Marketing expert Kevin Stirtz urges companies to “know what your customers want most and what your company does best. Focus on where those two meet.” This astute advice is simple yet powerful. As a business owner, executive, or manager, you know that your clients are the cornerstone of your enterprise.
If you can find the intersection between your client’s concerns and your most successful services, you can build a loyal customer base to sustain your enterprise for years to come. The key is having access to the right information – how do you know what your customers are interested in? How can you tell where their interests align with your products? What do they really want that only your company can provide? How can you effectively address their needs?
In addition to knowing the right answers to these questions, it’s becoming increasingly important to have this data instantaneously. In our fast-paced world, customers expect to have their inquiries answered, tweets responded to, and orders shipped at a moment’s notice. To truly offer exceptional customer service and maintain your business, you need to immediately retrieve every relevant piece of information about any given client and correlate these details with what your company has to offer.
This is an overwhelming undertaking, to be sure. It might even seem impossible. Fortunately, in this digital era of business, advanced cloud-based business software can bring all the data you need to your fingertips in seconds. At SCS Cloud, our team of dedicated specialists is enthusiastic about helping businesses connect with their customers and expand their enterprises using state-of-the-art software.
We most often recommend NetSuite, the top cloud-based business software in the world. With its integration of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), eCommerce, PSA (Professional Service Automation), and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) programs operating from a single data source, this software suite addresses every aspect of your business (the vast majority of which relate directly to your customers). We’ve made it our mission to help all businesses grow with the power of NetSuite. This sophisticated software was designed to make every facet of administration easier, including and especially customer-related functions. Our team is here to help you make the most of everything NetSuite has to offer. That’s why we’ve dedicated the following NetSuite Orientation article (the third in our series) to the Customer Dashboard. Read on to learn more about this feature.
What is the Customer Dashboard?
To use the customer dashboard to your advantage, you first need to understand what it is. You may have heard the term “dashboard” thrown around in the digital world quite a bit without actually knowing what it means. According to Techopedia, “a digital dashboard is an electronic interface used to acquire and consolidate data across an organization. A digital dashboard provides in-depth business analysis, while providing a real-time snapshot of department productivity, trends and activities, and key performance indicators, etc.” Basically, a dashboard is a handy concentration of all the information you need about a given topic, pulled from your business’s database and updated frequently.
A customer dashboard, then, is this collection of data specifically about your clientele. According to NetSuite’s own Dashboards Guide, the software “includes a specialized dashboard that is available for every customer (including leads and prospects) in your system. The customer dashboard provides at-a-glance access to key customer’s data, so you do not need to search through multiple screens to gather and piece together the information you need.” This convenient combination of information is especially important in a software suite like NetSuite, since it means you can immediately pull up diverse types of data, from eCommerce transactions to customer service reports to related inventory.
A standard Customer Dashboard in NetSuite includes seven distinctive portlets (individual dynamic tables of information):
- Customer (default) runs along the left side and provides all of the basic data related to the customer (name, status, phone, email, sales representative assigned, etc.).
- The Key Performance Indicators portlet typically appears at the top right of the Customer Dashboard and includes the KPIs that could relate to this customer (i.e. Forecast for the fiscal year, Unbilled Orders, New Cases, and others).
- Customer Dashboard Links usually appears below KPIs and lists the links to various reports, transactions, and other pertinent functions.
- The Transactions portlet, which normally appears below the Customer Dashboard Links portlet, displays every transaction the customer was a part of, including the date, type, number, name, and status.
- Top 5 Items By Sales, which is directly below the Customer (default) portlet on the left side, shows the top five items ever purchased by this customer. This innovative feature analyzes the customer’s information to tell you which products are most popular with him or her.
- Finally, the Activities portlet at the bottom of the dashboard shows a record of all activities related to the customer across departments.
These are the classic portlets that appear in the Customer Dashboard. However, since one of NetSuite’s many merits is its near infinite customization capabilities, you can also personalize this dashboard to your particular needs.
How to Access this Multifunctional Feature
- Open NetSuite’s home screen.
- Go to the “Customers” tab in the middle of the blue bar at the top of the screen.
- Click “Customers” to open a dropdown menu.
- Hover over “Relationships” (directly under “Customers Overview” and above “Transactions”). This will open another dropdown menu to the right.
- Click “Customers” at the top of this dropdown menu. This will pull up a list of customers.
- Hover over the customer record you’d like to access and a new icon will appear (a blue half circle).
- Click this icon to navigate into the Customer Dashboard.
- From this point, you can access the standard configuration of portlets or your own customized version. a
By doing the above, you can have every relevant data point for any given customer on your screen at lightning speed.
When to Use the Customer Dashboard
If you’ve never used NetSuite or weren’t aware the Customer Dashboard existed, you might wonder how exactly you could utilize it in your day-to-day affairs. Since your customers are the centerpiece of your business, there are thousands of cases in which pulling up this dashboard could help you better serve them. A few examples include:
- During a customer service phone call. This is perhaps the most obvious relevant use for the Customer Dashboard, but endlessly practical. Whether a customer calls with a complaint, testimonial, or question, having every data point about him or her right in front of you can help you make the client feel heard, understood, and satisfied. The fact that you know exactly when he or she was last contacted, what his or her favorite items are, and when his or her last transaction processed will make you seem professional and leave the customer with a positive impression of the company.
- In preparation for contacting a prospect. A common business adage is, “the first sale is the hardest.” Especially if a potential customer hasn’t actually purchased anything from your company yet, it’s worthwhile to have every tool in your arsenal at the ready. Taking a minute to quickly pull up and study every piece of information you have can help you smoothly make a sale.
- While tracking an order. If you need to figure out what’s happening with a given shipment, it can be helpful to open the Customer Dashboard for the client it’s being sent to. Integrating all the data across the various portlets can help you understand the full picture of the situation. For example, you might realize that the order hasn’t shipped because the transaction never processed or the customer’s contact information is out of date.
- When streamlining your sales process. The Customer Dashboard presents a wealth of information about how the structures of your business actually function. Each customer can be used as a case study for how the various departments of your enterprise interact. For example, you can see from the activities portlet that a given customer was contacted by a sales representative not assigned to him or her, or notice that transactions only seem to go through for certain activities.
These are just a sampling of the many ways you can leverage the Customer Dashboard to your business’s benefit.
SCS Cloud is Here to Help You
Are you ready to dive in to the Customer Dashboard and NetSuite’s many other phenomenal features? SCS Cloud can help you with every element of NetSuite, whether you’re transitioning to this cloud-based business software suite or simply want to strengthen your existing system. We offer in-depth consultations, advanced custom development to personalize your programs (including your Customer Dashboard!), implementation services to help you put NetSuite to use, tech support, and training.
Do You Have More Questions About the Customer Dashboard?
SCS Cloud’s team of specialists are available to answer them! Contact us today to find out more about our offerings and schedule a free consultation.