I have recently started to experiment with Forms Pro, in this post I will explain my initial tests and provide a few observations on my opinions so far.

Spoiler alert … I like Forms Pro. Ok, it has a couple of rough edges, but it is a preview feature! For a preview I think its excellent and one I recommend you try.

In case you don’t know Forms Pro is Microsoft’s new survey tool that can be used as part of Office 365 and importantly uses the common data model (CDS). Meaning we can easily connect it with our Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement data and more.

Installing

I installed Forms Pro directly from the App Source, it’s a pretty simple process and one you should have no issues with ….

Creating a Survey

When you want to create (or view) a survey the first thing to do is pick your environment. You do this by clicking on the cog icon in the top righthand corner of the screen.

One thing I noticed was that Forms Pro kept going back to the default environment. This seems to happen after I’d refreshed my browser page or at other unexpected moments. You might need to watch out for that and always double check you have connected to the correct environment!

Creating a survey is simple. You can quickly add questions as required, including multiple types of questions.

  • Choice
  • Text
  • Rating
  • Date
  • Ranking
  • Liker
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Theming is also incredibly easy with the ability to change colours and add images as required. I particularly like the option which lets me add images to specific questions, other tools seem to have just supported adding an image in the header of the survey.

Adding Personalised Fields

We can personalise surveys with customer specific data, assuming they will be distributed as a targeted email. By default, we have “just” two fields to “play” with. Those are first name and last name. But more fields can be added as required. Adding, say, “case number” is a simple process.

You simply add personalised fields to your question headings, survey title or email templates using the simple drop down …


As already mentioned by default you will only have first name and last name available as personalisation fields. But you can use the personalise option (shown below) to add additional fields as required.

Adding Conditional Fields

You may wish to add advanced conditional data into your survey. For example, if a respondent gives a low NPS rating then maybe you’d like an additional question to help qualify why they feel that way.

Tip:
Often you will want to hide a question by default and only show it based on a particular condition. Before creating the condition, you will want to hide the question. An option exists on every question to decide if it is visible by default. (Shown below) Notice that another option exists to decide if the question is required or not. (A hidden field will not be required until it is displayed!)

Now you create a conditional branching to hide / show fields as required. The simple branching rule I created in my test is shown below.

Note:
In addition to hiding / showing questions you can also toggle questions or navigate to other questions (or even other surveys / urls). I do like the idea of being able to chain surveys together based on the answers!

Tip:
The navigate action will actually happen after you submit the survey.

Sending The Survey

We have four ways of sending a survey, those being;

  1. Email
  2. Flow
  3. Link
  4. QR code

I recently used the QR code approach during a live presentation. By displaying the QR code on a PowerPoint slide I could encourage attendees to give immediate feedback by scanning the code.

Below I will expand on a couple of the other options I have routinely used for distributing surveys …

Email

Firstly, we have email. I have commonly used this to quickly send out a copy of my survey whilst I have been testing. I also used this option to tailor the email content ready for distribution using flow. As you can use / re-use several default templates for the email content or create your own bespoke templates.

Additionally, you can use the “define personalized data” option to map first name and last name to the correct personalisation fields. I specifically say first and last name as when sending an email like this they are the only fields available to us! (You will see soon how I can sue flow to add more varied personalisation data.)

When we are creating surveys there is a preview button which lets us test out the survey but I have commonly also used this email option to send myself a copy of the survey before making it live.

Flow

Next, we have flow. This is a powerful way to distribute surveys and one that you will commonly use when working with Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement data. Or in fact multiple other data sources, you can “even” use flow to automate surveys based on SalesForce data! (Obviously replacing SalesForce with Dynamics 365 is also a fantastic option!!)

Examples of how we might integrate surveys with Dynamics 365 data would include to send a survey when a new record is created or when a record is updated. Maybe one common example will be to send out a survey when a case is resolved.

Luckily, Microsoft provide several flow templates for these scenarios, which you could easily review and adapt for many other purposes.

I have found the flows easy to create and amend by simply using these templates as a start point.

