Circulating call reports - how?

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When a sales exec has made a call and created a Phone Call object with the details, they want to circulate the report of the call to other people in the company (some of whom are not CRM users). For some recipients this will just be for their information, and for some there will be actions they need to take.

What's the best way to do this in Dynamics CRM? We have the Outlook CRM plug-in but we don't seem to be able to create emails from Phone Call objects. In our existing CRM (which we're considering replacing with Dynamics), there's just a button to "circulate" the call report, which creates an email pre-populated with the call details.

I'd have thought this this would be straightforward - surely this is quite a standard workflow? - but I can't see it in the user guide anywhere, and I can't find a way to do it in the interface. Am I missing something obvious?

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  • There isn't a standard feature to do this but you should be able to do this with a simple workflow.

    You can create workflows here: Settings -> Processes

    Create a workflow on the Phone Call entity

    Under Available to run chose - As an on-demand process

    Under Options for Automatic Processes - uncheck record is created

    Add step - Send E-mail

    Set Properties

    Populate To field with User/Contact recipients

    In the body choose fields from the area on the right side - you can choose fields from the phone call record that was created.

    Save and Close the Activate the process

    Now on the Phone Call record, under Run Workflow you should have an option to run this workflow which will in turn send an email to the recipients you specifiec with whatever detail you pulled from the related Phone Call record. 

    Jason Lattimer
    My Blog -  Follow me on Twitter -  LinkedIn

  • Thanks for your reply, Jason!

    However, this means I have to fix the list of recipients in advance, right? In our case, the desired recipients will depend on the context quite heavily. (We could use a custom field on the Phone Call object I guess, but we'd also like Outlook to auto-complete recipients just like it would in a normal email, and that won't work if we have to specify them up-front on the call.)

    Please let me know if I've misunderstood, though - it seems strange to me that this use case isn't supported more simply. Do other businesses not circulate call reports in this way?

  • In what I described you would need to pre-configure the recipients - this would allow the email to be sent without intervention (other than starting the workflow). You could always build multiple workflows based on the recipients or add check conditions to the existing workflow to determine the recipients and content of the email.

    Another alternative would be to use a create record step in the workflow and create an email record but this time don't populate the recipients. Essentially what this will do is create the email record but it will be in an unsent status until the user goes in and populates the recipients and hits send.

    One other option (might not work for you because you mentioned some users aren't CRM users) would be to use the E-mail a Link option at the top of the record. This generates an email using your email client with a link to the record.

    Jason Lattimer
    My Blog -  Follow me on Twitter -  LinkedIn

  • Thanks again for the suggestions. I'm really looking for something fairly streamlined - i.e. just a button that pops up an email with the right contents, in Outlook so that users can use their existing auto-complete recipients just like any other email. While creating an email record and then going in later to populate recipients would work, it would be a step down from our existing CRM. (I mean, if they're going to do that they might as well just copy-paste the text!)

    "Email a link" is the quickest I guess, but one of the big reasons for looking at Dynamics CRM is that all work can be done through Outlook rather than having to have a separate browser open and context-switch. The link would just open up a browser window (as I understand it) and therefore wouldn't be what we're looking for.

    It sounds like Dynamics CRM just doesn't work the way we do in this area, which is a shame. We'll try to find a workaround or look at other options. Thanks for your help, though - I appreciate you taking the time!

  • Hi there I realise the post is last year - have you thought about using the CRM Outlook templates - we have a call report template that we use which auto-populates with relevant data from CRM and we can use auto-complete recipients - it also tracks against the relevant opportunity (job).

  • Thanks Maggie! That's a feature I hadn't found, so that was interesting to know about. I'm still not sure it's what we want as templates only appear to be able to be associated with data objects (Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities, etc.) rather than with Activity objects (such as the Phone Call which is what we want to circulate). It's also several clicks to get to a fully-populated email - including starting a new email, inserting the template, selecting the record in question - whereas I was really hoping for a one-click "circulate this record" button on the record in CRM. Still, it was worth investigating.

    For now we've hacked up a functional one-click solution with javascript and a custom-written Outlook plug-in, which is good enough if a bit clunky. It seems bizarre to me that "circulate this report" isn't a common enough requirement that it's built into the system, but there we are. Perhaps our particular workflow is unusual. Anyway, thanks again for your suggestion!