Last week Microsoft released Outlook Customer Manager (OCM), a new Office 365 service that helps small businesses track and grow their customer relationships right within Outlook. The feature is available at no extra cost to Office 365 Business Premium subscribers – and is rolled out in stages beginning with those who selected the First Release option and continuing to all subscribers in the coming weeks. When the feature has been enabled on your account, you will see an "Customer Manager" button on the Home tab of your Outlook (windows) application.
When opening OCM for the first time, you will be presented with a welcome screen. Clicking the "start" button initiates the application, including creation of an Office 365 Group called "Outlook Customer Manager". The group will be used to facilitate content sharing - a feature that is coming soon. The first user in your organization who initiates OCM is assigned as the group owner. Subsequent users will be automatically added as members during the set up.
A business contact is a specially flagged outlook contact to differentiate with your personal contacts. When opening OCM from an email, OCM checks if the email sender is already set up as a business contact. Otherwise, it will automatically prompt you to create a business contact.
Once the business contact is created, OCM then automatically shows communication history between you and the business contact. This include previous emails (including email sent and received by you) as well as meetings. Any new email and meeting between you and the business contact will now be automatically shown on the timeline.
You can find the list of all business contacts you created by going to the Outlook's add-ins view. Look for the Add-ins icon on the lower left corner of Outlook -- note that you may need to first click "…" to navigate to the Add-ins window.
Click on "Contacts" tab to view your business contacts. At the top of the page, you may find several contacts shown under "Focused" section. OCM automatically shows business contact whom you have active engagements such as contacts with an active deals, active task, upcoming meetings, and any contacts you recently engaged to help you access the contacts easily.
You can add more business contact by creating new or convert an existing outlook contact to a business contact. You can locate existing outlook contacts by switching the filter dropdown option from "Business Contact" to "All Contacts"
Search for the contact name or scroll the list until you find the contact. Selecting the contact opens a contact summary windows. Click "View Details" near the top of the window to open the business contact's detailed information.
Look for "Business Contact" toggle near the bottom of the business contact detail view. Click to switch and click "Save" to finish the update.
Return to the Business Contact list to view the new contact.
In this article, we discussed how to get started with the new Outlook Customer Manager, including adding and managing business contact. In the next article, I will discuss on creating and managing companies in OCM.
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