Salutations are important data points when it comes to bulk communication with contacts in your database. With the right salutation data, you can make a generic email or letter seem much more personal. The trouble is that often times in data entry, these fields go unpopulated. And even when they are populated, they tend to be very inconsistent – different end users have different rules for how to populate the field(s) and different definitions of what salutation fields are, and what they are used for. Not to mention that the marketing end user who pulls the data points into mailings, email templates, etc. can often be different than the end user filling in the data.
Enter a streamlined salutation process for Microsoft Dynamics CRM!
We use a pick list alongside of text fields (in this case formal and casual salutation) to both default (for new) and update (for existing) contacts using a real time workflow. The pick list options are a concatenation of different fields on the Dynamics CRM Contact record. The salutation fields can still be modified if something custom needs to be done, but this ensures that valid data will always be in the salutations. Our workflow also includes if statements that eliminate holes should the end user choose something like “Nickname” when there is no data in the Nickname field.
Figure 1. Contact Form Set-up
Both the Formal Salutation and Casual Salutation fields have corresponding pick list fields that indicate the concatenation options.
Figure 2. Workflow set-up
Conditions are created for each possible Formal Salutation pick list option. A separate but similar workflow is set up for Casual Salutation.
This functionality becomes really compelling on what we like to refer to as “Household” records. Households are Account records that bring together the Head of Household contact and their Spouse contact record. This allows one piece of mail to go to one household rather than sending two pieces to the individual contacts or de-duping a full contact list.
Salutations become even more convoluted on household records because of all of the different ways that couples want to be addressed (i.e., Mr. and Mrs. Doe, Mr. John Doe and Mrs. Jane Smith, etc.). This also allows for the ability to address either contact first. See figures below.
Figure 3. Household Account
Both the Formal Salutation and Casual Salutation fields have corresponding pick list fields that indicate the concatenation options. The options include choices that concatenate the Primary Contact (Head of Household) and the Spouse. They also take into consideration that there may or may not be a Spouse or Secondary Contact.
Figure 4. Casual Salutation Type Pick-list options
As you can see, the pick list includes options for either a Primary Contact (Head of Household) only or a Primary plus a Secondary.
Figure 5. Workflow Set-up.
The Casual and Formal Salutation workflows not only includes conditions for all possible pick list items but they also account for user error. For example, if the user were to choose “Johnny and Jane” as the Casual Salutation Type but there was not secondary contact, then the Casual Salutation value would default to “Johnny.”
As always, there is a lot of flexibility in Microsoft Dynamics CRM so hopefully you can find something that will fit your particular needs. If not and more customization is needed for your organization, RSM can help. We offer support for Microsoft Dynamics CRM so you can extend your solutions according to your organization’s needs. For example, we can help install updates or make configuration changes, contact our professionals for more information on our services at 855.437.7202 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Ashley Berube – Minnesota Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner