It is fairly common for CRM software to provide a merge function to bring duplicate contacts together. It’s a necessary tool for keeping customer account data tidy and useful. Unfortunately, merging is a potentially destructive and irreversible action. Think of it like mixing paint colors: everything gets mixed together and once you make edits you can’t take them apart. So if you mistakenly merge things together, you’re stuck. There’s no unmixing paint.
We wanted to do better than that with Synap, and we looked to Google’s Android operating system for inspiration.
When Google overhauled their Android operating system for Material Design, their UX designers found that the dialogs asking a user “Are you sure you want to delete this?” were damaging to their user experience. They planted a seed of doubt and made the user feel as if their judgment was suspect. So the Android team decided to eliminate those confirmation dialogs, and instead offer “Undo” functionality in its place.
This idea found its way into many Google products, including their excellent Inbox app. Across the web and mobile apps, the most common actions you take in Inbox end with the opportunity to Undo what you just did. This builds trust with the user, because they know that an errant tap is not going to permanently delete something important. And that trust enables the user to get more done, because they can interact with the app quickly, and without fear of making mistakes.
So when thinking about the contact merging problem, we knew it was important to enable users to undo a choice. So instead of merging contacts, we offer users the option to link multiple contacts together into one combined profile.
Once you link contacts together, Synap basically stacks them up in layers. We take the different bits of information from each contact and merge them into one view, but importantly, we still keep track of which original contact record contains each piece of information. That means a user can always come back and separate the original contacts, like pulling Lego pieces apart and putting them back together in a different configuration. This is great for our users because they can confidently “merge” together contacts as part of the daily workflow. Instead of doing it the old-fashioned way, where they might hesitate to clean up their data for fear of making a mistake that they couldn’t undo.
Offering flexible tools for data management is just one of the ways Synap helps account managers to grow their accounts, nurture their customer relationships and ensure team continuity. If you’re interested in learning more, be sure to check out our tour or get in touch with anyone on our team.