MB2-718 Certification: (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service) – Case Management (Part One)

As I revised for the MB2-718 exam (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service) I’m creating blog posts detailing all aspects of my revision. I hope these posts will aid anyone who is also revising for this exam. In this post I will provide details on case management.

The skills measured statement relating to case management is shown below. From this we can see that case management covers a wide variety of capabilities;


In total I will cover quite a bit of ground! In this post I will include;

  • Cases An Overview
  • Case Views
  • Searching Cases
  • Creating Cases from Activities
  • Case Business Process Flow

The in a second post I will cover;

  • Resolving Cases
  • Routing Cases
  • Parent / Child Cases
  • Merge Cases

As already mentioned cases are a fundamental part of the service functionality in Dynamics 365, therefore I suggest you spend a significant amount of you exam preparation time creating cases and then experimenting on the various ways to route, resolve, cancel merge etc etc.

Cases An Overview

Cases (also known as incidents) are the most fundamental entity in the service module of Dynamics 365, it will therefore be essential that you have a detailed understanding of their management. If you are familiar with Dynamics 365, you may find much of this post covers concepts that you are already familiar with but if you are preparing for the MB2-718 exam a little revision won’t hurt.

Each case represents a single incident of support, some companies may refer to a case as a ticket, service request etc. Each customer can have multiple open cases at any moment in time. Cases have subjects, knowledge base articles, products and / or entitlements related to them. Cases also have activities associated with them. And cases can originate from activities, such as an email support query.

Cases can be created from the case form, a quick create form or by converting activities. (Activities can include, appointments, emails, phone calls, faxes, letters, service activities, campaign responses, tasks and even custom activities.) It is also possible to use record creation rules to automate creation of cases, for example on receipt of an email.

Out of the box the customer (account or contact) and case title are the mandatory fields on a case.

Cases, by default, utilize a business process flow to display stage information. The default stages are identity, research and resolve.


Key actions case specific actions include;

  • save &route
  • create new case or child case
  • cancelling a case
  • resolving a case
  • Adding to a queue or viewing current queue item detail
  • Do not decrement entitlements
  • Convert to work order (assuming Field Service is installed)

Note: Some of these actions may be self-explanatory. But I will return to some options in later posts. For example, to understand the process of converting a case to a work order you’ll need some knowledge of Field Service. Or to appreciate the reasons for not decrementing entitlements you will first need to understand entitlements.

Additionally you will find many options common to all entities in CRM including things like;

  • Assign
  • follow / unfollow
  • email link
  • share
  • etc.

Out of the box tabs on the case form include;

  • Summary (Case title, ID, subject, customer etc.)
  • Case relationships (similar cases, merged cases and child cases)
  • Associated Knowledge Records
  • Enhanced SLA Details
  • Additional Details (Type of case, parent case, escalation details etc.)
  • Social details (social profile, influence score etc.)
  • Articles and Contract Information
  • Field Service (Assuming you have Field Service installed.)

NOTE:
Contracts have effectively been replaced by entitlements. And articles by the knowledge base. (Although both remain on the case form.) I would consider that they are only present for backward compatibility. It would be recommended that anyone new to Dynamics 365 uses the knowledge base rather than articles and entitlements rather than contracts. It is likely they will be removed completely in future versions of Dynamics 365.

In the center of the “standard” case form the social pane gives users access to posts, activities, knowledge base articles, notes and possibly OneNote if enabled.


Case Views

Views are lists of data and are used to filter results. Examples include “Active Accounts”, “My Accounts” and “Resolved Cases”. Views can be system views and personal views. Many system views are provided out of the box but others can be added by developers. Personal views are saved advanced finds and can be created by users. Personal views can be shared with other users / teams in the organization.


Note: System views can be managed to unmanaged. Customizers can deactivate managed system views; this does not remove the view from the system but does hide it from users. Deactivated views can be reactivated. Unmanages system views and also be deleted.

From any case view the user can select multiple rows in a view. They then have the ability to perform actions on all the selected rows including delete, bulk edit, merge cases, apply routine rules, assign, add to a queue. If just one case is selected it is possible to resolve or cancel the case directly from the view. (You can NOT resolve or cancel when multiple cases are selected.)


Views can be sorted by clicking on column headings. Plus you can sort by multiple columns by holding down the shift key and selecting additional columns. An arrow will show in the column heading depicting the direction of the sort, clicking the column again will change the direction of the sort.

