Tip #100: How to be a tipster

Wow. 100 tips!

Tipping truckWe’ve covered a lot of tips in the past five months. Each of us learned many useful things from the other tipsters.

One question we get asked from time to time is how do we come up with a steady stream of fresh tips? If you want to start your own blog or produce fresh content to tweet, how can you come up with ideas?

  1. Use the software yourself. If you are in a role where you implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM, if you don’t personally use the application every day, it is difficult to put yourself in the shoes of actual users.
  2. Be curious. It may kill some domesticated animals but won’t do you any harm. Experiment and click on those cogwheels and obscure buttons. You never know, that ticket number could be just behind the next one!
  3. Talk to other users or look at questions being posted in forums like Dynamics Community, Dynamics CRM Facebook group, Microsoft Dynamics CRM LinkedIn group. This will show you topics that real world users are interested in, and problems that they are having. Post solutions to these questions.
  4. Look for areas of the application that could be improved. Share configuration changes you make that improve the application.
  5. Raise suggestions on Microsoft Connect, read and vote for suggestions of others. The team does listen.

Here are some of our favorite tips from the first 100, and the story behind where these tips came from:

Our most popular tip of all times is neither technical nor business. With double-digit retweets, bookmarks on facebook and google+, it’s all about usability for end-users: Tip #68: Do you know this woman. Effectively it came from a very determined customer who said they are going to cancel their hosted Dynamics CRM subscription if we don’t stop this dialog from appearing. And more on this to come, stay tuned!

Tip #95: Track emails using forward inbox— I love these kind of tips where you find that something used primarily for one purpose can meet another need. This one came from a project where we had users using Mac where Outlook was not an option, but it was still a requirement to be able to track emails.

Tip #88: Duplicate activities — The best tips come from actual users. So when a user came to me and asked “why are my appointments duplicating since we upgraded to CRM 2013?” I watched how she was creating activities, and noticed that she was assigning them before saving the appointment. Once the question came up during the Convergence “Ask the MVP” session, I knew that this was an issue that other users were probably experiencing, and that it would make a good tip. If you work with support and identify an issue or a workaround, blog or tweet it (or submit it to the tip jar). That way you don’t forget about it, and you will help others who are having the issue. Note–if you are going to blog about bugs, be sure that you do it responsibly. Don’t just explain the issue, give users a workaround to deal with the issue.

Tip #41: Compare CRM Online and Salesforce pricing – that was a result of a foul mood and one hour to spare after a bitter loss to a competitor who literally took CEO to lunch and stole the deal right from under our noses.

Tip # 75: Make IOS remember your CRM password — Even though I am a loyal Windows Phone user, I get plenty of experience with IOS and Android by helping troubleshoot and support my friends and family’s smartphones. When my Father-in-law got upgraded to IOS 7 and his phone stopped remembering his password, I found this helpful video that explained the issue. A couple of months later, when a colleague started using CRM for Phones on his iPhone, this tip came back to me when her iPhone would not remember her CRM password.

Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we get it wrong, but are certainly having a blast.

Tipping hatAnd we always on a lookout for external contributions from you, our readers. You don’t have to be a regular tipster, just send your favorite to jar@crmtipoftheday.com and we’ll take care of the rest.

The crew

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