Now that you can customize your Timeline Activity types, what additional activity types are others using?

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The latest release now gives the Admin the ability to create custom Timeline Activity types. Our CSM's are heavily leveraging the Timeline feature but we are struggling to determine what level of detail we go into for differentiating the types of activities that are logged. Anyone have thoughts on what has worked well when creating these custom activity types? 
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Samantha Braastad, Champion

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Posted 1 year ago

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Jennifer Richard

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Generic type "Update" for information received outside of a call or meeting.  "News & Press" for logging any press releasees, articles, etc.  It would be very helpful to have the attachment feature for this type of activity so a permanent copy of an online article could be save to file and attached.  

We are still early in implementation of Timeline but these were quick wins for us.
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Manu Mittal, Employee

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Hi Jennifer,

We've added support for attachments in the latest release. Please give it a shot, and share any feedback you have on how to improve it further.
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Angela Hibdon

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We use all of the standard options for Activities and have all synced to Salesforce Activity History. We've added an activity for "Account Notice" which we use to record cancellation notices provided by customers. These usually come via email, so we paste the email trail in there. I added two fields to this activity: a checkbox to verify the CSM Stage has been updated on the account and a date field for Last Date of Service on the product. 
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Angela Hibdon

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We've actually built another activity type for Cancellation Notice since I posted this. I'm loving this as we were not tracking our cancellations in a way we could report on them before. I've added 15 fields, which is the limit, for product cancelled, ARR per product, Total ARR Lost, Last Month of Service, Cancellation Code, Total Loss, New Vendor, etc., into the Cancellation Notice activity type and then I created several widgets and reports to show on a dashboard that I built for "At Risk and Cancellations". We review this dashboard internally in our weekly risk call and can now we can see how much we are losing, who our major competitors are and how many clients we are losing to each competitor along with ARR lost to that competitor, and many other cool facts. In addition, I can export the dashboard to a PPT for Board meetings. 
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Seth, Employee

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Interesting, Angela. Is there a reason you aren't capturing the cancelations as Closed-Lost Opportunities?
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Angela Hibdon

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Yep! Our Renewals Team has not moved to an automated process yet. We do plan to use Opportunities to track these in the future. Right now our process is that the Renewals team emails me with the cancellation notice from the client with the details of the cancellation. I paste that into Timeline so we have a record of it in Gainsight on the account. 
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tzundel@gainsight.com, Official Rep

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Don't forget to automatically track Email Assist messages that are sent in Timeline! Here's how you set that up:
  1. Navigate to Administration > Calls to Action > General Settings at the account or relationship level.

  2. Switch the Automatically track email assist emails in timeline toggle to ON.

 
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Nicole Alrubaiy

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Our CS team is being bogged down with Support escalations, so our Gainsight CSM recommended we add an activity type for that since the team is more likely to do that than log a formal CTA.  We are calling it "Support Escalation", and we plan to use it to quantify how many escalations we find ourselves getting involved in.
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Dan Ahrens, Official Rep

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Awesome idea! And with duration and event level details being reportable (use object Activity Timeline in report builder) you can look at trends and time investment by CSM, Customer, Segment, Time Period, etc
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Denim

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I like this idea. We would like to have it show in the dashboard as well; based on owner id=current user. I am struggling with the report to be based on the current user ( I can use user name=, but that doesn't have the option for current user), as well as account name being displayed. Might be a mapping issue on my end, but seems my only option is account ID (not account name), which doesn't link. Any ideas? 

Thanks for any help. 

Update: figured out I need to use "user ID" for current user. 
(Edited)
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Roxanne

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Hello Samantha! We are still exploring our timeline activities and have created up to the 11 allotted different types. Based on our relationships with out clients but also with any follow-up items internally, we need to track and eventually report on the various activities. Today, we have the following: Log a Call Internal - we want to be able to differentiate activity with internal users vs. clientsLog a Call with Client - standard activity was too generic thus we wanted to identify more specificityLog a Follow Up Items - This activity can be generated from an impromptu call, email or even internal discussion and within the activity, we can now take the follow-up step in creating a task. Log an Escalation Issues - We use this to identify issues that need the attention of leadership, management, product management, R&D, etc. Log a Regular Cadence Review - instead of using OneNote, we can track and document regular calls with clients. Again, looking long term for reporting capabilities, we can then constrain just on the cadence calls to see history/momentum.Log a Case Audit - as we utilize Salesforce for cases, we like to provide a trend of cases to be included in a client's QBR or as a tool for data mining to look at problem areas and/or trends with the future capability of adding attachments.

Thanks!

Roxanne

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tzundel@gainsight.com, Official Rep

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I'm seeing some customers establish a "Renewal" Activity, so that they can break out any engagements with their customers that relate specifically to the contract renewal and start seeing what level of effort is involved there. 
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Manu Mittal, Employee

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Hey Tracy,

How do you think this compares to capturing the renewal context as an attribute on different activities, or having a renewal CTA with all activities captured within it?
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tzundel@gainsight.com, Official Rep

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Manu, the customer I had in mind when I wrote this is very low touch and largely automated their renewal process. But the VCSMs do handle renewal escalations quite a bit, so this is a great way to capture that history and have that activity kept in and reported on via Timeline. 
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Heather Hansen, Champion

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We're doing similar to Roxanne.  We were previously using Success Plans as sort of tracking folders for all the more "not scheduled" events with the customer like trainings,  sending reporting, sharing success stories, etc, so we're looking to convert those over to timeline activities instead so that we can actually start using Success Plans the "right" way.  :)  It's really nice to be able to customize the fields on each so that we're only asking them to fill in what's necessary.
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Seth, Employee

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One new idea I came up with:
An activity type for "Success Story"

I have a bit of a personal mission to make it easy for CSMs to surface the customers who've met with some kind of success, and to flag the people, product features, resources, and business processes that helped achieve that success. It seems unlikely that we can get all that many Success Stories emailed out or sent to a Slack channel, but if they had a low-key way to do it in Timeline, where they'll already be working, and where they'll be constantly reminded about it by having it in the pull-down list, then we will (eventually) be able to put those into a report.

This is the whole list of activity types I drew up for us:
  1. Call
    1. Checkbox fields for topics that could have come up:
      1. Use Case Consulting
      2. Product Training/Explanation
      3. Configuration/Troubleshooting
      4. Contract: Upsell/Cross-Sell/Packages/Platforms/Licensing
      5. Contract: Renewal/Cancellation
  2. Executive Strategy Session
  3. Executive Business Review
  4. Update
  5. In-Person Meeting
  6. Success Story
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Seth, Employee

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BTW, at least over the first week or so, "Success Story" wasn't getting used, so I changed it to a checkbox on the other Activity Types, called "
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Dan Ahrens, Official Rep

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I love your idea on Success Story above, Seth.

One additional capability that you might want to consider using is automation based on Timeline entries. For example, since Activity Timeline is accessible via the rules engine, you could drop milestones, kick off CTAs, send an advanced outreach (using the query builder to add participants), etc. 

This has an incredible potential to automate any tasks that might follow after a customer interaction. Also, you can add custom fields to any activity type and those custom fields are also available in the rules engine for decision making and filtering. 

#automateEverything

:)
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Niki Olmstead

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These are great ideas! I particularly like the idea of logging escalations. In our instance, we've added a 'product feedback' activity type. On our customer calls, we get lots of "you know it would be really great if.." so we need a place to capture those. They idea being we can use this feature to funnel feedback to the appropriate teams and be the voice of our customers more effectively.