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 continue 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;
In total I will cover quite a bit of ground! In a previous post I have already included;
- An over of Cases
- Case Views
- Searching Cases
- Creating Cases from Activities
This post will cover multiple topics, including;
- Resolving Cases
- Parent / Child Cases
- Merge Cases
- And maybe more!
The purpose of a case is to track customer issues, questions, and requests. And then to manage them through to resolution. It is therefore a given that cases will eventually be resolved and makes it important to understand the resolution process. When cases are resolved we must enter the resolution type, resolution and billable time. Out of the box the two resolution types are “Problem Solved” and “Information Provided.”. The resolution field is simply a text field describing how the case was resolved.
After resolving a case its status changes to resolved. Additionally a resolution activity is created that we can see in the timeline.
Cases are never resolved with open activities. I guess technically this means they can’t be resolved until all activities are completed. However if you try to resolve a case with open activities, you will see a prompt similar to the one below. If you click confirm all open activities will be marked as cancelled. This is because it is not possible to resolve a case with open activities.
It is however possible to create an activity on a resolved case, that way we can have open activities on a resolved case! Why? The resolution logic forces us to complete everything before resolving, that makes sense! But imagine you want to call the customer back to check they were happy with the service provided. Then you would need to create an activity on the resolved case.
Cases can be cancelled or deleted. Deleting a case will also remove all of the associated activities, notes and attachments. Cases cannot be cancelled whilst open activities exist. (So any open activities will be marked as cancelled when you opt to cancel the case.)
Cancelled or resolved cases can be reactivated. (Obviously deleted ones can’t!) You should probably be aware that a resolution activity is created each time a case is resolved. Meaning we can see multiple activities for case resolution. (An example is shown below.) . If the case be reopened the status on the existing resolution activity will change to cancelled. Another resolution activity will be created when the case is finally resolved. Meaning you can have multiple resolution activities per case but only one will have a status of complete.
Below you can see that I have two case resolution activities in my timeline as the case has been resolved, reopened and then resolved again. You might want to try this process as part of your revision. Once you have multiple resolution activities try opening those to see the detail of each. (You should notice that the status on the original resolution activity becomes “cancelled”.)
As we resolve cases the billable time and total time on the case is defaulted to a sum of the duration of the completed activities associated with the case. The billable time can be changed as you may need to bill more or less time than the amount calculated from the activities. This sum of billable time is always all completed activities. (Meaning if you spent 5 hours working on a case, resolved it, reactivated it, spent 5 more hours and then resolved again. You would have two resolution activities, the first for 5 hours. And the second for 10 hours.)
As cases are resolved they will disappear from the active case views, as they are no longer active. They can however still be viewed in the resolved case views.
With earlier versions of Dynamics 365 I would have told you that the case resolution dialog cannot be customized. (At least not in a supportable way!) But more recently Microsoft has given developers the ability to customize the resolution dialog. We can now add or remove fields on the dialog or even use a Quick Create form as a replacement for this dialog.
Below you can see that with the Service Management area of the customer service hub I can control various settings about the behavior of the customer service app. (No doubt we will return to this screen in future posts!) In this instance you can see that under the service configuration option we have a field which allows us to define what type of case resolution dialog to use. Be that the out of the box (standard dialog), a customized dialog or quick create dialog. Obviously if you select customized dialog or quick create a developer may need to have created you a customized experience.
Why is this important?? Well… one common example is the billable time field. I have explained how the billable time is calculated and also you may notice it is a billable field. But many organizations might not bill for each case. It may therefore be a common customization to hide this billable time field. (Please understand that this is just one example of why we might customize the resolution dialog, obviously many other reasons will exist.)
If you’d like to find out more about customizing the case resolution dialog … check out the link below to Microsoft’s documentation on the subject.
Parent / Child Cases
Parent and child cases are designed to help cases be used efficiently. You can create a primary case (parent) and then create a secondary case(s) (children). Child cases can inherit information from a parent case. This can be very useful to group related problems. You might do this is a single customer has multiple issues that will be worked on together. Or you may have a common problem with multiple customers.
You can see child cases in the case relationships section of the case relationships tab. To create a child case you use the “Create Child case” button which can be found in the command bar.
You might need to be aware that a child case cannot be a parent. Meaning a complex hierarchy of cases is not possible.
