Friday, June 24, 2016 Data Importer - Customer Support Stories

As I've written about previously, I've had lots of issues with's new Data Importer tool. Recently, while importing a number of leads, I came across an issue that I wrote about on Twitter -- namely, that when you import records with the new tool, if you set "Record Type" in the interface, the import doesn't actually respect that setting, instead assigning the records to the default record type. If you're importing a lot of records, this can be a real pain in the ass.

And so I fired out a series of tweets.'s Twitter customer support replied back suggesting that I create a case. Sure enough, when I did, Salesforce customer support contacted me back and informed me that it was a known issue -- and how to subscribe to updates for when it would be fixed.

The workaround, he informed me, was to use the legacy Data Import tool. I didn't think that was still available, but he directed me to a link at the top of the "Import Leads" page. It's subtle, and it would be nice if they included a more prominent button in the interface, but the good news is that the old tool is still there. Until early 2017.

Helpful Customer Service -- When They Talk To You
Overall, discussing the issue on the phone with the customer support rep worked out well. Much better than some of the responses that I've received online in the past. My favorite is when the Twitter customer support sent me a link to "How to Configure Your .CSV file" in response to my complaints about the new Data Importer.

While talking with the rep on the phone, I also took the time to complain about how the new Data Import engine forced you to add a "Lead Status" field when you imported leads. His explanation is that the legacy tool didn't bother to verify whether required fields were populated or not and that, technically, the new tool works better. From an engineering perspective, I understand that this is a technically valid point. However, as I mentioned during my call, if you're importing LEADS, it's reasonable to assume that they are "OPEN". If not, you could easily add a Lead Status Field and import them with a different status. While it is technically operating closer to defined rules, it's not operating smarter.

We even spent a bit of time arguing about whether the Data Import Wizard would allow you to continue through your import if you left some fields unmapped. He adamantly swore that it would. My experience tells me that it doesn't. But your mileage may very.

Perhaps my biggest take-away from the experience is a reminder of just how much better it is to actually talk to a customer support person at Salesforce. It's a reminder that that aspect worked much better in the past, when they did more to support their customers before the days of expensive tiered customer support and the need to spend a ton of money just to access the human infrastructure.

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