CRM 2011 – Getting started with customer service processes in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

There was a very interesting blog post on the Microsoft blog this week called Resources for Customer Service it had a link to a couple of articles on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM resource centre, which I think has some of the best articles explaining how to use CRM for new users on the internet.

If Microsoft could arrange these into a user manual it would be fantastic and really help users get up and running with CRM 2011 quickly and easily.  The problem I have at the moment is there are lots of great articles but they are not easy to find unless you search for them.

This is an example of the case workflow on CRM resource centre, it explains it much better than talking or writing about it in my opinion


There are two great resources for CRM 2011 users using the Service section of CRM.

Articles about customer service processes in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

Articles about customer service processes in Microsoft Dynamics CRM


below are the contents for the On Premise version, I think it covers a lot of the basic knowledge the user will need to get started and have a good overview of the calls/cases in CRM.


Getting started

9 steps to get started with customer service

These are the nine key things you should know about the customer service features of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, including terminology, quick tips, and using reports.

Read this article…

7 steps to get started with managing services

These are the key things you should know about managing services in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, including terminology, quick tips, and using reports.

Read this article…

Follow the life cycle of a case

Learn how to follow a case from initiating activity to resolution.

Read this article…

Organize and track your activities

Activities are used to track and record your interactions with customers. Follow an activity through a complete life cycle, from creating the activity though closing.

Read this article…

Track work items in queues

Track work items, such as activities or cases, using queues.

Read this article…

Using services

Learn how to manage human and physical resources when creating customer service calls.

Read this article…

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Maximize your productivity

Video: Getting started with cases

This video explains how cases can help you know your customer and provide better customer service. Length: 2:53 minutes

View this video…

Video: Simplify scheduling with services

In this video, you can learn how services can help you schedule service activities for your customers faster and more accurately. Length: 2:35 minutes

View this video…

Video: Improve customer service with contracts

This video introduces you to how contracts and contract lines can help you provide better customer service. Length: 2:18 minutes

View this video…

Video: Organize and centralize articles for your business

This video explains how to make critical knowledge available to everyone in your organization by capturing it in articles. Length: 2:06 minutes

View this video…

Personal customizations

Everyone can personalize Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Know the personalizations that everyone can perform so that you can focus on customizations that affect the entire organization.

Read this article…

CRM 2011 – Excellent Development resources

I stumbled on this page today, the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Developer Portal

CRM Developer portal

CRM MVP’s Wiki –

Brilliant page – Crash course in CRM 2011 development

I was very impressed with the page above, if you are starting out as a CRM developer then the above link is a really good start.


CRM 2011 Hub

The CRM resource centre

The CRM 2011 online resource centre

CRM 2011 – Free Developer Training Course for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Released

I saw this flash up on twitter the other day and when I have looked at it again I realised that this was released quite a while ago but it’s always good to refresh information.  The original link went to here which actually gives a very succinct summary of the training course

it covers these sections

  • Introduction to the Dynamics CRM 2011 Training Course
  • Solutions in Dynamics CRM 2011
  • User Experience Extensibility
  • Visualizations and Dashboards
  • WCF Web Services
  • LINQ and oData
  • Plug-ins
  • Processes
  • Client Programming
  • Silverlight
  • SharePoint and CRM
  • Azure
  • Upgrading from CRM 4.0 to CRM 2011
  • Dynamics Marketplace

The course is based around the excellent channel 9 videos and although it downloads 127 megs of data the videos are not downloaded and when you click on them it basically streams them off the internet.  I felt this was a bit disappointing because you might want to work on this offline but then really everyone is online these days.

I had to use CRM 2011 whilst it was in beta and these videos were extremely helpful, especially in terms of understanding OData, LINQ, solutions, WCF and Plugins.

to go download the course go here

Dynamics CRM 2011 Developer Training Course

to read about the different aspects of the training in more detail go to this page

an example is this is how they describe solutions in the training kit.

Solutions in Dynamics CRM 2011

Presentation/Video Description Hands-on Labs
Solutions – Data Modeling Describes the metadata-driven data model and tools that are used for customizing data to build xRM (Anything Relationship Management) and extended Microsoft Dynamics CRM business applications.
Solutions – Introduction Introduces the new Solutions feature that allows packaging of the customizations and code. Solution Packaging
Solutions – Managed and Unmanaged Covers managed and unmanaged solution package types.
Solutions – Publishing Explains various options for configuring and publishing a solution.
Solutions – Modularization Covers best practices for creating one or more solutions, particularly for modularizing and sharing components within a solution.
another useful link they have on that page is a link to the entity model
this would probably be pretty useful if you are starting out in CRM development, if you have been developing CRM for a while then you will have learnt about the relationships the hard way

CRM 2011 – Learn It or Lose It – Why CRM training is vital for success

I read a great article today in the CRM strategy section on the Crmbuyer website

The article had the title – Why does CRM Training get the Short Shrift?

This article made an excellent point which I have seen many times, companies often think that just by a new CRM system that it will magically fix all their problems, they believe not only will it fix the problems which made them buy the new CRM system but it will also fix other problems they didn’t even know they had.