During my testing I did have one issue when for a period of time my flows were completely successfully, but I didn’t receive any emails. For some unknown reason my surveys didn’t actually send but l;ater the same day they all appeared. Hopefully that was an initial teething problem with Form Pro being in preview. But I will keep an eye on this! (I am hoping it was an isolated issue.)

Viewing Survey Responses

Within Forms Pro we can view the survey responses and export them to Excel. Initially you will see top level numbers on the number of responses etc. It is then possible to drill into the “tiles” to see the data behind each one or use the use the question responses option to view responses by question.

Additionally, after you have had several responses insights will start to be generated and shown as tiles when you select he view responses option.


Data Structures

Whilst viewing the responses directly in flow may give us most of the required data it will also be common to want to consume that data directly in Dynamics 365. This might be because you want to create a bespoke dashboard or maybe you want to create some additional automation. For example, you might want to alert an account manager if someone registers a very low NPS score. As maybe they should review that and follow up with the customer.

To be able to achieve these automatons with will need to review the contents of the Forms Pro entities in Dynamics 365. From a customizer / system admin point of view the entities are easy to find as their schema names are all prefixed with “msfp_” but end users will need to know the display names to find the entities in things like advanced find. You may also need to investigate the content of each entity to appreciate how it might be used.

To help get you started I have given a summary of the entities below;

Schema Name Display Name Contains
msfp_emailtemplate Survey email templates Includes email subject and body that can be used as a template.
msfp_question Survey Questions Contains the question names, max / min values and question type.
msfp_questionresponse Survey Question Responses Responses to questions. Includes lookups to the survey question and survey response. Plus has a response column containing the data entered into the survey.
msfp_survey Surveys Survey name and other summary information.
msfp_surveyinvite Survey Invites Record who the survey invite was to and what it was regarding.

Note: This is an activity entity that will show in timeline.

msfp_surveyresponse Survey Responses For each survey returned we’ll have a response linking it to the regarding object.

Note: This is an activity entity that will show in timeline.

msfp_unsubscribedrecipient Unsubscribed Recipient Lists any recipients who have unsubscribed from surveys

Tip:
I had two entities with the display name “Surveys”, I guess one is from Forms Pro an one is from Voice of the Customer. If this happens to you …. You may need to double check you have searched the correct one!! (I also had two “Survey Response entities!)


The diagram below should give you a rough idea of how the Forms Pro entities are related to themselves and other CDS entities.

Please note: This diagram is not intended to be a 100% accurate schema diagram! I am simply trying to show the logical relationships! So hopefully you can see that each survey has multiple questions. And each response can have multiple survey responses. Plus, that responses and invites will link back to other entities in CDS. Typically, via a from / to field or a regarding field.

Note:
In my tests I did see survey data being linked to my CDS contacts. (Via the two activity entities of survey invites and survey responses.) Although I didn’t always see all the regarding, from and to fields being populated as I’d expected. I might need to do some more testing with that!!


Conclusion

I am really impressed with how well Forms Pro worked. It is easy to get started with and very intuitive to use. Plus I can see how making use of the data directly in Dynamics 365 and extending automations with Flow would be easy. So, I am very positive about this tool.

If you plan to distribute really large volumes of surveys using Flow, it may be advisable to review your expected volumes and double check that your flow quota includes enough runs to support your requirements. But on the whole, I’m finding using Flow to distribute surveys a reliable and flexible approach.

I’ve found personalising surveys by adding additional “piped” data to be very easy. Although I did find that I could only use the default first name and last name fields to personalise my email templates.

I have seen the odd “quirk” in the UI. For example, the environments option sometimes didn’t show anything for me. But reloading Forms Pro always resolved the issue, overall I’ve found the UI to be pretty solid and intuitive.

I did find that responses which were tracked to my contacts seemed to take quite a long time to show in CDS. I’m unsure for the reasons for this and before going into production I might want to do more tests to double check I am getting all the responses back.

If you’d like to find out more about Forms Pro, you can do so here …

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/forms-pro/

All in all, I like Forms Pro ….