March 25, 2013
Microsoft Dynamics CRM can send e-mail notifications to users based on virtually any record condition. For example, when a scheduled task is over-due, a workflow can be configured to send an e-mail to the owner of the task notifying him that the task is over-due. These notifications are sent out immediately.
So what to do if you want to delay the sending of notification e-mails?
For example, John is a sales manager, his sales team is based in different timezones and geographic locations. He would like to receive all notifications at 10 am so he can review them all at a specific time, and not miss any notifications that might come in when he is away from his e-mail.
There is no task scheduler built in to CRM, but it is possible.
1. Stop the email router service and have a windows scheduled task that starts it at 9:58 every day. This would force all e-mails to go out at 10:00. This is a good option if router is only used for notification e-mails. You could also install a unique router instance for notification purposes and just associate it with the user account which sends notifications.
2. Have a custom “notification” entity that is parented by the entity for which notifications are being sent. Have a scheduled integration job that runs at the appropriate time and queries CRM looking for records for which a notification is to be sent, then creates a child “notification” record. Have your notification workflow be triggered by the creation of the notification record. Requires an integration tool, such as Scribe or SSIS.
3. Use a third party mail provider, such as Core Motives. Core Motives includes the ability to send e-mails via workflow, and also schedule them.
4. Don't use e-mail notifications. E-mail notifications are great if you need urgent notification for immediate action. However,the problem with e-mail notifications is that they can fill your already over-filled inbox, and the more users receive them the more they ignore them. if you are wanting to delay notifications so you can review them at a specific time, there are better options.
Activity Feeds are the notification center of CRM--like the notification center on your smartphone, Activity Feeds display notifications on system events, and you can configure your own auto posts triggered on the same criteria as you would use for an e-mail notification. These posts add additional value as they are linked to all of the people and records mentioned in the notification, providing a history of notifications in CRM. You can then review all of your notifications at 10 am (or any other time of the day) in CRM on your computer or on your smartphone.
August 29, 2012
Microsoft Dynamics CRM in the Call Center: How to leverage Multiple Source Systems through CRM - Third in Series
Another common challenge in the Contact Center is Customer Service Representatives (CSR’s) having to access multiple systems to get the information they need to do their job. Whether it’s a back-end Billing or Claims system to access policy information, each additional click to navigate adds precious seconds to each customer interaction.
Customer Effective created an Agent Desktop Solution Framework as a streamlined way to search across multiple systems. This Dynamics CRM solution was designed to provide Customer Service Centers with a quick, intuitive, and a consistent user- interface for logging customer interactions via Phone Calls, Emails, Faxes, Letters, etc.
Key Concepts of the CE: Agent Desktop Solution
Multiple Data Sources: For different reasons, many enterprises will want to have their data stored in disparate systems, but accessed in CRM. CE’s Agent Desktop Framework creates a streamlined way to search across multiple systems (via web services) and bring the results back in a native CRM way.
Activity Management: CSRs will often work on a case using multiple communication channels. As they work through the cases, their activities are tracked in the left hand navigation tab. Each activity can have different notes and outcomes, but they will roll to the same case, account, or customer. Each time the CSR accesses an outside system, an activity record is created automatically.
Activity Threads: In the screenshot above, it displays how this solution can serve as a CSR email solution. Each correspondence is rolled into an Activity Thread, which is associated with a customer and a policy.Example: In a service center environment where each correspondence with customers will require actions to be taken by CSRs, these actions can be spread out over a series of touch points (email/phone call/fax/letter). With this requirement in mind the Customer Effective: Agent Desktop has incorporated custom code intended to rollup multiple related activities and the actions performed against them.
In the screenshot example the following functionality is highlighted.
- Section A: CRM can be pre-populated with the caller’s record, also known as screen-pop, with integration to the Phone System (For example: it can perform a database lookup in the background based on the Phone# calling in).
- Section B: Ability to populate “Activity Type” along with free form text to capture the issue in the “Activity Notes” section.
- Section C: This section can be integrated with the phone system to prepopulate the Insured or Agency search results.
- Section D: This is the system accessing data from multiple data sources. In this example it shows the system is “Billing”. Search is being performed on the policy number.
The more ways you leverage Microsoft Dynamics to display relevant content to your CSR’s, the more you will alleviate them having to log into multiple systems creating increased efficiencies across the organization.
February 22, 2012
Yesterday I had an interesting question—What is the big deal about Activity Feeds? We’ve had the ability to have RSS feeds in CRM since version 3.0, but they weren’t widely used. What makes Activity Feeds different or better than RSS feeds?
Before we started using activity feeds, I had a similar response—why do we need that? We could use RSS feeds and notes. I thought this was mainly social hype.
However, once I saw the light of how activity feeds could work and what the user experience is like once you have the appropriate auto-post rules configured, I became a big fan.
The main differentiators between activity feeds and RSS feeds that I would highlight are:
February 06, 2012
Big News in Dynamics CRM Q2 2012 Update: Mobile iOS and Android Versions, Cross-browser Support, Social Upgrades
Microsoft announced today that the next service upgrade (due between April and May of this year) will include a number of big enhancements. At the heart of these updates is the concept of ‘CRM Anywhere’, which means you should be able to access Microsoft CRM from your favorite hardware – not just Windows-based form factors. The Release Preview Guide is here and below are some of the highlights.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile
The next release will include a cloud based mobile CRM service called Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile.
January 20, 2012
One of the new features introduced with Update Rollup 5 for CRM 2011 was the introduction of activity feeds to CRM. Activity Feeds give users the ability to monitor what is happening to various business entities. The out of the box functionality includes auto posts that include activities such as status changes in business entities, and manual posts that are created by users. Users also have the ability to post comments to posts that are created in an activity feed.
Recently, I had the need to retrieve activity feeds for various business entities in order to display a summary of interactions that had recently taken place for a set of accounts and its related entities. While the out of the box functionality allows a user to see the record wall for an individual record, it does not give the user the ability to see activity posts for multiple records on a single wall, hence the need to retrieve the posts using the OrganizationService.
November 18, 2011
I love the new activity feed functionality in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Update Rollup 5. With a little bit of configuration, you can very easily create auto-posts for relevant system events or changes to records.
Activity Feeds give users a way to follow records that are important to them, and by doing this, they see a feed of any events for any records that they follow.
This really makes activity feeds the “notification center” for CRM, and since users can comment on posts, it naturally provides collaboration between users.
In the following screencast I demonstrate how to automatically create auto-posts for system events.