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A few weeks ago I launched a demo survey built on Voice of the Customer, the brand new survey tool from Microsoft. The goals I had for this exercise were twofold: 1) see how these type of interactive tools could be used in live events like eXtremeCRM 2016 Warsaw, and 2) gain some experience on what it is actually like to work with incoming survey response data inside Dynamics CRM. In this post I’ll mainly be focusing on the latter one, although the example data we’ll be looking at are the live answers you & other readers of this blog submitted via the eXtreme MVP Survey.
As you may know, Voice of the Customer (or VoC as we’ll refer to it from now on) is a pure XRM solution. Although the actual customer facing survey forms are of course not presented via the Dynamics CRM client UI, everything that you use for configuring the survey questions and logic, as well as the incoming survey responses, is managed with CRM entities and stored into the CRM database. The reason this is such a big deal is that most of you will already possess the skills needed for leveraging such data via views, charts and dashboards as it’s just XRM all the way. Furthermore, you’re free to design business processes around the survey functionality with tools like real-time workflows or business rules. Naturally you’re also able to interact with the survey entities and records via the latest CRM Web API, should you come across some integration scenarios where data needs to either flow in or out to another system.
The flip side of this coin is that VoC is unfortunately very XRM-ish to work with. If you compared it to dedicated survey apps that do nothing but questionnaire design (like SurveyMonkey, Surveypal and the likes), survey publishing and response data analysis, then there’s still quite a big gap for Microsoft to work on bridging when it comes to the end user experience of this tool. In a way this is quite understandable since the value proposition of VoC really is all about the tight integration with your customer data and the ability to send survey invitations automatically as a part of your customer facing processes; such as a survey link being emailed to a customer after a support case is closed in CRM, to gather quick ratings and design automatic escalation paths if the KPI’s are not met. Nevertheless, since VoC does also support creating pretty advanced surveys for collecting quantitative data from a broad target group in more traditional campaign style satisfaction surveys, as well as anonymous survey links presented on website, it’s good to understand what it’s like analyzing such data inside Dynamics CRM.
There are a lot of components in the VoC solution right out of the box. First off, there are four SSRS reports: Survey Summary, Question Summary, Net Promoter Score and Survey Export. The first two are general purpose reports with tables and charts summarizing the data either across a single survey or a specific question, as illustrated in the screenshots shown here. The NPS report is naturally aimed for this particular survey type, whereas the export one is a single huge matrix for dumping out the raw survey response data into Excel for further manipulation.
For more interactive data analysis there are eight dashboards in the VoC solution. However, these may not be all that useful for many real life scenarios, since they suffer from the same limitation as all Dynamics CRM dashboards: there are no global filters you can apply for all the dashboard components. Meaning, unlike with an SSRS report launched from CRM, you can’t set the context of the dashboard to be a specific survey. Yes, with the new “interactive experience dashboards” introduced in CRM 2016 you do get this type of filters, but since right now those features are limited to the Interactive Service Hub only (which in turn has a fair number of limitations for general use), it’s not exactly the kind of solution we’d need right here.
That doesn’t mean we couldn’t build pretty dashboards to summarize our survey responses, though. I had a go at this with the eXtreme MVP Survey and it turned out pretty well. Have a look (click for a larger image):
In the survey form I had three pages full of questions and I constructed the corresponding pages as personal CRM dashboards. This allowed me to both monitor the incoming responses during the survey data collection period as well as present the results to the audience at the MVP Showcase session in eXtremeCRM. It looks good, it appears very familiar to existing CRM users and it gets the job done without having to resort to any complex report development. [Read more…]
If you’re a Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner in EMEA then eXtremeCRM is definitely an event you don’t want to miss. This spring the event was arranged in Warsaw, Poland, and I had the pleasure of not only attending but also contributing to some of the content at the conference. Together with 8 other CRM MVPs, we all presented in our own sessions, did a joint “ask the MVPs” showcase and also got the chance to talk with many of the awesome Dynamics CRM community members at our Team eXtreme Pitcrew booth. Thanks to everyone who came around to compete in a lap of Forza 6 with the MVPs!
It was the first eXtremeCRM event where I was not only attending the breakout sessions but also speaking at one session of my own. The topic that I ended up covering was something that has been touched upon also in this blog a few times: user experience of CRM systems. In addition, the focus of my presentation was specifically on the no-code configuration possibilities and how they can impact the solution UX, in good and bad. (It seems to be a common misconception among the MVP’s that I would know something about writing custom code, when in fact I’m almost illiterate when it comes to the CRM SDK. But anyway…). You can find my presentation slides below, or access them via this direct link to Docs.com.
