Microsoft CRM Workflow
November 15, 2012
Often there is a need to create a complex Process (workflow) and then shortly thereafter, recreate it with slightly different parameters. Dynamics CRM does not come with a "Save as" mechanism for workflows like it does for advanced finds and Views so it would seem you would have to go in and recreate the new workflow to match the one that already exists. There is a better (read 'easier') way!
Recently a customer had a need for the creation of multiple views (27 to be exact) and accompanying
workflows that could be run on demand to affect just the records in these views. The views were fairly easy to recreate as only one piece of data in the grid was changed and after creating one and doing a "Save As" for the other 26, the process was straight forward.
The workflows were not quite that easy to create but very simple to duplicate. Each workflow did
essentially the same thing (set a completion date on an entity after some validity checking) but each view represented a different date field on that entity. What we did was create a workflow for the first view and instead of saving with the ‘Activate As” value of "Process”, we saved it as a "Process Template”. We published this and as we created the other workflows, we simply chose to base them on this template.
All that needed to be done with this new workflow was to change the values being looked at in the
steps that determined if an update was required and also change the field that was being updated. After the 26 “copies” were made, we unpublished the original "template" workflow, set the “Active As” to “Process" resaved it and we had all 27 workflows done in a very short time.
As an additional benefit, all of the commenting of the workflow was identical so the end result was in a consistent form.
September 10, 2012
Elevate Your Efficiency and Boost Sales by Automating your Referral Tracking Process with Microsoft CRM
Firms are always looking for ways to generate more referrals for their sales reps. Sales management and marketing executives, in particular, are always working hard to forge relationships with strategic partners and external referral sources to send them more leads. Additionally, companies are always trying to figure out more effective ways to encourage front-line, client-facing employees to identify possible leads for one of their sales colleagues to follow-up with and further qualify. For instance, in the Banking industry, Tellers and CSRs are often rewarded for uncovering a referral to pass on to a Relationship Banker, Investment Specialist, or Loan Officer. As an example, the Teller may learn in friendly conversation at the Teller window that one of their frequent visiting customers is about to buy a house. Thus, the Teller suggests and gets the customer to agree to receive a call from the local Mortgage Officer concerning mortgage rates and to submit a loan application. While many firms share the need to track internal referrals, they often struggle in keeping track of the referral entries and outcomes. This blog post will touch on some of the core challenges that companies have with referrals and how Microsoft Dynamics CRM can help automate the referral tracking and reporting process.
August 27, 2012
Today, Retail Bank and Credit Union customers spend less time in the branch than ever before. The lack of personal face to face interactions with the assigned Account Officer does make it difficult for the Banker to gage the true satisfaction level of clients and to position oneself effectively to offer other appropriate financial solutions. Some may argue that the Relationship Banker should be doing a better job of leveraging his Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform to plan his day more effectively, be more proactive in reaching clients, and scheduling account reviews. However, the fact of the matter is that clients sometimes choose to focus on their finances after traditional business hours. They value their convenience and personal freedom of being able to utilize a Bank’s call center or to conduct their banking online from their home or over their mobile device. Moreover, they cherish having the ability to use any of the closest branches, ATMs, or drive-thrus whenever and wherever it makes sense if they are running errands or traveling the country. Some, of course, still routinely come into their neighborhood branch. However, for those that typically do not interact with branch banking staff, how are you supposed to know when they may not be entirely happy with the overall state of their banking relationship?
August 13, 2012
One of my recent blogs highlighted some ways in which Customer Effective has helped high-performing Retail Banks solve common business challenges concerning client retention. I wanted to expand upon that topic and provide two other situations in which Microsoft Dynamics CRM workflows can help preserve at-risk clients and enhance service levels in route to positioning your Bank as the primary financial services provider for your clients.
Previously, I have highlighted how Microsoft Dynamics CRM workflows help streamline and automate various client onboarding and client service processes in the Wealth Management arena. Today, I wanted to focus on how similar workflows and personalized views can improve client retention and the overall client experience in the Retail Banking space.
Due to CRM’s ability to tightly integrate with a Bank’s back-end core processing system of record, new cross-sell and up-sell opportunities frequently can be found within a Consumer or Business Banker’s current book of business. Common CRM query and reporting requests involve instantly retrieving and displaying all customers that have a loan or line of credit, but no checking account. Likewise, a listing of all clients with a checking account, but no direct deposit can also be uncovered. Sometimes, though, it is important to identify clientele that may be at a high risk of leaving the bank. For instance, often times, a banking client may park some funds in a CD, and upon its maturity, decide to switch it to another bank offering a better interest rate. Bankers can actually get out in front of this possible customer defecting scenario and prevent these clients from even toying with the idea of rate shopping. After all, searching for a CD really means searching for a new bank that ultimately could become the client’s preferred financial institution.
When the CD is two or even three months away from its maturity, an email triggered by a workflow in Microsoft Dynamics CRM along with a phone call task reminder can be generated and sent to the assigned Banker or Account Officer with the CD account number, balance, and interest rate details along with a call to action to contact the client regarding the upcoming maturity. The client will appreciate the proactive follow-up from the Banker and be eager to hear about alternative saving and/or investing solutions involving a possible higher rate of return based on their latest financial goals and timeline. Reaching out to the client well ahead of the CD maturity date and providing more appropriate, timely, and relevant financial solutions will allow for adequate time to add value, craft and execute the plan of attack, and prove that the Banker does genuinely want to act in the client’s best interests. Demonstrating expertise and exhibiting care will not only earn the client’s trust, but also preserve the relationship. It may even result in the discovery of multiple jumbo CDs that are about to mature at other rival banks, where the client has been dissatisfied with recent service experiences or fees encountered.
