In This Article


    9th Day of CRMmas: Interactive Service Hub Improves The North Pole’s Operations

    The North Pole (aka TNP) is a worldwide manufacturing and distribution company. TNP has a high degree of seasonality in their business with the majority of orders being processed and fulfilled in the 4th quarter of the calendar year. Many orders have a delivery date in the last week of December, so their manufacturing (just-in time, make to order), fulfillment and distribution operations must run at peak efficiency during this time.

    The vast majority of employees of The North Pole are known as Extra Lively Fieldworkers (aka ELFs). They operate in the mailroom, order entry, manufacturing, quality control, fulfillment and transportation departments. The head of the company does not carry the title of CEO or President. His official title is Senior Administrator for North Pole Technology and Activities (aka SANTA).

    What if the SANTA and all his ELFs went high tech for service and support? What might that look like? It might look something like this…

    The North Pole has recently hired our firm to improve its customer service efficiency and throughput. We will be handling Tier 1 and 2 service requests directly from The North Pole. TNP purchased a Support Contract with an Entitlement that allows for 1000 support cases: 250 each for the Email, Web, Phone and Twitter support channels. We recently upgraded to Dynamics CRM 2016 and the new Interactive Service Hub (or Engagement Hub) will be a perfect way to manage our support work for The North Pole.

    A typical day in the life of our TNP service team begins with our Tier 1 service reps in the Tier 1 Dashboard…

    Tier 1 Dashboard

    and our Tier 2 service managers in the Tier 2 Dashboard…

    Tier 2 Dashboard


    The vertical lists of records are called “streams” with the following ones available in the out of the box dashboards:

    • Tier 1 dashboard streams include: Active Cases, My Active Cases, My Resolved Cases, My Draft Emails, My Received Emails, My Tasks, All Queues and the default timeline filter is “this week.”
    • Tier 2 dashboard stream is just Active Cases, (and we noticed the default timeline was “last week”).

    Our service reps and managers can be very action-oriented by quick glances into the streams to see what appears as new records at the top of each stream. Reps can easily filter the streams by using the chart elements as drill-down filters, for example only show me the cases related to the Toy-Making Conveyor.

    Filter by Toy Making Coneyor2

    Or by using the timeline filter in the upper right corner of the dashboard:


    Or by using the full filter tool by clicking the funnel icon at the top of the dashboard:


    After a few weeks working with the out of the box dashboards, we’ll engage in a requirements and design session with our internal CRM business analyst to create some new dashboards customized specifically to meet the needs of our work processes with The North Pole. Dashboards have more user-friendly record actions embedded into the streams. For example, the service manager needs to reassign two cases because the service rep is out today, so he ticks both cases in the stream and chooses the Add to Queue action so that an agent that is available can pick them up.


    Even more actions are available when only one record is selected, such as Resolving or canceling the case, applying a routing rule, or setting the do not decrement flag so the case will not be charged to the entitlement.


    The following entities are available to be managed here: Cases, KB Articles, Accounts, Contacts, Activities, Queues and Social Profiles.


    Forms in the Engagement Hub are simplified, easier to use and much more action-oriented. The following is a small list of new features that our reps and managers love:

    • BPF flow bar simplified and minimized, with on demand expansion of fields in each stage
    • Enhanced Timeline section on each form is designed to be action-oriented and easily filtered
    • Timeline “quick actions” make our reps more productive
    • Right side “reference panel” allows reps to only view the related data when they need it.
    • We can easily configure the forms and reference panel for the most important fields and sub-grids for ease of use, speed and simplicity

    You can see by the samples listed here how the redesigned Case form can make our agents more productive.

    Summary includes main case data and Timeline:

    Case Form - Summary


    Details (in the form):

    Case Form - Details


    Case Relationships (in the form):

    Case Form - Relationships


    SLA portion of the form:

    Case Form - SLA


    When an agent wants to use the guided process to ensure all of the correct steps are being followed, a simple click on the chevron opens up the pertinent steps such as:

    Case Form - Process Flow expanded


    A quick review of the Timeline portion of the Case form highlights its simplicity and ease of use:


    Hit the Plus sign to quickly add emails, tasks, notes, appointments or phone calls.


    Hit the search icon and quickly jump into a search box or click the filter icon for a more advanced filter of the timeline including a date filter and an item type filter.

    image image

    A feature that we haven’t taken advantage of yet but will be doing so shortly is the new Knowledge Management feature of the Interactive Service Hub. We have a totally new and modern way of creating, approving, and publishing KB articles, and the search/include related articles functionality for Cases is pretty cool. This new KB functionality takes the place of the previous Knowledgebase in the CRM Service area. In the traditional CRM user interface we can still find our old KB Articles. We haven’t lost that functionality as you can see it still appears in the Service area under the entity name Articles.

    Articles - Traditional CRM


    However, by clicking that link “Access it here” we can hop right over to the new Knowledge Base functionality in the Interactive Service Hub. Here is the start of an article we are writing to help the repair shop quickly learn how to repair the runner of SANTA’s sleigh.

    New KB Article Form - Content

    New KB Article Form - Summary

    We can relate old articles to new articles, we can create major and minor versions, we can translate articles, utilize queues and business process flows with the new KB functionality. In addition, there is a modern content editor embedded in the new article form so we can create modern looking, professional articles and share them directly via the web to all of the ELFs at The North Pole.


    There is even a tracking system to show us how many times, when and by whom the article has been viewed and on which Cases the article has been used.


    Finally, we can use the new Knowledge Manager Dashboards to guide Support Managers in their efforts to control the article drafts, approvals and publishes.

    Knowledge Manager Dashboard

    And the My Knowledge Dashboard for individual authors:

    My Knowledge Dashboard

    With a well-stocked sleigh of KB Articles in the Interactive Service Hub, our Tier 1 support reps can easily search and find relevant articles as they research and resolve support cases.


    In conclusion, we are so excited that Dynamics CRM 2016 has made this new functionality available to our TNP Support Team and we feel like it’s going to be a very merry CRMas for SANTA and the ELFs of The North Pole!