The Spring ‘14 / SP1 / Leo release for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 gives us the ability to configure Service Entitlements for Customers and manage Customer Service incident volumes against those Entitlements. Here’s exactly what you get:
Prior to the release of this new Entitlement feature we had Service Contracts. Service Contracts allowed you to define for a customer and predetermined number of hours or number of Cases that the Customer was entitled to. And then, by referencing this Contract against the Cases you logged against the Customer that allocation was automatically decremented. This feature makes sense in the software industry for example where the purchase of a license or a support agreement might include a predefined amount of support that the customer can then draw down upon. I have never heard of anyone actually deploying this feature so it is curious to see Microsoft invest in extending it.
Entitlements offers similar functionality but now it allows you to get more specific around when the Customer is entitled to Support. You can now define the support allocation for a particular channel (e.g. 100 hours of email support vs. 50 hours of phone support). You can also bind the support entitlement to a particular Product or Contact so that the Customer Service team provides support for the right things / to the right people.
Let’s step through this and see it in action. Firstly, let’s start with the broadest possible entitlement.
From the Account form we will add a new Entitlement record:
The key information required here is the start and end date, the allocation type (number of cases, or hours) and the allocation:
There is also a “Restrict based on entitlement terms” field which if set to “Yes” will block the logging of new Cases once the entitlement runs out.
Once you save the Entitlement record you need to Activate it:
You will then see it listed against the Account:
To see this Entitlement in action we jump over to the Customer record and add a new Case. For the Case to count against the Entitlement the relevant Entitlement record must be referenced on the Case. You would likely me this a required field in scenarios where Entitlements were utilized. Once the Case is resolved you will then see the Entitlement balance reduced:
From the Entitlement record you can see the Original Balance (“Total Terms”) and the Balance Remaining (Remaining Terms):
And the Associated View will list all Cases that have been linked to the Entitlement:
Once a customer has used up their allotment the user will receive an error when selecting the Entitlement:
Now, let’s create an Entitlement for specific Channels. Back on the Entitlement form simply add child records into the “Entitlement Channel” sub-grid:
A couple of interesting things to point out here…
One, this is an editable grid (great to see more of these popping up in the CRM UI!).
Two, the “Total Terms” field we were using before is not tied to the child records in the grid. These won’t reconcile unless you do update them manually. Perhaps you are meant to use one or the other and then hide the other. Maybe this is just a deficiency in my pre-release version:
Anyway, to see this in action we Activate the Entitlement and then create a Case against the Customer and reference the Entitlement on the Case:
If a Channel is not specified on the Case then the Remaining Terms at the Entitlement level will be reduced, but the balance at the Entitlement Channel level will be unaffected. Again, you probably need to make the Channel field mandatory on the Case if this how you intend to run Entitlements:
Coding a Case to both the Entitlement and the Channel will see the Entitlement Channel balance drop:
Contact and Product Specific Entitlements
Back on the Entitlement record we also have the ability to specify Products and/or Contacts. You can’t enter an allocation against each Product/Contact but what this does is create a rule as to when the Entitlement applies.
Here’s an example:
Against my Entitlement record I associate Product X. This is me saying: “this entitlement is for support incidents that relate to Product X”:
Now, when we log a Case for this Customer, if we specify Product X the Entitlement can be selected:
If a different Product that is no listed on the Entitlement is selected, we can’t select the Entitlement:
The behavior is the same for Contacts. If you leave the Product / Contact field blank on the Case you can still select the Entitlement. So the way to think of this is: “Once a Product/Contact is associated to an Entitlement, that Entitlement will no longer be selectable on the Case when any other Products/Contacts are specified on the Case”. Again, if this behavior is what you are after you will probably want to make the Product / Contact field mandatory on the Case form.