Besides workflows, CRM of course can also provide insights into clients in need of attention via personalized views. Instead of or in addition to receiving an email alert, the Banker can always rely on a real-time filtered view, such as the one below concerning the previously discussed example for upcoming maturing CDs.
Another popular way for Bankers to use CRM Views to enhance client service and identify at-risk clients is to display a listing of all of his open deposit accounts that currently have a negative balance and how long they have been overdrafted. Similarly, a filtered view can be created that highlights any existing loan accounts that currently are overdue in that a payment is beyond 10 days late. You can always change that late date criteria to 30, 60, or 90 if you so desire. Clients in overdraft status or with overdue payments may require some assistance or they may not have realized the current unfortunate state of their account. They will remember that you reached out to them in their time of need to offer a friendly reminder or to explore other better suited terms or solutions. Thus, as their situation improves, they will be more likely to grow their relationship with you and your bank.
An additional way a custom view in CRM can give a Banker an edge is via a snapshot of all loans that are up for renewal within the next three months. Reassessing the credit quality of current business loan customers is necessary every so often based on the terms of the loan. Being prepared and reaching out to the customer is wise to not only extend the relationship and mitigate risk for the bank, but also to uncover any other lending or overall banking needs. Lastly, here is a sample dashboard that combines all of these at-risk concepts in one convenient, centralized area for the Banker.
One of my future blogs later this month will provide additional use case scenarios in which leading Retail Banks are successfully leveraging workflows in their CRM implementations. In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about how Customer Effective can help you design and implement process automation and personalized views, charts, and dashboards to supercharge your Retail Bank and Banker performance, enhance your client service across multiple channels, and improve your client retention rates, please contact email@example.com.
March 13, 2012
Many people use workflows in Microsoft Dynamics CRM to trigger and send record-based notifications—for example, notifying sale representatives when a new account is assigned to them, or notifying a customer when a case is closed. But sometimes you don’t want a single-record notification—you want a cumulative notification when a certain threshold is reached.
Let’s say an investment manager wants to get alerted if a client calls in more than two times during a month to question portfolio performance so she can call the client and save the relationship before it reaches a critical state, and the firm uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM cases to track client issues.
January 13, 2011
I recently worked with a customer using CRM online. Part of their process was to create authorizations, which needed to be reviewed quarterly relative to the authorization’s start date. They wanted a reminder email sent 1 month prior to that quarterly review.
I created a workflow with these conditions; however, every time I ran the workflow it would only honor the first timeout condition. The other 2 timeout conditions received check marks, but they were ignored otherwise.
Here is a short example of the situation:
As you can see, this workflow was initiated at 8:47pm with a 4 minute timeout. The time in the lower right shows 8:50pm, so it is correcting in a “waiting” state.
Next, you’ll see that it is now 8:53pm and the workflow should be in its 2nd timeout phase until 8:55pm. Instead, it has processed all the way through the workflow.
The workflow will not honor nested timeouts in this format. There are 2 solutions you use to get the workflow to work.
Solution 1 – Use child workflows
In the example above, you will create a child workflow within the “parent” workflow that starts with a timeout condition and then performs an update. See below.
Also, from a design standpoint, it is better to use child workflows when creating workflows that span many days. This way if you need to ever stop your main workflow, there is much less disruption because child workflows currently working items are not impacted.
Solution 2 – Insert a “no op” step and base the nested timeout on that date/time
The goal here is to insert a step prior to the nested (2nd) timeout which will act as a point of reference against which the nested timeout can fire. A “no op” step is a step, such as an update step, that is in the workflow, but you don’t set it to update anything. Even though it doesn’t update anything, the system thinks it did and so the ‘Modified On’ date is changed. Now you can set your timeout step to timeout x hours, days, etc. from the ‘Modified On’ date & time. Below is an example of how to configure it.
October 22, 2010
Workflow error: The entity referenced by this workflow includes a currency value that does not exist in your organization.
Problem: I received the error, “The entity referenced by this workflow includes a currency value that does not exist in your organization.”, while trying to publish a workflow I had just exported from my Dev environment and imported into my QA environment. The ‘Lead’ entity is the workflow’s primary entity.
Within this workflow, I was creating a new lead and that is where the problem existed. I clicked ‘Set Properties’ to investigate the Opportunity form. Every field that was a field type of “money” had a red ‘X’ next to it, but I couldn’t do anything to those fields and so the problem persisted.
Solution: There is a field on the ‘Details’ tab named ‘Currency’ (transactioncurrencyid) that is a lookup to a standard entity named ‘Currency’. The association to that lookup was broken when the workflow was imported into the QA environment. You can tell because the text in the text box is red. To correct this, simply click on the lookup icon, look up that entry again, in this case “US Dollar”, and click ‘OK’. The text should now appear in blue. Click ‘Save and Close’ to close the form and ‘Save and Close’ to close the workflow. You should now be able to successfully publish the workflow.
June 26, 2010
This is a very common question from users, and this post does a great job of clarifying when each approach is appropriate.
Also check out this matrix comparing workfows vs. Plugins: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/lezamax/archive/2008/04/02/plug-in-or-workflow.aspx
May 23, 2010
I am really impressed with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Update Rollup 10. First, it solved an issue we saw with synchronization errors when using shared calendars. It also fixes a workflow issue.
This issue can happen when you have a workflow with a send workflow step, such as a notification workflow. Sometimes when you generate multiple instances of the workflow simultaneously, some of them can fail due to deadlocking.
You can read more about this fix in Microsoft KB article 981053.