You can see below that I have clicked “Create Child Case”. A quick create form has opened an I can fill in any additional information as required. You may notice that many fields will default from the parent into the child. We will look at how to control that behavior later!
Below you can see that on my parent case, in the “case relationships” tab I can view the child cases. I could also create a new child case from here or even use the “…” option to associate an existing case to this parent.
It is also possible to build a parent / child relationship between existing cases. Below you can see that I have selected two existing cases in a view. (I could select many more cases!) I can then use the “Associated Child Cases” option to link these.
Having clicked the “Associate Child Cases” button I am presented a list of the selected cases. I can then pick which of the cases will become the parent.
Several settings control how parent / child cases behave. I have already mentioned that we can control which fields are defaulted on the child from the parent. We may also want to define what happens to the child cases when the parent is resolved.
Below you can see that from within my Customer Service Hub I have opened the “Service Management” area. In here you will find an option called “Parent and Child Case Settings”.
Below you can see that within the settings I can control which fields are inherited on the child from the parent. Out of the box the case title and customer are copied from the parent case. But I might want to add additional fields. Maybe, for example, the same user should own the child case as the parent.
Next you can define what happens when you try to resolve the parent case.
One option is to stop the parent case being resolved until all the children are resolved. To give an example … imagine you are installing a new central heating system. You might have multiple separate cases to install the boiler, radiators, thermostat and more. You won’t resolve the parent for these until all the separate jobs (cases) have been completed.
Another option is to resolve all the children when the parent is resolved. For this think about other scenarios. Say you provide internet connections to customers. You might have multiple customers effected with the same outage. In this example resolving the primary parent issue would in turn resolve the issue for all the effected customers.
Sometimes you might find that duplicate cases have been created, maybe a customer reports the same problem on different communication channels or multiple contacts at an organization report the same issue. When this happens cases can be merged, avoiding the need to resolve each incident separately.
Merging cases combines related open activities and attachments under one case and cancels the other case(s). When a case is merged, the state of the case is changed to cancelled and the status reason is changed to merged. You can merge up to 10 cases at a time.
To merge case select up to 10 cases and then select the merge case option. Typically I find it will be active cases we’ll want to merge but it is possible to merge resolved cases.
Below you can see that I have selected three cases and now I can use the “Merge Cases” option to merge them.
Having clicked merge cases I am presented with a list of cases to merge. I select the case I want to retain and click merge.
If your merge is successful you will see a confirmation message. Alternatively you might see an error. (For example, an error could happen, for example if you try to merge multiple child cases with different parents.)
You can see any cases that have been merged into a case in the case relationships tab. Notice that my merged cases now have a cancelled status.
As part of your revision I suggest you try merging multiple different cases. One thing to test is what happens with any activities (and notes) that already exist on the case. As below you can see that the timeline on my merged case has multiple activities. These came from the now cancelled cases. (Meaning the activities will no longer show against the cancelled case!)
If you merge a case that has child cases (i.e. A Parent), then the child cases become child cases of the new parent case.
But you can only merge a child case into another child case if both of the child cases have the same parent case.
Theoretically, you could merge cases from multiple customers. (Although “maybe” this isn’t common.)
Whenever a case is created it is given a unique reference number. This can be really useful to help you search for cases, often this number will be given to a customer. So they can quote it in any follow-up communications. Below you can see that the case number is often shown in views. (You will also find it prominently displayed on the main case form!)
Often times the logic applied to generating this number will remain unchanged. But you do have some control how this number is generated.
Auto numbering actually applies on other entities including contracts, cases, quotes, orders, invoices, campaigns, articles, categories and knowledge articles.
Knowledge articles are an another example of a customer service table which can have an auto number applied.
You will find the “Auto numbering” option in the “Data Management” area of the settings for your environment. You can find this option within the “Power Platform admin center”. Which is accessed from “admin.powerplatform.microsoft.com”.
Opening the auto numbering option will give us access to amend the format of the number used. For each table that has an auto number we can set the prefix and control the length of the suffix. (The suffix can be 4,5 or 6 characters long.)
Hopefully this post has helped you prepare for your MB 230 exam. I have covered quite a lot of concepts in one post. As always I do stress that you should test out these options for yourself, do not rely on just theory!