As the old year closes out and the new year begins you may be evaluating how well your efforts to engage your stakeholders and/or customers this past year actually performed. If you are reading this blog entry it is likely that many of those efforts began with or directly involved your use of Salesforce.com. If you are a non-profit it is also likely that those efforts also involve your use in some shape, form or fashion of the Nonprofit Starter Pack (NPSP) for Salesforce.com.
Yet again, if you are one of the many nonprofit organizations using NPSP serving a specific population of individuals with a core set of “case management” or “capacity building” services, it is also likely you are looking for more effective ways to a) keep your clients engaged and on task with the coaching or service plans you have laid out for them in the coming year or b) ensure that your case management staff completes all of the many steps involved in their work. Now the dilemma…
I have things, tasks and to-dos I want my client to achieve by specific dates and I want them to keep me updated on their progress as they work to complete their assignments. I would really really like to move away from paper and phone calls if possible. But they are a client, not a co-worker, and they have no access to shared documents, shared calendars, shared tasks, and (if you aren’t using Salesforce Communities) no access to Salesforce.
However, if they have an email address and access to to the internet there may yet be a solution … well … combination of solutions … enter Engagement Plans and TaskIt!
First, Engagement Plans … Engagement Plans are a way (feature of the Nonprofit Starter Pack) of defining templates of related tasks which you can use again and again to assign the same set of related tasks (a plan) to a person, an account (organization), opportunity, case and a variety of other standard records in Salesforce. If you are in the business of using prescribed sets of tasks (simple or complicated) to achieve specific objectives then you need to check out Engagement Plans … especially if you want to reduce your workload associated to constantly creating the same sets of tasks over and over again for multiple clients. You can determine which users are assigned to the Engagement Plan Tasks to ensure that your case management team is on top of their tasks lists.
THE TEMPLATE LOOKS LIKE THIS:
The Plan from the Template:
But what about when I want to assign an Engagement Plan (or any) task to one of my clients, who, unlike my staff, doesn’t have access to Salesforce?
Second, TaskIt! (by Cloud Concept).... of the many cool apps we have run across, this one is awesome. Basically, you can assign a Task to a Contact (yes a contact not a user) and send an email to the contact indicating they have been assigned a task (with details). Better yet, the client (contact) can access the task online (via a link in the email they receive) from a Salesforce.com sites page which allows them to (securely) review the task, add comments, and indicate when they have completed it. And they don’t have to be a licensed user in you Salesforce.com system!
CREATE THE TASK AND INDICATE IT IS EXTERNAL TO SEND THE EMAIL NOTIFICATION.
CONTACT GETS THE EMAIL NOTIFICATION OF THE TASK.
CONTACT UPDATES THE TASK STATUS AND COMMENTS ON A SALESFORCE SITES PAGE.
LET’S TAKE BOTH SOLUTIONS A BIT FURTHER...
What happens when I combine the two applications with a bit of “clicks-not-code” advanced admin skills? I can generate an entire “coaching” or “engagement” plan for my client and have my Salesforce system send to the client (in a scheduled manner with a bit of Process Builder or Workflow wizardry) the set of tasks they need to complete according to their service plan! And the client can keep me informed of their progress by simply updating the task(s) online! Now I can generate daily and weekly reports in Salesforce of my clients progress on their plans and even receive (or send) additional notifications when tasks and plans are complete (or falling behind)! External client (contact) task management achieved!
For those of you using NPSP and struggling to find a better way of keeping your clients actively engaged and on task according to a prescribed plan of action, the combination of Engagement Plans and TaskIt! may be the solution. If you have found another solution or end up giving Engagement Plans and TaskIt! a try, let us know how it goes by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org. As with most things Salesforce, real success comes from actively sharing knowledge and experience with the rest of the community.
Best wishes for the New Year!