View All Activities with Comments in Salesforce.com

I’m working on a Salesforce.com SFA CRM implementation that is replacing a Microsoft CRM 3.0, and one of the key things that the users accessed (and heavily relied on) was the Notes view in MS CRM. The Notes view showed the details (subject and comments) of each Note, so the user could see a running narrative of all recent conversations with the customer (they logged all Calls in Notes instead of Activities). The ironic thing was that these notes had been migrated from Salesforce.com SFA Activities (Tasks) several years ago, and I was trying to convince the client to move back to capturing their call notes in Activities/Tasks. However, the standard related list for Activities can’t show the Comments field from the Task/Event objects, so they weren’t too happy about not being able to see the whole narrative in one place. I was about to go down the path of creating a dynamic report link (See “Populate Advanced Filters in a Report from a Custom Link” in Salesforce Help – Solutions), but then I noticed a simple piece of standard functionality that fit the use case perfectly – a simple “View All” button on the Activity History related list:

View All Activity History in Salesforce.com

View All Activity History in Salesforce.com

This provides a nice consolidated view of all Activity History with the Comments field included:

View All Activities Page

View All Activities Page

I wanted to make sure to point out this simple but useful functionality, especially in contrast to Microsoft CRM, so that anyone else out there who might encounter a similar requirement would be aware of it.

All too often we overlook some handy functionality because it is behind a button or a hyperlink, or we form “click habits” that cause us to rush through certain familiar interface paths and ignore existing or new features that could improve our efficiency. While this might spark some good discussions on interface design to overcome these tendencies, I still need to remind myself to not tune out interface elements when looking at a page, because they might just provide the answer I am looking for.

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8 comments so far

  1. Brian DeLancey on

    My company is a little over a month away from rolling out Salesforce as a replacement to our current CRM. As we have a technical support call center, we’re using Salesforce’s Case object to document our customers’ issues and have this same pain point (needing one spot to see, chronologically, all communications and comments related to a particular Case).

    While the ‘View All’ function is a step in the right direction, we often need to record comments outside of a Call or Email, comments that we will be noting as Case Comments.

    Ideally, we want a view like the Activity History “View All” function that, in addition to logged calls and emails, also pulls in any Case Comments. I think we’re going to end up having to create a dynamic report link as you mentioned above…

    • apexsutherland on

      Hi Brian, thanks for your comment! Yes, Salesforce definitely needs to enhance the way that the conversation between you and the customer is recorded and presented on the Case object, as it is pretty fractured right now between Comments and Activities.

      Unfortunately I don’t think that a dynamic report link will even satisfy your requirements, as one report wouldn’t be able to display both Case Comments and Activities since they are separate, unrelated peer objects in the Salesforce data model. At this point your only solution would be a custom Visualforce page to display the two streams of conversation merged together. Let me know if you need any help designing or implementing the Visualforce page!

  2. Sandeep Banga on

    A customer pointed this button out to me during a training session 🙂

    • apexsutherland on

      Haha, it’s true, the best way to learn something is to teach it! 🙂

  3. Philipp on

    Boy, how come I’ve never seen that button?!?! Thanks for sharing!

    • apexsutherland on

      Yeah, it’s definitely a case study for UI design that does a good job of making basic features noticeable! Glad I was able to help you discover it… 🙂

  4. hanasahi on

    Hi guys,

    I am facing to one problem, I have to modify the view of all Activity History which some fields from relevant object are required to add
    I think through one idea
    1, Create new VisualForce page:
    Imposible. Because the Activity object does not support the standard controller, so I can no invoke my custom page by the custom button which defined manually in Actitivies object

    Do you have any idea or experience for my problem. Thank in advance.

  5. Top Costa Mesa Acupuncture on

    When someone writes an post he/she maintains the
    image of a user in his/her mind that how a user can understand it.
    Thus that’s why this post is amazing. Thanks!


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