In my session I covered quite a wide variety of topics. To start with, I wanted to address the business impact of CRM system UX and provide some tools for demonstrating why user experience not just about application usability but really about the organization’s ability to deliver great customer experiences. Then I reviewed some of the basic CRM customization best practices that we all should keep in mind when configuring our solutions (but which are all too easy to forget when dealing with schedule constraints in CRM deployment projects). I then explored the concept of how Dynamics CRM could be made to feel more responsive to the end user’s actions via tools like Business Rules, Quick View Forms and Real-time Workflows. Finally I highlighted the importance of continuously maintaining the UX of a CRM environment when both the platform, the usage patterns as well as the ecosystem around it keep on evolving at an ever increasing pace in the cloud.
At eXtremeCRM there’s never a shortage of interesting sessions to attend, nor the amount of great new CRM roadmap insights that Jujhar Singh and the other members of Microsoft’s organization are there to share with the community. In an attempt to capture some of the highlights from the event, I compiled them into the following Sway presentation that includes content shared on Twitter via the #eXtremeCRM hashtag.
That’s all for today, but do check back for the next blog post where I’ll be sharing some of the results from the Voice of the Customer survey that we did for the MVP session at eXtremeCRM.
My favorite podcast by far is CRM Audio. In fact, it’s the only podcast I regularly follow, since whenever I put my headphones on, quite often it will be for playing something from Spotify or Mixcloud to keep me from being distracted by people talking around me. Anyway, the podcasts that Joel, George and Shawn record about the latest news from the Dynamics CRM world together with their guest stars always provide some interesting insights that you can’t catch from the blogosphere. If you haven’t subscribed to it yet, I encourage you to give it a go.
In episode 21 of CRM Audio, titled “That’s Not A Survey”, these CRM tipsters explored the brand new Voice of the Customer solution and discussed how to position it in relation to other tools like ClickDimensions Surveys and the likes. As you may have noticed from my previous blog post, I’ve also spent a bit of time playing around with VoC, since I see quite a lot of potential with this XRM based survey engine.
One of the misconceptions around VoC that I’ve come across a few times before was also mentioned in the podcast was about conditional questions in a survey. It’s quite a basic requirement from any more advanced online surveys that the remaining questions should be adapted based on the earlier answers that the user has given. Call it “skip logic” or conditional show/hide, this would be something that a well designed survey would often need to apply, so that it adapts to the customer’s scenario being studied and can branch into different directions if parts of the questions are not relevant in a particular path. The misconception here is that in the Voice of the Customer survey designer UI there doesn’t appear to be a way to define such conditional logic. However, VoC does have this functionality already today.
Being a very recent addition to Microsoft’s portfolio, and having been delayed from the original CRM 2016 release schedule, the features of VoC aren’t very well documented at the moment, nor is there much training material available for instructing users how to get familiar with the tool. The regular readers of Surviving CRM might recall that VoC was actually called Mojo Surveys when MS acquired it one year ago. This means that documentation does exist, but it just hasn’t been remade into Microsoft’s format yet. Here’s a little tip: Google for mojo surveys filetype:pdf and see what you’ll find…
How the “skip logic” is done in VoC surveys is via a feature/entity called Response Routing. Found from the related records menu under a survey record, this is where you can define both the response conditions under which the routing should take place as well as the response actions that should be carried out when the conditions are met (or not met). A condition would be associated with the response given to a particular question and evaluated via “equal/greater/less” type of operators. Below you see a simple example of a single condition per response routing, but you could also group multiple conditions together via AND/OR operator.
The actions that you can take based on the conditions are split into two categories: client and server. As you may guess, the client side actions are performed during survey runtime, similar to client side scripts on CRM forms. Server actions are not performed until the survey response is submitted into the CRM database (like plugins), at which time it will be too late to affect what questions were presented to the user. So, the most interesting actions will be client side, which allow us to determine show/hide actions for questions or sections of a survey page, skip to a specific page, end the survey or even direct the user to a whole different survey.
In the example of the eXtremeCRM MVP Survey which I published together with my previous post, I added a Response Routing on the page 1 question “are you attending eXtremeCRM 2016 in Warsaw”:
If the user selects the answer option “Definitely!” then a further set of three questions will be revealed underneath that question on the same page. Similarly, because I also built response actions for the reversed scenario, if they change the answer value and click “I’ll have to skip it” then these additional questions are again hidden in real time on the survey page.
As you can see, VoC does already contain quite nice functionality in the first version that’s been released now. There are many more features to discover, such as piping dynamic data fields into surveys, so let’s hope that Microsoft will publish tutorials that showcase the real potential of these VoC surveys – not to mention the possibilities of what you can do with the response data as it flows into your XRM environment!
One word of warning is in order here: currently there’s a known issue with the Voice of the Customer solution that will break the CRM v8.0 OData feeds (the new OData v4 endpoint) if you install it into your environment. If you then try to build a report with Power BI Desktop and want to use CRM Online as the data source, you may run into an error dialog saying “The field ‘regardingobjectid_msdyn_surveyresponse’ already exists in the record.” Microsoft is aware of this bug and is working on a fix, but if you are relying on Power BI for your production CRM Online reporting, then it’s maybe better not to deploy VoC outside of your sandbox environment just yet. [Read more…]