities with a customer regarding a case.
Resolution Activities Resolution activities are a “special” activity type regarding the resolution of cases, these are created when cases are resolved. And can later be used for reporting on service effectiveness. (Note: One case could, in theory, have multiple resolution activities. As it may be resolved, re-opened and resolved again.)
Knowledge Base Articles A knowledge base is a repository of informational articles used to help resolve cases. These maybe purely used internally by the customer service representatives or also shared externally. By emailing articles to customers or maybe by the article being made public via a customer service portal.
Entitlements Used to specify the amount of support services a customer is entitled, for example a new customer maybe entitled to 8 hours of phone support within the first three months of a contract. Entitlements include “entitlement channels” that further define how much support can be given by specific channels.
Service Level Agreements (SLA) A service level agreement defines level of service that your organization agrees to offer a customer. This maybe for the time to respond to a service request and / or the time to resolve a request. FYI, It is possible to link SLAs to specific entitlements.
Queues Queues are essentially lists, they offer a place to organize and store activities and cases waiting to be processed.
Subject Tree Hierarchical list of subjects an organization can use to classify service cases and other records
Products Products are defined in the product catalogue and can be used to provides a detailed view of service events at a product level
Goals Goals are used to establishes and tracks progress against target values for key performance indicators. They can be useful in sales situations for tracking progress towards to sales target but can also be used to measure service KPIs. (Key performance indicators)

Before we dive deeper, lets quickly look at some key areas that make up the service offerings within Microsoft Dynamics 365;

Item Description
Cases Management As already mentioned cases are the key entity used for servicing a customer, their basic usage is pretty straight forward but you will need to have an appreciation of several related topics. Including entitlements, service level and agreements.
Knowledge Base The knowledge base supports the creation of articles that maybe used to help resolve cases.
Interactive Service Hub (ISH) The interactive service hub (ISH) gives an enhanced user experience designed specifically to aid service agents.

Note:
I feel I should point out that v9.0 will replace the ISH with a new feature called Customer Service Hub (CSH). Whilst being delivered differently the CSH will provide comparable functionality. We need to keep in mind that the MB2-718 exam pre-dates the Dynamics 365 v9.0 release. Therefore CSH is not covered in the exam.

Unified Service Desk Unified Service Desk is a tool which brings together multiple technologies into a single interface. You can use USD to quickly create a “solution” which can help simplify the processes followed within high volume contact centres. (Regular readers of my blog might know I often write about this!)
Field Service Field Service is an application that helps organizations manage their field engineers. It adds many capabilities including work order creation and management, work order scheduling, mobile access for field agents, inventory management etc. (Regular readers of my blog might know I often write about this!)
Reporting Microsoft Dynamics 365 supports an organisations reporting requirements by making use of dashboards, goals and Power BI.
Customer Surveys Customer surveys are possible using the Voice of the Customer. This can be used to help obtain metrics on customer satisfaction levels following incidents of service.

Hopefully this post has given you an introduction into the concepts needed for the customer service certification (MB2-718).

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