Matthew Chestnut is a Senior Consultant at ThreeWill. He has over 20 years of software development experience around enterprise and departmental business productivity applications. He has a proven track record of quality software development, on-budget project management and management of successful software development teams.
Customer Experience in SharePoint
Customers interact with a business in numerous ways, whether browsing through the store or online catalog, asking questions in person or through email, purchasing product at point-of-sale or online and returning or exchanging merchandise after the sale. At each of these touch points is an opportunity to capture information about the experience your customer has with the process or people. Whether the customer experience is entered directly by the customer or via an astute employee, here are the top 5 reasons Microsoft SharePoint can assist with capturing this information:
1. Lists provide a versatile repository for structured data
SharePoint lists are the place to record the “who, what, when and where” of the customer interaction. As needs change, the list data can be enhanced, in place, to capture additional information about the customer experience without the need for data conversion or migration. Files attached to the list can help document the experience, whether they are photographs, email correspondence, or other content. SharePoint lists contain the “database” of customer information.
2. Search for similar customer experiences
Different customers often have similar experiences. SharePoint full-text search can be used to identify other related interactions to consolidate or remove duplicate information. Search can be executed interactively or programmatically depending on how it best fits the processing workflow. Results ranking can be used to allow the most pertinent results appear at the top of the results list. User experience can be greatly enhanced by integrating search results directly into the data entry screens, enabling search-as-you-type or search for duplicates at the initial point of data entry.
3. Workflows allow for custom routing, review and approval
SharePoint workflows are a method to automate, augment and enhance business processes. These workflows can send email notifications of newly added items, trigger approval steps as list items are reviewed and data is changed, and perform a myriad of other tasks, many without the need for custom programming, to support the business processes.
4. Retention policies can trigger reminder emails or even archive older content
SharePoint retention policies are triggers on list data or documents that occur when an item is deemed to have “expired.” Typical uses for retention policies include moving content to an archive repository when the content reaches a certain age and to send email reminders based on a number of days since the last interaction or the number of days an item has remained in a particular state or queue. Retention policies run once a week by default, but can easily be configured to run once a day.
5. Integration with Microsoft Office
A standard feature of SharePoint lists is the ability to export of data into Microsoft Excel. Additionally, Microsoft Access can read, query, process and report on SharePoint data, in real time, without the need to export and process the data locally. Microsoft Word can process Excel data, allowing for robust mail merge capability. Via the OpenXML SDK for Microsoft Office (software development kit) programmatic creation of Excel, Word and PowerPoint slides provide unlimited possibilities for presentation of customer experience data.
Microsoft SharePoint provides a rich out-of-the-box infrastructure for data related to customer interactions and experiences (as well as for many any other data-related needs.) The combination of list data, full-text search, workflows, retention policies and integration with Microsoft Office can cover a wide range of customer experience use cases, empowering your organization to streamline your business data collection and processing.
ThreeWill has the ability and experience to transform standard SharePoint lists and forms into enterprise level applications. Contact us to let us know how we can help you.