I am currently revising for the MB-230 exam. This exam is for Microsoft Dynamics 365 and covers all aspects of customer service. As I revise I plan to publish blog posts that collectively will become a complete revision guide for anyone embarking on the same journey as me. In this post I will begin to describe the important topic of case management.
Part of 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;
We need to cover quite a bit of ground! In this post I will include;
- An over of Cases
- Case Views
- Searching Cases
- Creating Cases from Activities
In a later post I will cover other topic including;
- Resolving Cases
- Parent / Child Cases
- Merge Cases
- And more!
As already mentioned cases are a fundamental part of the customer service functionality in Dynamics 365, therefore I suggest you spend a significant amount of your 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 MB-230 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 can 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 directly from the main 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 mandatory fields on a case.
Cases, by default, utilize a business process flow to display stage information. The default stages are identify, research and resolve. (We’ll look at this business process flow in more detail later in this post.)
Over and above the typical actions available from the ribbon bar we have multiple actions that are specific to cases. Case specific actions include;
- Save & route
- Create new case
- Create child case
- Resolve Case
- Reactive Case (If viewing a resolve case)
- Cancel 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 appreciate the reasons for not decrementing entitlements you will first need to understand entitlements.
I strongly recommend that your revision includes testing out all of these case specific actions. (Especially any options you are not familiar with or ones you haven’t used recently.)
Additionally you will find many options common to all tables in Dynamics 365 including things like;
- Save & Close
- Follow / unfollow
- Email link
- Word Templates
Out of the box tabs on the case form include;
- Summary (Case title, ID, subject, customer, timeline etc.)
- Details( Type of case, parent case, escalation details etc.)
- Case Relationships (merged cases, child cases and associated knowledge articles)
Tip: It might be worth remembering that the case form can be customized. Meaning your form could include slightly different tabs to the ones mentioned above. What will be important is understanding all of the concepts with each attribute on the form. Rather than its position!
In the center of the “standard” case form the timeline gives users access to posts, activities and notes regarding the case. This becomes a very important control to visualize the efforts completed towards resolving the case. We can also create activities and notes directly from the timeline.
Tip: The timeline is an important concept! Therefore as part of your revision I suggest you experiment by creating activities and notes directly from the timeline. Plus ensure you are familiar with how we can filter and search the timeline.
Views are lists of data and are used to filter results. Examples include “Active Cases”, “My Cases” and “Resolved Cases”. Views can be system views or personal views. Many system views are provided out of the box but others can be added by developers / customizers. Personal views are saved “advanced finds” and can be created by users. Personal views can be shared with other users and teams in the organization.
All tables in your model driven app will have a set of system views out of the box. With cases you will find that quite a few of useful views exist. The will allow users to view their active cases, resolved cases, cases being followed and much more. I suggest you become familiar with the views available on cases!
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.)
Tip: You can merge cases when multiple rows are selected. I will cover the concept of merging cases in a later post.
Views can be sorted by clicking on column headings. Then selecting the sort method. Typically this will be “A to Z”. But with dates we can also sort “Oldest to Newest”. 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.
We can also use the filter by button to refine the rows shown in our view. (Note: If you have filtered a column, clicking the column heading again will give you a clear filter option.)
Another useful way agents can filter cases is to use the case dashboards. The case table has a case specific dashboard enabled by default. To access this you can use the “Open Dashboard” option from any case view.
I suggest you become familiar with how we can use visual filters and more to help agents navigate cases. Showing the visual filters can give the agents a very quick way to navigate to high priority cases (and more).
Additionally agents can perform actions on the cases directly from the dashboard. By clicking “…” they can resolve cases (and more) directly from the dashboard views.
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. (By amending the “quick find view” on the case table.)
You should understand that this search will look in the current view to located the required case. So in my example I have searched “All Cases”. But if I had opened the “Active Cases” first then I’d be looking at just open cases.
Additionally cases maybe returned (along with other entities) in the relevance search. You access this style of search from the search box in the command bar. Notice that on the relevance search results will include other entities but you can filter by the case record type if required. Also notice that I can easily filter and sort the results on the search.
If you haven’t used the search function recently, I suggest your revision includes some hands on time searching for cases and other entities. (Not least because in recent releases Microsoft have made some improvements in this area!)
It might also be worth noting that you can open and interact with the cases directly from the relevance search. (As shown below.)
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. 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 phone call 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. (Don’t forget that the customer field could be a contact or an account.) 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 my phone call. Notice the originating activity shows in the timeline on the newly created case.
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.