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AFEX Case Study

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gives Foreign Currency Exchange Company a 360-degree View of Customers and Business Operations


Country or Region: United States

Customer Profile

Associated Foreign Exchange (AFEX) is a foreign currency exchange company. Based in Encino, California, the company has offices around the world, providing a range of international payment and foreign currency exchange services.

Business Situation

Because the company tailors its services to meet the business needs of its customers, getting a comprehensive view of the operations associated with its customer is necessary for AFEX processes. But AFEX’s customer service system was outdated and prevented the company from providing outstanding customer service.


By using the detailed workflow functionalities and reporting capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, AFEX experienced thorough insight into customer interactions with meticulous records of both data and sales activities.


Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides Associated Foreign Exchange the necessary functionalities for enhancing sales efficiency and increasing data visibility across our global operations. - Michael Downing, CIO, AFEX

Associated Foreign Exchange (AFEX) is a foreign exchange company that caters to more than 10,000 customers belonging to diverse industries and businesses throughout the globe. Based in Encino, California, AFEX has multiple offices located worldwide that offer clients international payment and foreign exchange services, including foreign currency drafts, wire transfers, risk management tools, and designated corporate account managers. Because clients have different transaction and currency requirements according to their business needs, AFEX prides itself on customizing its extensive range of services to fulfill a customer’s specific company obligations. But despite wishing to provide premium customer service to all of its clients, AFEX’s efforts were hindered by an outdated customer service system that could not give the company the comprehensive oversight of operations that it needed. AFEX soon found that the in-depth workflow and queue functionalities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM delivered the enhanced data-reporting capabilities and detailed organization of processes it required for providing its clients with exceptional customer service. And because security is the utmost priority for the company, the role-based security across the Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution ensures that confidential customer information receives the highest protection.


The stable platform of Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows us the ability to integrate with other applications, which gives our company a solid, flexible foundation that we can scale to meet future business needs. - Michael Downing, CIO, AFEX

Based in Encino, California, AFEX has a worldwide network of offices that provide an expansive range of international payment and foreign exchange services to a broad and varied customer base. AFEX manages all phases of a client’s foreign payment needs, from providing foreign currency drafts, wire transfers, risk management tools, and corporate account managers, to offering risk consultation and transaction execution services.

With a customer pool composed of more than 10,000 active commercial customers representing a wide swath of various industries, including importers and exporters, educational and financial institutions, small businesses, and multinational corporations, AFEX understands that each customer follows a different set of regulations and requirements with regard to foreign exchange transactions and payments. As these conditions can be unique to a particular customer, AFEX takes great pride in the fact that the company modifies its payment and exchange services to meet the specific requirements of its customer, ensuring that the customer uses the right services according to its business requirements.

But even though customer service is a core tenet of AFEX’s business practices, the previous system that the company was using to store its customer information was outdated and unable to keep up with the high volume of reporting and pre-sales activities that the company performs across its global offices. The system also did not provide the functionalities that the company needed to continue with its business growth and expansion. In order to keep up with business demands and continue offering its customers the quality service that AFEX stands on, the company searched for a software solution that could completely fulfill its requirements.


With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, AFEX received extensive organization and recording of the company’s engagement with customers from the very beginning steps—the pre-sales process that first identifies an individual or company as a prospect—to the end steps—converting the prospect into an active account once the prospect signs on for the company’s services, and then managing the account from that point after.

In the beginning prospecting stages, an AFEX sales representative is required to go through a lengthy series of steps, such as financial checks, background checks, finding credit limits, making other validations, etc., before AFEX finally approves a prospect as a customer. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the process for approving a prospect as a customer (referred to as "on-boarding") is a step-by-step workflow that enables a sales representative to follow all the stages of the first step, and then when that first step is completed, the system then allows the sales representative to automatically move on to the next.Through these automated workflows, sales representatives rest assured that no crucial steps are missed during the critical on-boarding process, knowing that each prospect is thoroughly examined to ensure that the company will not experience any potential issues or liabilities after approval.

An example of the automation that makes the sales representatives’ tasks flow smoother and more accurately than on the previous system is with the automation of phone call activities in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Because AFEX salespeople perform such a high volume of phone calls, an organized process was required for planning and structuring these calls to ensure that no calls slipped through the cracks. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the next stages of phone call activities are set up to automatically schedule once one step is completed. For example, once a salesperson finishes a call, the CRM system instantly creates another phone call activity for the individual to perform in the future, providing even the due date by when the person is supposed to call. By enhancing their call activities through automation (something the company was not able to do in its old system), AFEX sales representatives experience faster call processing, and the ability to keep up with the high number of call requirements.

