• How to find and merge duplicates in Bitrix24 CRM

    Ann Slyshkina 26 August 2014
    In March 2014 we added duplicate control to Bitrix24 CRM, alerting users that lead, contact or company they are trying to add to their database may already exist. This summer we expanded this feature to include searching and merging duplicate entries that can be performed at any time, not just data entry.

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    This is how it works.

    Creating an index

    Duplicate search is available for three CRM entities – leads, contacts and companies. You start by selecting a CRM entity that you want to search for duplicates and cre ate index for it. After the index has been created, all you have to do is click the gear icon in the upper right corner and select Duplicate control, which is the last item in the drop down list.

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    Searching for duplicates

    You will see a small duplicate search form appear right above your leads, contacts or companies. There are three boxes – Full name/Company name, email and telephone that you can search for duplicates, either individually or all of them simultaneously.

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    Duplicate search and CRM access rights

    Bitrix24 CRM comes with flexible access rights. This usually means that multiple managers work with CRM, each having access only to his or hear leads, contacts or clients. Each manager is able to perform duplicate search, however if a duplicate entry is found among CRM entities assigned to another manager that the first manager has no access rights to, entity merging will not be available, meaning each manager can only merge entities that he or she is responsible for. CRM administrator, however, will be able to merge duplicates regardless of the fact that such entities have been assigned to different mangers.

    Duplicate merger

    So, now you are ready to merge duplicate entries. IMPORTANT! You can not reverse or undo duplicate entry merger right now, so this operation should be performed only by a person who understands the process and what information and access rights will be lost/altered as the result of the merger. We do plan to add merger history later on, which will provide a detailed log of changes and an option restore CRM entity elements, if necessary.

    When merging duplicate entities, our CRM first determines which lead, contact or company will be primary entity and which ones will be secondary and thus deleted after the merger is complete.

    When determining primary entity, the following factors are considered:

    • Citation index. Citation index is calculated based on how often CRM manager has worked with this entity and how many connection this entity has with other CRM elements such as deals, activities, quotes and invoices. The more entity is connected and worked with, the higher its citation index.
    • Date. CRM entity with more recent changes is ranked higher than the one where no recent changes have been made.
    • Profile. Profiles with more information filled in are ranked higher than profile with fewer records.
    • Access rights. Access rights determine the order in which entities are displayed. Entities with view-only rights will be displayed at the bottom.
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    So you’ve generated a list of likely duplicates for a particular entity. You’ll see several columns with entity fields that have been used to determine that these entities are duplicates – like same name, email address or phone number.

    If another manager is responsible for that entity, you are given an opportunity to contact that manger via calling or sending message to alert him or her of the fact that a duplicate entry exists, that you are about to merge all duplicate entries into one and ask if there’s any important information than needs to be saved.

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    If you want to see a full profile for the entity in question, you can simply click it. If you determine that a particular entity is not a duplicate entry, you should click ‘Skip’ and it will be deleted from the list and not used for a merger.

    If you determine that the entities in the list are in fact duplicates that should be merged, click ‘Merge’.

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    Merger completed

    Again, it’s worth reminding that you can not undo or cancel merger in the current version of Bitrix24 CRM.  After you’ve merged entities, access rights to the final entity might be changed, and information, such as history, activity stream or product catalog associated with the deleted secondary entities, will no longer be available.

    Manager who had access rights to the primary entity will inherit these rights after the merger is completed. Managers who had access rights to secondary entities, but not the primary one, will not have access rights to the merged leads, contacts or companies. If a merger results in access rights loss by one or more managers, you will see a warning beforehand.

    Connections to deals, tasks, quotes and invoices will be changed too. If these were associated with a secondary entity that was deleted, they will no be connected to the primary entity. However, events from the activity stream of the secondary entity, such as creating a deal or an invoice, will not be added to the primary entity.

    After you’ve search for duplicates and merged them, your managers will still be adding new information to CRM, which means that it’s still possible to have duplicate entries in the future. If you click ‘Update list’, the system will search for duplicates again, showing you if any new duplicates have appeared in your database:

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    Within a few months we plan to add duplicate and merger history page, which will not only show you which entities have been merged, but also undo mergers with entities that have been done mistakenly.

    We do understand that finding and merging duplicates is an important feature of any CRM, but it’s also a complicated process. If you have any suggestions or feedback about it, make sure you leave them in our Community Forum.
    Tags: bitrix, crm, duplicates, merge
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