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CRM is designed to alert you to possible duplicates when you are creating new records, and if you find duplicate records in your system, it is possible to merge them into a single record.
Duplicate alerts for new records
When you create a new record in CRM, a check is performed on existing records in the module to see if there is a match. If a match is found, a pop-up field will display under the name fields with what could be a match for an existing record – you can click on the displayed name to open the suggested record and check whether or not you are creating a duplicate.
The following example shows a duplicate alert when creating a new Contact record for ‘Test User’, who already has a record in Contacts – the same alert will appear in the First Name and Last Name fields if a match is found.
The alert will do just that – alert you. It will not prevent you from saving and closing the record, which will create a duplicate.
Duplicate alerts will appear in the Companies and Contacts modules of your CRM. The following fields in these modules will trigger an automatic duplicate search:
- Contact record – First Name, Last Name
- Company record – Company Name
Finding duplicate records
There are different ways to locate and merge duplicates, depending on the module you are in:
- In modules Companies, Contacts, Opportunities and Tickets you can manually search when in List View for specific records to merge.
- In the Companies and Contacts modules there is a specific Merge Duplicates View that provides system recommendations on possible duplicates within the module and allows you to manage the merge process from the same window. This is particularly useful for merging duplicates in bulk – to learn how to use this view click here.
This page will guide you through manually searching for duplicates.
A quick way of searching for duplicates is to use the search boxes at the top of each column to display matches. In this example, I have searched for ‘Test User’ in Contacts using the Full Name field to find any records with the same name.
You can search for duplicates using any of the column search boxes, e.g. email or mobile number.
You can merge duplicate records in the following CRM modules: Companies, Contacts, Opportunities and Tickets.
To merge duplicate records in a module, make sure you are in List View, then select the duplicate records and click on Merge Duplicates on the toolbar.
The following example shows the merging of duplicate Contact records.
When you have clicked on Merge Duplicates, a new window will display and ask you to select the main record that you want to merge other secondary records into, i.e. the record that you want to keep.
When choosing which record is the main one, you want to select the record that is most complete and has the most data associated with it. See below for further information about the implications of merging records.
The merge will complete, and you will be left with the remaining record in List View that your other records were merged into. When you open the record, an entry will appear in the Timeline area that documents the merge.
When you merge records, the following data will be combined from all secondary records and transferred into the main record:
- Everything on the record Timeline i.e. notes, emails, SMS, phone calls etc.
- All associated records from other modules e.g. Invoices, Quotes, Payments, Opportunities etc.
All existing data in the main record will be retained – it will not be overwritten with data from secondary records.
When choosing a main record for a merge, there are some possible implications for the data in your secondary records e.g. if all of your records have the Email field populated, only the value in the main record will be kept and any values from the secondary records will be lost.
In this example, this would only be an issue if the Email field in your secondary records had a different email address to the one in your main record – if all the email addresses match in the Email field, you won’t have an issue.
The same principle will apply to the following list of fields within a record form – if data exists in the main record fields, it will be retained and any data that is different in the corresponding fields of the secondary records will be lost – this is only an issue if the data in corresponding main and secondary fields is different.
Addresses are the exception to this rule and if both main and secondary records have a different address of the same type (e.g. physical, delivery, legal etc.) the new secondary record address data will be added to the main record in addition to any existing addresses.