A Look into Microsoft’s New Application
Many people know that Office 365 Business Premium offers companies cloud-hosted email and the Office 2016 productivity suite. In this post, I’ll be reviewing an additional tool that comes along with the purchase of Microsoft’s software as a service subscription: Outlook Customer Manager.
Outlook Customer Manager was announced in late 2016 and then released for businesses to use in 2017. Think of Outlook Customer Manager as a customer relationship management tool that is added directly to Outlook and has a dedicated mobile app provided by Microsoft. This tool is built to pull current communication information from Outlook such as emails, meetings, and contacts to make sure that customer discussions and recent opportunities are not lost. It also provides a “today” work list with follow-up action items and deadlines. This client information can be shared with individuals inside your company so knowledge isn’t lost if other team members need to step in and assist with customers. Think about inside-to-outside sales rep hand-offs or sales support to management escalation. Interactions with clients are kept to provide a consistent relationship that can be built on and help both company and customers grow.
This is currently targeted to only Business Premium at the time of writing this article, Q3 2017. It is not available on Office 365’s larger business E3 and E5 offerings. Microsoft positioned Outlook Customer Manager as a CRM tool that allows small businesses to grow, communicate, and be agile. Microsoft acknowledges this tool as the first step into empowering businesses. When the business grows and needs more extensive tools, the move to Microsoft Dynamics 365 for customer, process, and financial management is their recommended path.
I have always been an advocate for using the tools you have. Outlook Customer Manager is a good added value and first step into customer management relationship applications. Other competitors in this field include more robust management tools and dashboards that a sales managers or directors would like to see. Options like that would come from full feature CRM like Salesforce, karmaCRM, or Insightly to name a few.