I think this is the same kind of thinking where people think Social media will generate new sales by the bucket load and by creating a blog, getting a few people in the company to tweet a few random things, suddenly they will be fighting customers off.  Unfortunatly it isn’t that easy, creating your blog and twitter account is just the start of a long journey where you learn to use them.

CRM is a huge topic with a vast scope just plonking users in front of CRM, even CRM 2011 with it’s fancy dashboards isn’t going to help them not only know how to use CRM but importantly what CRM can do and how they can use it to solve their CRM problems or just increase efficiency of the companies CRM.

I think if a company doesn’t give it’s employees training in the capabilities of CRM then how can it expect the users to know how to use CRM and know what parts of CRM will help them solve certain problems.  I think it would be similar to buying someone a fancy sports car but then not showing them how to change gear so they just spend all the time driving slowly in first gear wondering why this car was so expensive.

The article has some fantastic quotes

Good training should inspire as well as inform; by seizing the opportunity that training presents, you can get your employees thinking not just about how to use the application but about new ways to use data. Remember that CRM is always a work in progress, and it’s always good to have help with that progress from the people who are closest to the customer.

This highlights one of the most important points of CRM, it’s about people taking control of their data.  CRM 2011 allows you to report and analyise all the data you put into CRM.  This allows people to start looking at their data in different ways, reporting on information they haven’t reported on before.  To do this you need to be taught how to manipulate the information in CRM you would find it difficult to get the most of CRM 2011.

These two paragraphs are very persuasive as to why companies should not look at CRM training as an extra cost they avoid paying, in the end it is costing them because they are not maximising their CRM software or getting the most out of their employees.

How and Why

First, training not only allows your employees to be competent in using the application — it also offers an opportunity to demonstrate exactly how the application will help them do their jobs.

Adoption is the big CRM killer, and without an understanding of both the mechanics of the application and the reasons for its implementation, users will be less likely to embrace the technology.

Second, good training should inspire as well as inform; by seizing the opportunity that training presents, you can get your employees thinking not just about how to use the application but about new ways to use data. Remember that CRM is always a work in progress, and it’s always good to have help with that progress from the people who are closest to the customer. That’s going to include a lot of folks who interact directly with the CRM application.

Finally, training needs to be an ongoing thing, at least for managers or people who can serve as internal trainers for your organization. CRM vendors introduce new features on a regular basis — especially in SaaS applications — and expecting employees to unilaterally catch on to how these features work and how they can help them do their jobs is rather presumptuous.

Learn It or Lose It

Without a bit of training to update them every so often, the amount of CRM horsepower you’re paying for that goes unused will grow over time. From the simple perspective of maximizing your investment, training is an important part of your CRM strategy.

This all seems clear in the right context. Why is training such an issue? I think the vendors are somewhat culpable. How many times have you heard about a SaaS application that was installed, up and running in a weekend, or less? When you hear such tales, you assume that the application’s actually being used by employees — so clearly, training is of minimal importance, right? Well, no.

Vendors ought to be more realistic in how they frame these stories. More importantly, they need to function increasingly as consultants to their customers, helping them with the soft-skills parts of creating a CRM strategy. That includes people and processes. Training fits neatly into that mix.

Released Today – Dynamics CRM 2011 Developer Training Kit

I have been watching the Developer training videos which I blogged about in this post a few days ago.  These were the videos that on the channel 9 microsoft channel.

I have been watching these video’s and found them really useful so why am I now getting excited about the Dynamics CRM 2011 Developer Training Kit.

Well if you watched those videos you see the slides and the speaker going through some code and a presentation.

So now we can view the presentations, watch the videos and we also have Labs to walk us through the new functionality.

You can download the Dynamics CRM 2011 Developer Training Kit

this is how Microsoft describes it

This training kit is for .NET developers to learn the development features of Dynamics CRM and help them build applications using Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and CRM Online. Microsoft Dynamics CRM uses familiar components such as WCF & oData web service endpoints, JavaScript, Silverlight, .NET 4, Workflow Foundation 4, SQL reporting and more; making it a general purpose framework for line-of-business applications. This kit drills into the details of such development and explains how developers can connect, extend, and embed their applications with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.The training kit includes various resources to help you learn the development features of Dynamics CRM. It includes:

  • Presentations – Presentation decks in PowerPoint (.pptx) format that you can use to learn the concepts.
  • Videos – Video recordings of the presentation along with demos delivered by expert trainers.
  • Hands-on Labs – Hands-on labs with detailed instructions and source code that will walk you through various development features.


If you haven’t watched the videos and gone through the labs for any of the areas, this is a great place to learn, the video tutorials are really slick, good explanation and now we have the Lab’s we can do it ourselves.

This training is easily as good as the labs in the SDK and because of the videos in some areas it is better because the speaker often helps explain the features in a more interesting way than just reading it from a manual.

I think these videos are a great introduction to the new features but you will have to use the SDK to learn the new features in more depth and I often find the SDK helps dig you out of a whole (as well as turning you around in circles often).

I think the real benefit of this training is we know have pretty much all of the information you need in a couple of places, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time looking around for information and can just focus on using it.