The view can be refreshed by clicking on the refresh icon on the upper right-hand corner of the view. This is more efficient than clicking “F5”, as the icon refreshes just the view not the whole CRM page. Clicking the refresh icon effectively just re-runs the query.

The filter icon can also be used to filter the contents of a view. (This operates a bit like filtering columns in Excel!)

Searching Cases

Cases are commonly searched directly from views by selecting a specific view or using the filter functionality. It is also possible to search for specific cases by typing directly into the quick find search box, by simply entering what is required or by also entering wild cards. Typically, the direct search will use case number or case tittle to locate the case however customizers have the ability to extend this functionality to decide exactly which fields will be included in the search.


Additionally cases maybe returned (along with other entities) in the relevance search (if enabled) or categorized search. You access this style of search from the search icon in the top command bar. Notice that on the relevance search results will include other entities but you can filter by the case record type if required.


Create Cases from Activities

Activities track relevant interactions between a company and their suppliers / customers. There are many situations when you might want to convert an activity into a case, for example a customer may email about an issue with a product. The email can then be converted into a case. If the CRM Outlook client is being used the process for converting an email to a case can be done directly from Outlook. (if the email is first tracked in CRM.) Alternatively, an email can be converted to a case in the web client. Any of the activity types can be converted into a case. (So, Letter, Fax, Phone call, email, appointment or task.) To demonstrate this, below you can see that I can convert a task into a case.


In addition to being able to convert out of the box activities you can also covert custom activities into cases. Below is an example of a custom activity “SMS Message”, notice that I still have a “To Case” option.


When converting an activity into a case, you confirm the customer and case subject. You can also select to automatically open the newly created case record and optionally also close the activity that is the source of the case.


When an activity is converted into a case the originating activity is automatically tracked against the newly created case. You can see this below on a case I have created from a custom activity type of SMS. Notice the originating SMS record shows in the social pane on the newly created case.

Case Business Process Flows

I mentioned business process flows a little earlier in this post, these are a key element of working with cases. Typically, organizations have specific stages in their service management processes. Business process flows can help guide users through the steps to complete each stage.  On a Dynamics 365 record, each stage of the process is represented by a different chevron.  Additionally, within each stage multiple steps can be found that the user needs to take before they move on to the next stage.  Some of these steps  may be mandatory and need to be completed before the user can navigate to the next stage. (For example: in the identify stage you must enter the customer before moving to the research stage.)


The out of the box business process flow on cases includes the following stages / steps;

Stage Steps
Identify Find customer (Mandatory)

Find Contact

Find Case (this will be populated with the case title when you save the case.)

Research Similar Cases (Triggers a dialog to help you search and select similar cases.)

Assign to Others (Mandatory)

Resolve Mark as resolved

Business processes help to provide a consistent approach to handling cases. They can also contain conditional branches giving the ability to handle multiple scenarios.

You can move forward and backwards in the business process. The active stage is indicated by the position of the flag icon in the process bar. Additionally you can see how long the current stage in the business process flow has been active. And how long the entire process has been active. In my example above the research stage has been active for just 1 minute, as I have only just move the process forward to that stage. But the business process flow has been active for a total of 103 days! (Maybe not a great example of good customer service!!)


An out of the box process for management of cases is provided but it can be customized to meet an individual organisation’s needs.

Note that cases aren’t the only record type that can leverage business process flows, they can be applied nearly any record type in Dynamics 365. It is quite common, for example, to have a business process flow to manage the lead to opportunity cycle.

Business processes can be tied to security roles, meaning not all processes will be available to all users.

Clicking mark resolved in the final resolve stage is going to trigger the resolution process.


On case resolution, or at any point in the process we can use the finish button on the business process flow to stop the timers in the business process flow. Therefore, after actually resolving the case you may want to also use the finish button to halt the business process flow.


Tip:
If you do finish the business process flow and the case is reactivated, you may need to also reactivate the business process flow. If, for example, you need to move the stage back to “Research” now the case is re-opened. You do this from the Process option on the case. (As shown below.)

I suggest that part of your revision should include “playing” with the business process flow. Try moving cases from stage to stage to understand how this operates in detail. And experiment with finishing and reactivating processes.

I hope this post has started to explain the basic concepts connected with case management. As I said in my introduction I will split this topic across two blog posts. In my next post I will cover resolving cases, routing cases, parent / child cases and merging cases.

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