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Contacts and accounts - I need to assign multiple accounts to a contact

  • 1.  Contacts and accounts - I need to assign multiple accounts to a contact

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 12 days ago
    When the user opens a new case, assigns a customer company to it, then wants to assign a contact. If the contact does not belong to that account, it will not let the user proceed. They have to save and leave the case without the contact, then they have to go to that particular contact and change company, then go back to the case and add the contact. Definitely too many steps for the user, specially when our contacts can be "working" for multiple accounts at the same time and those accounts change frequently... I have been researching online for ways around it and found a few - custom contact entity, connections - but I am still not convinced. Another requirement that comes with it is to be able to add multiple accounts to a case - because in the account entity we are storing another type of clients which are not contacts or organizations (vessels). So user would like to record the vessel and a company at the same time.
    I know that natively there is a parental relationship between accounts and contacts and it is not recommended to change that, so I am looking for a safe, no code workaround. Anyone have any ideas?
    Thank you,

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    Emilia Scott
    Data Architect

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  • 2.  RE: Contacts and accounts - I need to assign multiple accounts to a contact

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 12 days ago
    Ok, I did one last round of research and found out that connections would probably fit my situation (found even more conversations right here on CRMUG). I have a few concerns with that:
    1. The user will have to go ahead and create new connections
    2. Do I still work with primary contacts? I thought once a contact is assigned as primary contact to one account he cannot be assigned primary contact to another account (is that when user will have to just go ahead and create a connection?) 

    So when they create a new case, adding contact does not work because let's say the account has another primary contact and a connection is not established yet... How would that work for the user? He/she would have to go to the account and check connections first, only then they would go ahead and create a new case?

    Thank you,

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    Emilia Scott


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  • 3.  RE: Contacts and accounts - I need to assign multiple accounts to a contact

    Posted 9 days ago
    Hello Emilia,

    From your description, I don't know if connections would work for you.  And while I don't know if this would work for you either, your problem description sounds like something like the following may work:

    1. At the Account entity, create a new n-to-n relationship to Contacts.  This would allow any Contact to be assigned to any Account.
    2. At the Account entity form, probably create a new Sub-grid that uses this new relationship, so you can see all of the contacts related to the account.
    3. At the contact field, probably create a new Sub-grid that uses this relationship to show all of the Accounts a contact is connected to using this new relationship.
    4. To stem off confusion, I would recommend hiding the normal Account/Contact parent/child field at the contact level, but this would probably require some kind of data migration to copy over these relationships to your new n-to-n relationship.
    5. At the case level, you will likely need a new Contact field created that is a lookup to the Contact entity, and uses a generic active contacts view.  This way this new contact lookup field will allow you to select any contact.  If you need more information to make the correct selection, just create a new view that displays the columns necessary to make the right decision.
    6. Again to stem off confusion, probably hide the old out-of-the-box contact field.


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    Pheng Yang
    Sr. Programmer Analyst
    Edina Realty
    Edina MN
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  • 4.  RE: Contacts and accounts - I need to assign multiple accounts to a contact

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 9 days ago
    Thank you for your detailed input.

    This method would definitely make it work best for the user and give us the easy, straight forward functionality. I am just concerned about having those two types of relationships active (N:N relationship and Parent Child relationship). Can that affect the native functionality in any way? Is there anything I should watch out for?
    You stated "hide" the native relationship by hiding the original contact fields and replacing the corresponding sub-grids, right? Sounds like it will work, thank you.I will test it and get back.

    We are getting ready to start building, so actually I don't have to worry about data migration :).
    Thank you so much again,

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    Emilia Scott

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  • 5.  RE: Contacts and accounts - I need to assign multiple accounts to a contact

    Posted 9 days ago
    Emilia,

    Since you are adding custom fields and not removing the native fields, it shouldn't impact native functionality.

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    Pheng Yang
    Sr. Programmer Analyst
    Edina Realty
    Edina MN
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  • 6.  RE: Contacts and accounts - I need to assign multiple accounts to a contact

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 9 days ago
    One thing to add to @Pheng Yang's excellent solution is you need to weigh out the pros and cons of using the CRM built-in N:N relationship or create your own N:N relationship manually.​  The two best reasons to use the manually created N:N table is that it will be it's own Table in CRM and you can set up Advanced Finds against it.    The other reason is whether you need to add additional Fields to the Relationship.