Not only do system workflows provide clear, well-defined sales procedures, the queue functionalities in Microsoft Dynamics CRM also enhance task organization and management. In the CRM system, multiple tasks can be assigned to a sales representative at once, with the sales representative able to go into the queue and state his or her progress on the item assigned. With task queues, the sales team has greater accountability for its assignments, as well as improved visibility of processes across the board.

In addition to system workflows that reduce errors and make the sales process more efficient, the native integration of Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Outlook also assists sales representatives by allowing e-mail actions to be integrated into the Microsoft Dynamics CRM system. For example, some of the functionalities that the Outlook integration provides salespeople is the ability to convert a prospect e-mail into a contact in the system with one click of a button, and the ability to instantly track e-mail correspondence with a customer.


Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s extensive reporting capabilities give AFEX a comprehensive, detailed look into our teams’ customer activities and correspondence, equipping us with an accurate overview of our customer base. - Patricia Julaju, Global Operations Manager, AFEX

Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides AFEX with the in-depth workflow and reporting capabilities that seamlessly coordinate the tasks of AFEX employees, and easily control the high volume of prospect and customer data that flows through the company. By enhancing the company’s task and data processes, Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows AFEX to offer its customers the better customer service that comes with improved operational efficiency and data management.

Robust Safeguards Against Data Duplication

On the previous customer service system that AFEX used, the system’s inability to accommodate the size and complexity of AFEX’s global operations created annoying inefficiencies that wasted the company’s time and resources. For example, the ineffectual duplicate detection capabilities of the old system clogged the company’s database with duplicate records. With the old system, in order to find and flag duplicates, the characters of the information that the company was searching for had to match up exactly with the duplicate. So, if there was a spacing difference or word that was spelled differently, it would not show as a duplicate. Microsoft Dynamics CRM, however, safeguards against such problems with its powerful duplication detection capabilities and data cleansing jobs, saving AFEX time and energy from having to deal with easily avoidable errors.

Role-based Security Ensures Highest Protection

Because the nature of AFEX’s foreign currency exchange business means handling sensitive and confidential customer information, the role-based security of Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides customers ease of mind by offering the highest protection for their information. Once a prospect is converted into a customer of the company, the customer’s information is locked so that only certain departments and individuals can view and access it. AFEX employees are given specific CRM login credentials according to their job function, meaning that when they log in to the system, they are allowed to see only the information that their credentials allow.

Specialized Dashboards and Views Offer an Instant Picture of Sales Activities

Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s dashboards and views for management reports provide a graphical representation of sales data that allows managers to understand data at a glance. For example, a manager can set up his or her dashboards to show pie charts of the currencies that the customers trade in, the number of prospects per salesperson, and so on. With the CRM views, a manager can also see the progress of his or her salespeople in the sales process. For example, a manager can view which step a salesperson is at during the call stage—whether the salesperson is at the introductory stage or the more advanced meeting stage. With dashboards and views, managers gain a thorough and accurate report of whichever performance metrics they choose to view, enabling them to gain a clearer understanding of the stages that each individual member of their team is at, and to act accordingly.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s role-based security interface enables financial institutions to feel completely secure in keeping confidential customer information in the system’s database. - Sandeep Walia, Executive Vice President, Hitachi Solutions

For More Information

For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at 1-800-426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at 1-877-568-2495. Customers who are deaf or hard of hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at 1-800-892-5234 in the United States or +1 905-568-9641 in Canada. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to: www.microsoft.com.

Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics is a line of integrated, adaptable business management solutions that enables you and your people to make business decisions with greater confidence. Microsoft Dynamics works like familiar Microsoft software, such as Microsoft Office, which means less of a learning curve for your people, so they can get up and running quickly and focus on what’s most important. And because it is from Microsoft, it easily works with the systems that your company already has implemented. By automating and streamlining financial, customer relationship, and supply chain processes, Microsoft Dynamics brings together people, processes, and technologies, increasing the productivity and effectiveness of your business, and helping you drive business success. For more information about Microsoft Dynamics, go to: www.microsoft.com/dynamics.


Associated Foreign Exchange ("AFEX") offers a comprehensive range of international payment and foreign exchange services, including foreign currency drafts, wire transfers, risk management tools, and designated corporate account managers. AFEX can handle every aspect of a client’s foreign payment needs, from risk consultation to transaction execution. With a diverse client base of more than 10,000 active commercial customers, including importers and exporters, educational and financial institutions, small businesses and multinational corporations, AFEX recognizes that different clients often have distinct objectives and expectations when moving money internationally. We take pride in tailoring our payment and FX services to meet clients specific requirements. For more information visit the AFEX Web site at www.AFEX.com.