With disparate booking systems, Slough Community Leisure found it difficult to manage customer information and create relevant marketing campaigns that generate income. By implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM, known now as Dynamics 365, Slough Community Leisure enhanced their marketing efforts, improving customer retention and increasing revenue to deliver better, broader services and facilities for the local community.

In summary, Microsoft Dynamics CRM has enabled Slough Community Leisure to:

  • Effectively manage customer relationships and lifecycle, from initial enquiry or lead through to after sale activity
  • Benefit from a single centre where client data can be organised efficiently
  • Experience familiarity, functionality and flexibility in the day to day management of communications
  • Improve customer retention and attraction by facilitating excellent customer service
  • Increase revenue which is then ploughed back into the business to deliver better, broader services and facilities for the local community

The challenge of integrating disparate systems

“Slough Community Leisure runs eight sites across Slough, each of which is very different in terms of product and nature,” explains Group Marketing Manager, Scott Jonsmyth-Clarke.

“Up until the end of 2011 we had four different booking systems which, as you can imagine, made data control and any form of marketing strategy very difficult indeed. We needed a system that could pull everything together and enable us to segment and profile data to provide enhanced marketing opportunities for our sales people to follow up and secure revenue. At the same time we wanted to make it faster and easier for customers to make bookings and enquiries via our website.”

With a charitable organisation like SCL, more revenue meant more money being ploughed back into facilities to the benefit of the whole community. However, as Scott is eager to point out, the brief wasn’t simply about increasing revenue. “We wanted to improve the whole customer experience whilst ensuring that our sales teams were on the same page and able to follow up leads quickly and easily.”

Finding the right partner

SCL needed to find a CRM solution that was not only scalable and which would grow with the business but which could be configured to meet their very unique brief.

“I did a lot of research over a period of 8 or 12 months and Microsoft Dynamics CRM came across as a particularly strong contender,” Scott explains. “In fact Microsoft Dynamics seemed to be very capable in a number of different ways, one being that it could be customised to suit our very unique needs. Also, unlike many of the products we’d looked at, Microsoft Dynamics could be hosted on the premises rather than in the cloud.

Scott explains that Microsoft Dynamics met many of his needs as regards recording interactions and transactions with customers and potential customers. “There were some great graphical elements which made the solution extremely user-friendly and simple to master. The reporting element appeared to be especially strong. Also, we liked the way Microsoft Dynamics could provide our web service, collecting web data and channelling it through the right workflows to the correct sales people so teams were able to follow up new enquiries more effectively.”

Scott also felt that the access for administrators was extremely good. “I can change all manner of elements within the application without the need to bring in a developer,” he points out. “I know that, with some of the other products I looked at, that wouldn’t be possible.”

Initially Scott approached three companies looking at a range of solutions before finally settling on the Microsoft Dynamics product from Xperience Group. “The main reason we went with Xperience was that they immediately understood what we were trying to achieve. We had very specific requirements and Xperience seemed to be able to provide solutions for each and every one of them.

Scott explains that the scoping sessions he had with Xperience were “very detailed” and gave him “plenty of opportunity” to describe what the business needed to achieve. “I was also impressed with Xperience’s clear communication and quotation processes. Basically the decision to go with Xperience came down to the level of communication we received and the amount of detail that they put into the project.”

Revenue gains

Microsoft Dynamics was installed in November 2011. “Some eighteen months on, it’s a product that is still growing with us,” explains Scott. “We are a relatively small support team whereas in another organisation there might be more people managing the application, but it’s proving quick, efficient and easy to use.”

Scott explains that they had a bit of a slow start. “But that was down to us operationally and nothing to do with the product or Xperience. However 8 or 12 months down the line we were definitely seeing enhanced levels of income as a direct result of using Microsoft Dynamics.

“These days our entire operation is more streamlined and efficient which, of course, enables us to make better informed decisions at all levels. In fact the Microsoft Dynamics CRM product does everything on our initial brief – from the way we can analyse and control data through to segmentation and profiling that ensures promotions get through to the right people. Yes, we’ve definitely noticed improvements and are certain that Microsoft Dynamics will continue to grow with us as we go into the future.”

Scott has also found Xperience’s support services invaluable. “With any bespoke installation there will always be a few snagging issues,” he says. “But, right from the start, Xperience were excellent. It’s easy to get hold of their helpdesk and queries are always turned around quickly. And if they can’t fix the issue then and there, they’ll go away and research the answer. For example I know they’ve approached Microsoft direct on my behalf on more than one occasion and I really appreciate that.

“In short, Xperience have been great and so has the product. Microsoft Dynamics is user friendly, it’s very easy to train people to use it and – to be honest – it’s met our needs perfectly. It does everything we wanted it to do and probably more on top.”

About SCL

Establishes in 2000, Slough Community Leisure  manages eight different leisure facilities across the town. As a not-for-profit charitable organisation, all profits are reinvested back into the facilities to deliver a better, broader portfolio of services to the local community.