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    Gerry Yurko
    CRM Developer
    Lightower Fiber Networks
    Boxborough MA
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  • 7.  RE: Contacts and accounts - I need to assign multiple accounts to a contact

    Posted 9 days ago
    Hi Emilia

    These people who belong to more than one account do they have the same role on the different accounts?

    So Person1 has three accounts and he is the Account Manager on Account 1, Person2 who is also associated with Account 1 is an Engineer for Account 1 and finally Person3 is Marketing Executive for Account 1.

    So when you come around to creating a case and you pick Account 1, you may want to log a case against any of these contacts for the account.

    Is this what you are trying to achieve?

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    Abdul Majid
    Westwood Software Limited
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  • 8.  RE: Contacts and accounts - I need to assign multiple accounts to a contact

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 8 days ago
    And you just brought up the next item to address actually, thank you.

    I was thinking yesterday that maybe I should have approached it differently: the reality is (after talking it out with the team again) that the user needs to open case 1 and be able log at least two accounts:
    • Account 1 (Vessel A - because we want the 360 view of contacts, assets, cases, WOs and so on - which is actually our real customer)
    • Account 2 (Company X - who's contact the user is working with on this particular case - which may be management company, the billing account or shipping account later, but not necessary)
    • and then corresponding contacts for each account (captain A from the vessel A, Project Mgr X from the Company X)
    Now when the user creates case 2 picks the following:
    • Account 1 (Vessel B)
    • Contact 1 (captain B from the vessel B)
    • Account 2 (Company X)
    • Contact 2 (Project Mgr X from the Company X)
    And during logging activities they can pick whatever contact they wish from the database, correct?
    So is my problem changing to the relationship between (Accounts and cases) and (Accounts and WOs)?

    I am told now that a person only works for one company at a time and we WILL force the users to update main company they work for... That leads me to believe that my item to address is changing in the above.

    Thank you in advance for all your help.


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    Emilia Scott

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  • 9.  RE: Contacts and accounts - I need to assign multiple accounts to a contact

    Posted 8 days ago
    Feels like...

    Your logging a case for a customer (main account) and you want to associate supplier who will fulfil that request - Correct.

    Your customer is and account record with its own contact(s) and the supplier who will fulfil that service request has its own set of contacts.

    and how will this case be met via a Work Order to the supplier on behalf of this "customer" by yourself?

    Did I get that right?

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    Abdul Majid
    Westwood Software Limited
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  • 10.  RE: Contacts and accounts - I need to assign multiple accounts to a contact

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 8 days ago
    Our service department handles/fulfills the request, but in our world we are dealing with boats and companies or shipyards.
    If I don't pick a vessel as the main account ("Customer") then I won't get the 360 view that I am looking for.
    Most of the times though we deal with company also (shipyards, marinas or management companies) because their contacts are the ones who contact us first, but we want to reference everything to the vessel (how many issues did we have, how many quotes we have provided, how many orders, what maintenance we have due and so on).

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    Emilia Scott

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  • 11.  RE: Contacts and accounts - I need to assign multiple accounts to a contact

    Posted 7 days ago
    Have you considered using the OOTB relationships between Case and Contact. If you open the Default solution and look at the Case entity specifically the N:1 relationships you will find three (3) relationships with Contact

    1 contact_as_primary_contact
    2 incident_customer_contacts
    3 contact_as_responsible_contact

    The first relationship has Contact providing the primarycontactid field in Case. The available values for Contact is limited to the Contacts associated with the Account.

    The second relationship has Contact providing the customerid field in Case. The available values for Contact is limited to the Contacts associated with the Account.

    The third relationship has Contact providing the responsiblecontactid field in Case. The available values for Contact are not limited to the Contacts associated with the Account.

    I think if you modified the form to show the Customer field and the Responsible Contact field this will allow you to add the Customer (account or contact) and what ever contact you want in the Case form.

    Case Form showing Customer and Responsible Contact fields

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    ARTHUR VLACHOS
    HaG Software Solutions
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  • 12.  RE: Contacts and accounts - I need to assign multiple accounts to a contact

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 7 days ago
    Yes, thank you I have noticed the two contact fields, but did not look into it further.

    I can use the primary contact as the contact for the vessel/customer and the responsible contact as the contact from the company. I am limiting the number of contacts they can record but this way I don't have to create any other relationships.
    I will give them one contact from the customer account and give them a second contact who is not dependent on accounts and see if they accept this knowing that they can log the activities referencing any contact they wish.

    Thank you all for your input, I am sure I will come back to look at the options later based on the users' requirements.

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    Emilia Scott


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