MB-230: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service – Customer Service Overview

I am currently revising for the MB-230 exam. This exam is for Microsoft Dynamics 365 and covers all aspects of customer service. As I revise I plan to publish blog posts that collectively will become a complete revision guide for anyone embarking on the same journey as me. In this post I will give an overview of some of the basic concepts we can expect to find in customer service scenarios.

In my opinion, customer service is a critical element of Dynamics 365. I hold this opinion as all good customer relationship management (CRM) systems should include a heavy focus on customer service as they should always put the needs of the customer first. But why is this true?? The answer is simple … giving excellent customer service leads to a happy customer. It should be obvious why we want happy customers! Unhappy customers are not good candidates for repeat business and more importantly they are also likely to become social media detractors. Customers will often publicly comment on the support they receive! I would suggest that it is essential for every business to 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, scheduling, omnichannel and much more all come together to provide a set of tools to manage the critical business processes involved in customer service.

You may have seen diagrams similar to the one shown below many times before! It splits the Dynamics 365 into the applications that make up the entire solution. I would suggest that customer service influences most of these modules. However commonly customer service will be directly connected with two applications, 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.

The MB 230 exam will have a focus on the core customer service application. We have another exam which specifically covers Field Service scenarios. (MB 240.) Meaning you might need to be aware that the Field Service application exists but I’m not expecting to need to revise any Field Service topics as part of my MB 230 preparation.

It may also be important to remind ourselves that Dynamics 365 is “simply” a set of applications that are built on the Power Platform and make use of the Dataverse. (aka the database behind the Power Platform.)

Power Platform applications are made up of Power BI (Business analytics), Power Apps (application development), Power Automate (process automation) and Power Virtual Agents (intelligent virtual agents). Dynamics 365 Customer service is therefore a model driven Power App that may make use of all of the elements of the Power Platform and you can extend as required using the tools provided within the Power Platform.

This approach creates a powerful and extensible customer service application!

Before “diving into” the specifics of various aspects of the Dynamics 365 Customer Service 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 and 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” that require service. In several situations you will find one field called “customer” that can link to either a contact or an account.

Note: In the context of service the customer field never links to a Lead.

Cases The case is the 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. As we will see in later posts, each case has a status. As cases are progressed 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, typically including phone calls, emails, tasks, letters 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.

Posts Case resolution activities should not be confused with posts!

Posts are another concept which can be used to record key events on a table. In the example of cases this might involve the case being created, resolved and more.

Knowledge Base Articles A knowledge base is a repository of informational articles used to help resolve cases. These may be purely used internally by the customer service representatives or also shared externally. By emailing articles to customers or possibly by the article being made public via a customer service portal.
Entitlements Used to specify the amount of support services a customer is entitled to, 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.

Entitlements may also define which service level agreement (SLA) to apply to which customer.

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.
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

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

Item Description
Case 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.
Customer Service Hub (CSH) The term customer service hub refers to the Dynamics 365 app used to access all of the key features found in customer service module.

Commonly this will be the app that customer service agents use the most.

Note: If you happen to see the phrase “Interactive Service Hub” (ISH) then this will be referring to a comparable app we found in earlier versions of Dynamics 365.

Customer Service Workspace Customer service workspace is a relatively new customer service app. Like the customer service hub this provides all of the key features needed by customer service agents. But in addition it provides an interface similar to that found in “Omnichannel for Customer Service”. (More on that later!)
Unified Service Desk Unified Service Desk (USD) is a tool which brings together multiple technologies into a single interface. You can use USD to 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!)

Note: USD is aimed at scenarios often found in contact centres. Contact centre agents also now have the Omnichannel for customer service app.

Tip: From an MB 230 point of view, you may need to be aware of USD but I have not seen any specific references to USD in the skills measured statement. Therefore I am not expecting any detailed questions around USD.

Omnichannel for Customer Service Omnichannel for customer service is an app designed for agents working in a service contact centre. It provides a multi-session / multi-tab interface which with additional productivity enhancements allows agents to quickly handle customer queries.

In addition conversations from digital channels are routed to agents using Omnichannel for Customer Service. These channels can be very varies including web chat, Facebook messenger, Twitter and many more.

As mentioned above “Customer Service Workspace” and “Omnichannel for Customer Service” share the same interface approach.

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.
Reporting / Insights Microsoft Dynamics 365 supports an organisations reporting requirements by making use of dashboards, goals and Power BI.
Customer Voice Customer surveys are possible using the Customer Voice feature. This can be used to help obtain metrics on customer satisfaction levels following incidents of service.
Scheduling The customer service app includes the ability to route work to appropriate resources. This concept supports definition of working hours, resource skills and many more concepts all of which work together to create a sophisticated scheduling tool.

The scheduling is completed on a schedule board which gives a rich graphical representation of available agents and assigned “jobs”.

Power Virtual Agents Power virtual agents can be used in conjunction with Omnichannel for Customer Service. You might use a virtual agent to answer questions from a customer and if / when the virtual agent is unable to assist the customer it can perform a hand off from the virtual agent to a human.

Hopefully this post has given you a very quick introduction into the concepts needed for the customer service certification (MB 230) In later posts we will dive deeper into many of these concepts.

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