Charis specialise in helping utility providers support their most vulnerable customers access grants to clear energy debts. Over the last 15 years, they have helped their clients manage over £100m of funds, many of which to meet regulatory requirements.
To manage tens of thousands of requests for financial assistance each year, it’s essential that Charis can respond promptly to those most in need. The company relied on a bespoke application and a mixture of evolving manual paper-based processes to fill process gaps.
With a growing administrative burden and silos of data, it was becoming increasingly difficult to manage the process efficiently and deliver a high level of service to their clients’ customers.
Additionally, there were challenges in setting up new schemes because Charis’ IT systems were not flexible enough to accommodate the nuances of each client requirement or the features Charis wanted to offer their clients.
Another Microsoft Partner recommended Charis meet the Crimson team and discuss the problem. Charis’ team selected Crimson as their preferred partner, due to their track record and, more importantly, their willingness to invest time understanding Charis’ unique circumstances.
On further examination, Crimson recommended configuring Microsoft Dynamics 365 to meet the needs of the business.
Microsoft Dynamics 365’s flexibility, CRM functionality and powerful workflow tools made it an ideal donor product for developing unique workflows and a single view of the customer – all within a secure Microsoft cloud environment. Additionally, because Dynamics 365 worked with and like other Microsoft tools, it would be easier for users to adopt the system.
Approximately 90 percent of grant applications arrive through online forms. Crimson and Charis’ own IT team worked jointly to develop links between Dynamics 365 and the Charis’ .NET developed web-based application forms.
Replacing an ageing bespoke application and a reliance on the manual exchange of data files has enabled Charis to cut the grant application process substantially. Rather than waiting days, applicants can now find out in hours whether their enquiry meets the necessary criteria. The system prompts applicants for any missing information, minimising previously time-consuming back-and-forth conversations.
There is now a single view of applicants in the system, bringing together all necessary documents and data into a single, secure location. Microsoft Dynamics 365 also integrates with Charis’ telephone system, enabling the appropriate contact record to pop up on the user’s screen when there is an incoming phone call.
Dynamics CRM’s flexible search and list views enable the Charis team to prioritise those applicants most in need of help. With the inbuilt reporting dashboards, the leadership team have a single view over the key operational and financial indicators at any given time, allowing key management decisions to be made in real-time.
Following Crimson’s collaborative and iterative approach to projects, the system went live within five months of conception and was within budget.
“Choosing Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides our staff with a modern, flexible solution that will allow Charis to scale and meet the future needs of our clients. Crimson quickly got to grips with our requirements and the intricacies of our business, enabling them to actively contribute to an evolving solution. I am delighted that we are now able to provide an enhanced service to our clients and their customers, providing a much quicker and more holistic assessment service. ” – Sam Smith, Chief Operating Officer, Charis.