Customer entities (account, contact)
Applies to Dynamics 365 (online), version 9.x
The account and contact entities in Dynamics 365 are essential for identifying and managing customers, selling products and services, and providing superior service to the customers. A customer address entity is used to store address and shipping information for a customer.
The account entity is one of the entities in Dynamics 365 to which most other entities are attached or parented. In Dynamics 365, an account represents a company with which the business unit has a relationship. Information that is included in an account is all relevant contact information, company information, category, relationship type, and address information. Other information that applies includes the following items:
An account can be a parent to almost any other entity. This includes another account.
An account can be a standalone entity.
An account can have only one account as its parent.
Accounts can have multiple child accounts and child contacts.
Account management is one of the important concepts of business-to-business customer relationship management (Dynamics 365) because an organization wants to see all the activities they have with another company All these activities come together at the account level.
In Dynamics 365, a contact represents a person, usually an individual, with whom a business unit has a relationship, such as a customer, a supplier, or a colleague. The contact entity is one of the entities that most other entities are linked to. A contact can be a stand-alone entity. Included in this entity are professional, personal, and family information, and multiple addresses.
Both accounts and contacts are part of managing customers and are related to one another in the following ways:
A contact can be a parent to every other entity except accounts and contacts.
A contact can have only one account as its parent.
A contact can be marked as the primary contact person for an account by using the Update method.
The contact entity stores all information about a person such as an email address, street address, telephone numbers, and other related information, such as the birthday or anniversary date. Depending on the type of customers a business unit has, it needs either only contacts, or contacts and accounts, to give a full view of its customers.
The basic operations that you can perform on a contact include Create, Read, Update, and Delete.
Linking entities such as activities and notes to the contact entity lets user see all the communication the user has had with a customer, any actions the user has taken on behalf of the customer, and all information the user needs about the customer.