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Capture Data with Custom Fields

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Determine what type of company and customer information you want to capture.
  • Create custom fields in Desk.com.
  • Understand the parent-child relationship of dependent dropdowns.

Creating Order in Desk.com

In the Desk.com Toolkit module, you learned how to use the admin, agent, and business insights sections of Desk.com. In this module, we show you how to capture and organize customer support cases within Desk.com using custom fields, labels, and views.

In this first unit, we talk about using custom fields to capture customer and case information. We review best practices for using custom fields, show you how to create custom fields, and explain how to use them with other awesome features in Desk.com.

What Are Custom Fields?

Out of the box Desk.com lets you capture a lot of essential customer information, such as email, phone number, and company information. However, if your organization wants to capture more than this basic information, custom fields come to the rescue.

You can create up to 25 custom fields for customers and companies, and up to 50 custom fields for cases. That’s a lot of information!

Create a Custom Field

A few common use cases for custom fields are product information and case category. In this example, we act as a Desk.com admin to create a custom field, at the case level, to capture the manufacturer of a product that our company sells. STOP! If you haven't completed the Desk.com Basics module go there first.

Note

Note

If you follow along in your production org, we recommend you don’t make any changes to an org that is actively used by your team. Making live changes can have drastic consequences (#lifeLessons).

OK, done that? Great—let’s create a custom field!

  1. Within the Admin console, in the top navigation, click Cases.
  2. In the side navigation, click Cases.
  3. Confirm you are now in the Custom Fields section.
  4. Click Add Custom Field (the new custom case field window is now visible).
    new custom case field window
  5. Enter the details for your custom field as follows:
    • Name: Resizing Supplement This is the name that’s displayed in the case details.
    • Key: Resizing_Supplement This is used to reference your custom field throughout Desk.com, such as in themes; don’t insert any spaces.
    • Data Type: List This is used to indicate the type of information you want to store in your custom field. It can be: text (up to 255 characters), a number, true/false, date, or a list of predefined values.
      custom field details

Next we add the options we want to appear in our list.

  1. Click the plus sign (add options) in the Data window.
  2. Enter into the Option field: Shrink Me Soda
  3. Click Add.
  4. Repeat steps 1–3 to add two additional values: Grow Me Gummies and Supersize Me Shortcake.
  5. Next select a default value for your custom field. Select Custom Text, but leave the value blank.

    You have two options for choosing default values:

    • Custom Text —displays a custom text, or you can also select this option and leave the text field blank.
    • Top Data Value —displays the top value in your Data list. Use the up and down arrows in the Data window to change the order of the values.
  6. Click Add.

    options for default values

  7. Lastly, make sure the custom field is enabled by toggling to the check-marked position.
    enable field

Congrats! You’ve just created your first Desk.com custom field!

Create Dependent List Fields

To better organize your custom fields, Desk.com offers field dependencies called dependent dropdowns. This feature lets agents and customers identify products, for example, in an organized way, by drilling down into specific lists. When users select a value from the first list, only a predefined subset of values in the second list displays. You can add dependent dropdowns to your agent console, website, or customer contact form.

Note

Note

A dependent dropdown can only be created using list type custom fields.

Let’s create a dependent dropdown based on the custom field that we’ve already created. But before we do that, let’s first create a few more custom fields.

Use the steps above to create another list type case custom field with the following values:

  • Name: Manufacturer
  • Key: Manufacturer
  • Data Type: List
  • Data Values: Red Queen and White Rabbit
  • Default Value: Custom Text with no value

    Remember to enable your new custom field.

    create new custom field

Now that we have two custom fields to work with, we can create dependencies between them.

We’ll make one of the custom fields the primary, or controlling, field, and the other custom field the secondary, or dependent, field.

The controlling field can have multiple child values that come from the dependent field, but each child value can only have one parent.

For this example, we make the Resizing Supplement the controlling field and the Manufacturer the dependent field. Let’s try it out!

  1. Within the Admin console, in the top navigation, click Cases.
  2. In the side navigation, click Cases.
  3. Confirm you’re in the Custom Fields section.
  4. Click the Dependencies tab.

    dependencies tab

  5. Click Add Dependency.
  6. Select Resizing Supplements for the controlling field.
  7. Select Manufacturer for the dependent field.
  8. Click Add.

add dependency

Now the displayed relationship between your controlling field (Resizing Supplement) and dependent field (Manufacturer) is visible.

The next step is to associate each supplement with its manufacturer by clicking the boxes that correspond to each association.

  1. In the Red Queen row, click into the cell in the Shrink Me Soda column.

    click cell

  2. Click the check mark to establish the dependency between the two values.

    check mark dependency

  3. Next associate White Rabbit with both Grow Me Gummies and Supersize Me Shortcake (it should look like the image below).

    associate dependencies

  4. Click Save.
  5. To activate the dependent dropdown, click the toggle to the on position.

    activate dependencies

Awesome, you’ve created your first dependent dropdown in Desk.com. And you’ve just made your agents’ and customers’ lives a little bit more organized.

Display Fields with the Next Gen Case Layouts

Desk.com lets you customize the case detail layout and assign different agents to different layouts. Case layouts optimize agent workflows and give agents the exact information they need for the work they’re doing. You might also store sensitive information in custom fields that you don’t want all your agents to have access to.

But what kind of changes can you make? With the Next Gen agent console you can:

  • Change the order that both standard and custom fields are displayed.
  • Add or remove custom and standard fields from a layout.
  • Change the width of your fields from full size to half size for a more compact view.

Create a Case Layout

Let’s create a case layout so that we can prioritize the order of our Resizing Supplement and Manufacturer custom fields.

  1. Within the Admin console, in the top navigation, click Cases.
  2. In the side navigation, click Cases.
  3. Click Next Gen Case Layouts.
  4. Click Add Case Layout.

    add case layout

  5. Name your case layout Product Layout.
  6. Click the Custom Fields dropdown field to see your custom fields.

    custom fields dropdown

  7. Hover your mouse over the Resizing Supplement field, and then click, hold, and drag the field to your layout above the Description field.
  8. Hover your mouse over the Manufacturer field, and then click, hold, and drag the field to your layout next to your Resizing Supplement field.

    drag the field

Note

Note

From this screen you can reorder (click, hold, and drag), resize (using the pencil icon), add, or remove (use the trash can icon) any of your fields.

Associate Your Layout with Agents

Once you’re happy with your layout, select which team members are able to view this case layout:

  1. Click the desired team members.
  2. Click Add.

    add association

    Note

    Note

    Remember that an agent can only be assigned to one layout at a time.

  3. Enable the Case Layout that you just created.

About Default Layouts

Once you create a custom case layout, you can choose which of the layouts is your default layout. Unless a user has been added as a member of a case layout, then that user is automatically assigned to the default layout. In the example above, the automatically assigned layout is the System Default Layout.

To assign a default layout, click Default next to the desired layout.

default layout

Deleting Custom Fields: A Word of Caution

Sometimes we no longer need a field that we’ve created. It happens. But before you click delete, keep in mind two things:

  • When you delete a field, you also delete all the data you stored in it.
  • There is no undo—deletions are permanent.

That’s why we recommend either exporting the custom field information or transferring the data to another custom field before deletion.

Let’s Sum Up

Congratulations, you can now create both custom fields and custom case layouts in Desk.com. There’s a lot more you can do with custom fields and layouts. But you now have a great foundation for more complex topics such as using custom fields in business automation rules.

Next up, we talk about using labels in Desk.com to organize your cases.

retargeting