Within ServiceNow Customer Service Management, I've found that most implementors and users tend to leverage B2B capabilities, and thus contacts and accounts. This works great for those scenarios - but what about B2C? That is, what about those scenarios when your organization is interacting not with other businesses, but with individual consumers?
In those cases we want to leverage consumer records to represent the users seeking assistance. On the face of it, this seems to be pretty straight-forward if viewed from within the ServiceNow UI: you create a consumer record, and that's it!
However, the reality is a little more complicated. Let's dig in!
The thing to know is there are actually two tables that store consumer data: Consumers [csm_consumer] and Consumer Users [csm_consumer_user]. What's the difference?
The Consumer Users table [csm_consumer_user] stores registration records that are created when consumers complete the self-registration process from the Consumer Service Portal. This table extends the users table [sys_user]. When using self-registration the system ALSO creates a record in the [csm_consumer] table.
The Consumers table [csm_consumer] is a stand-alone table. It does not extend the base users table. It does have a reference to the Consumer Users table. It is also what will be created if you click the new button in the picture above. A record in the consumer users table will NOT be created via this method.
Now that we understand the tables and the differences between the two, what are the use cases?
Use Case 1: Consumer self-service
This use case leverages both tables. Upon a consumer self-registering via the Consumer Portal a record in both tables is created. Data between these records is kept in sync via business rules on the csm_consumer table. A consumer is able to have assets, cases, products, and more associated with their record. The consumer can log in to the portal to view their assets, submit cases, and all the normal things expected with self-service.
Use Case 2: Consumer data collection/storage
This use case leverages only the Consumers table [csm_consumer]. The use case for this table is for importing consumer information you have may in another system (or spreadsheet) so you can track it in ServiceNow, but where you don't ever expect those users to log in to your portal. This includes references to assets, products, and cases.
Something to watch out for: If you opt to import consumers in to only the [csm_consumer] table AND you include their email address in the data load AND you later want to open them up to self-service - the users will get an error on self-service registration. A check occurs to see if their email already exists in the system, and since it does, it will return an error.
There are a few different ways to approach this - contact us for assistance with your Customer Service Management deployment in ServiceNow today!