Working with Dialogs in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

Working with Dialogs in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

Today we will take a quick look at Dialogs in CRM2011. Dialogs are a special type of Workflows (process) in CRM that allows for interactive sessions with the user. A typical use would be automating call center scripts. But rather than just being a simple Question / Answer tool, Dialogs also have the ability to query and present CRM data and also carry out workflow execution. So let’s get started and have a quick overview of Dialogs in CRM 2011.

Let’s go ahead and create a simple dialog:

To access Dialogs, you will have to go to Settings > Process Center

Click on New and enter the details. We will create a dialog on Customer Entity and name our process as Customer Info – to gather customer information. Make sure you choose the type as Dialog.

This will get you this page. Let’s keep it as an “On Demand Process” for now.

A few things to note on this page:

Input arguments – this is used when the dialog is called from another process and can be used to pass input parameters to the Dialog. Notice that we have created this dialog as an “On Demand” process. Input arguments can only be passed to dialogs which are created as a “Child Process”.

Variables – this is used to declare and add variables to the dialog. These are helpful for storing temporary values or calculations and will exist only for the duration of the dialog and will not be saved to the CRM Database.

Click on “Add Step” and select Page. At least one page needs to be added before you can go ahead and add “Prompt and Response”. So let’s add a page and call it “Ask for Customer Details”.

If you notice, Dialogs also gives you similar options as a standard workflow, but for now let’s explore the prompt and response to build a CSR script. So, let’s add a few.

After you have entered the Prompt, “May I have your First Name please?” click on the “Set Properties” button.

This gives you a Prompt – Response properties (which looks a lot like the attribute creation form) along with a Dynamic Value builder Form Assistant. This works similar to the Dynamic Values in Workflows and Processes. Let’s go ahead and explore these.

Label – Label for the Prompt

Prompt Text – The Prompt that will be provided to the CSR. Let go ahead and enter “May I have your First Name please?”. You can of course use the dynamic value to create a dynamic prompt.

Tip Text – This can be used as a hint / tip for the CSR. You can use plain text or the dynamic values for the Tip Text.

Response Details – This section is used to specify how the response is to be recorded. The options are:

  1. None – No response to be recorded
  2. Single Line – This also enables the Data Type Field under. Data that can be captured is a single line of text, Integer or Float
  3. Options Set (radio buttons) – For entering a pair of inputs, option values can be either entered or queried from CRM
  4. Option Set (picklist) – For entering multiple values for picklist – values can be either entered or queried from CRM
  5. Multiple Lines (Text Only) – For entering larger amount of text – such as descriptions, etc, similar to nText in CRM

Log Response – Where the response will be logged in the Dialog or not

Data Type – To be used in conjunction with Response Type (only for Single Line)

Default Value – If any default value is required to be entered

Options set values – Values can be either entered or queried from CRM

So let’s go ahead and add a few steps.

We have added four steps, three of which are simple prompts and response is a single line of text. The last one is also a simple text prompt, but the response is a picklist, the values for which we have entered in the dialog. After you have saved the Dialog, we need to activate it, before the dialog can be made available for execution.

Now for executing the dialog, let’s go to the contact form. Since we have created this dialog as an on demand process, we will have to manually execute it. Open any contact record and click on Start Dialog Button in the Ribbon.

This will pop up this screen.

Select the Dialog that you have created and click OK. This will bring up the Dialog, which will take you step by step through the Prompt and Responses.

Once you have run through the script click on the “Next” Button. This will take you to the next page of the Dialog. But since we have only one page, this will take you to the end.

Click on Finish to end the dialog.

To access the dialog and the saved response (since we have opted to log the response), go to the “Dialog Sessions” on the Customer record under the “Processes Section” in the left hand navigation pane.

This gets you the following Dialog Summary:

The summary contains the prompts and the completed responses for a history of the dialog. There can be multiple versions of the dialog, for the number of times that you have interacted with the contact. And there can be several different dialogs based on the incident or nature of interaction. In a later post, we will explore the various advanced options of Dialogs.


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4 Responses to Working with Dialogs in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

  1. Usman Ahmed says:


    Thanks for explaining very nicely about CRM 2011 dialogs. Can you please tell me is there any way, we could create dialog to select multiple values from options set?

    • animandal says:

      Hi Usman

      Dialogs are very similar to workflows and you can do most of the operations that you can do in workflows. If you have a way of selecting multiple values from an option set in a workflows, you can apply the same principle in dialogs. However, I do not think there is any easy out of box way of selecting multiple values in an option set.

      Various workarounds can be selected though, but none are supported out of box.


  2. Avinash Verma says:

    Very Nicely Explained.. Thanks I created my first dialog 🙂

  3. Chris L-T says:

    Incredibly detailed and helpful explanation!
    I would really love to read your “later post, we will explore the various advanced options of Dialogs” – did you already publish it?

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