In Timeline, add external contacts who don't exist as Contacts

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  • Idea
  • Updated 6 months ago
  • Under Consideration
Our CSMs can never be quite sure when someone's going to end up on a customer phone call who they've never spoken with before. If that person doesn't exist as a Contact on the Account, they'd like to still be able to save the name in the External Contacts field. The process of adding a contact is far too bothersome to do on the fly.

Consider tagging people in a picture on Facebook, where it autocompletes with the names of people you know, but, if you type something that doesn't match any of your friends, you can still hit 'enter' and that tag will remain in the photo.

I would be wary of having a separate plaintext field for people-who-are-not-Contacts, since some CSMs may not bother with the search functionality, and just jot down names in that field, and then we would have lost structured data that we should have. It would be best to have one field that does live search, but also accepts text as-is.
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Seth, Champion

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Posted 6 months ago

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Marcelo, Champion

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This is a very good use case. It would be cool if when contact is not found it pops up a window where you could actually create the contact on the fly.
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Lauren Tallerico

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Agreed - would be a great to automatically add a contact from within Timeline like you can in the regular contacts section. 
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Seth, Champion

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Or maybe that functionality pops up when you Log the activity? That way, you may know more at that point about their title, role, etc.
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Dan Ahrens, Gainster (employee)

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Hi Seth, as an end user of Timeline myself, I share your pain around new contacts. :)

I'll give you my personal workflow that addresses both convenience and contact hygiene for me. If I have a call with someone that is not in our SFDC contact database, I definitely agree that adding them on the fly is a bad idea - my focus needs to stay on the call.

What I do in that case is I'll note at the top of the plain text notes field "NEW CONTACT:" and then verify spelling of their first and last name as well as their email. Our SFDC org allows those as the bare minimum. After the call concludes, I pop open the contact list for that account and add the contact using the information I jotted down. 

This is important as arguably the #1 failure of CRM systems is bad accuracy on contacts or missing contacts. This step makes sure I do it before I can add them as an external contact to the timeline activity. 

Finally, since Timeline pulls data in real time, I don't need to refresh the page or browser after I've added the contact in SFDC. Just start typing their name in the external contacts pane and it now appears. :)
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Seth, Champion

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Thanks, Dan! This is more of an edge-case for us, since all users of our product are automatically pushed into Contacts, so I think it'd be unlikely for our CSMs to build the muscle-memory on a specific workflow. I did point out to them the crux of your trick, though -- that the field is a live-search, which works stupendously with multiple browser tabs.
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Nitisha Rathi, Employee

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Hi All,

Thanks for post and ideas. We are planning to add the functionality to add attendees who don't exist as a contact.
Would you also like us to automatically add these attendees as a contact? Along with automatically adding them as a contact, would it be useful if we show a small pop-up to add additional data of the contact e.g. full name, role, etc.

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Seth, Champion

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Thanks, Nitisha. I'm checking with our CSMs on what they'd prefer.