CRM access across the organization
I was recently speaking with a customer who wanted to allow his sales team to have access to data within the Dovetail / Clarify system.
For example, before a sales person speaks with a customer, he probably wants to review recent cases for that customer, see the state of their contracts, what orders they’ve placed recently, etc.
Normally, it’s just the support reps and logistics team that might be working with the system. But there’s no reason we can’t grant access to the information within to others in an organization.
The request I got was to build a custom web application that allowed members of the sales team to have access to all of this data in a read-only way. Allow the sales rep to search for a customer site, and then view all sorts of information about that site.
They didn’t want to force the sales team to use the Clarify Client, or even the older Dovetail Agent (version 4), as both of those apps are complex and not very intuitive.
Rather than create a custom web application, my suggestion was to use the new Dovetail Agent – it already has this exact functionality. Plus, it’s a very simple and intuitive app to use.
I would create a new privilege class for the sales team. We’ll start by not enabling any privileges, essentially putting the app into a read-only mode.
Now that we have a custom privilege class, should we want to allow certain functions, it becomes easy to do so. For example, maybe we want to allow the sales team to add a note to a case, or to edit a site, but nothing else. This now becomes easy to do.
For my test, I created a new privilege class called “read-only”, and didn’t give it any privileges.
I then created a new test user with the descriptive name of “Read Only”. Brilliant, I know.
Using Dovetail Agent
I can login as that user. From here, we’ve limited the user’s options of what they can do.
They can Query. They can Search. (I LOVE the search functionality, as I find it super easy to find stuff)
So we’ll search for a site:
and then clicking on one of those sites:
gives the user access to all the information about that site, including:
- Site Details
- Site Parts
- Recent Cases
- Recent Part Requests (Orders, Exchanges, RMAs, etc.)
For each of these items, they can click to drill down into details.
For example, clicking on a site part:
allows me to see details of that site part, including:
- install date
- warranty end date
- if it’s covered by a contract
- who the support contract is
Similarly, I can click on a contract, and see all the details of it:
- starting and ending dates
- type of contract
- what parts are covered
And since all of this information is read-only, there’s no fear of the user doing something he shouldn’t.
I’ve talked about the powerful search capabilities many times in the past. Again, we can use that power here.
It’s not uncommon for sales reps to be involved with contract renewals. So, lets see how we can use Search for this.
A couple of examples:
Find the recently expired contracts in my region:
Find the contracts that are expiring soon in my region:
Lets make it even better
Since the user will be read-only, and not working cases, part requests, etc. – they will never *own* any of these items.
So when they login, the app will default to My Work, and they’ll always see something like:
Of course they have no open cases. They won’t. Nor will they ever.
So we can do better here.
With a bit of customization, we can provide these users (based on their workgroup) with a custom home page instead.
We can provide them some quick links for getting at the things they’ll do the most.
We may also want to provide some additional data that is most relevant to the tasks they’ll be doing the most. In this example, we’ll show them Contracts in their region – those recently expired, and those expiring soon.
By understanding the most common actions this group of users will be doing, we can tailor the app to make it a great experience just for them.
One of the ideas that was suggested to me was to not have the sales reps login to the app. They want the app to automagically login. Anonymous access.
Although this is technically possible, I don’t think it’s a good idea.
Considering it’s a web app, (even if it’s only accessible internally within the corporate network), without any login, that means everyone has access. Not just the sales team – but everyone. Probably not the intended usage. And that means we would lose control of who has access.
Benefits to the user
Once a user logs in, although they can’t do any action on any of the entities (cases, sites, etc.) – they can set their own preferences and favorites.
For example, I can search for contracts expiring in the next 90 days in my region, and save it as a favorite search:
Similarly, I can tag some items, and then have a query for My Tagged Items, and mark it as a favorite query:
If everyone shared one login, this quickly loses its benefit, as the favorites would be everyone’s favorites. No bueno.
Given the example customized home page I showed above, where we’re showing “Contracts in my region” – we would need to know what region the user is in. If we don’t know who they are, we don’t know what region they’re in, thus we wouldn’t know what contracts to show them.
Note: Yes, I do realize there are ways around this. For example, we could prompt the user for their region, and store it in a cookie on their machine. But now we’re talking more customizations, more time, more money – all to fight against the way the app is meant to work. It’s a bad path to go down.
Benefits to the organization
With a logged-in user, we can track what they do, what they search for, what they view, etc. All of this information is stored, and can be reported on. So we have great visibility into who is doing what, usage patterns, etc.
In addition, if we decide to allow these users to do certain this, even if its as simple as allowing the user to log a note to a case, we’re going to want to know exactly who the user is who logged the note.
Our CRM system is full of great information, and we can expose this information to others within the organization easily, and with a simple, intuitive, but powerful web app.
Dovetail Agent is one way to easily accomplish this.