Do Tracking Tokens work without Smart Matching? RRS feed

  • Question

  • We have a need, as many do, to match incoming e-mails from our clients with currently open cases, opportunities, orders, etc. However, we found that when we turned Smart Matching back on (our solutions provider who installed it had turned it off), e-mails from certain automated sources, which generate messages with exactly the same sender, recipient and subject but different content, were being incorrectly routed to the most recent record that one of these e-mails had been manually associated with. We cannot change the system by which these e-mails are generated to make the subject lines unique in some way, but these e-mails represent new work for one of our departments and must come into a CRM queue. So, we can't use Smart Matching, and the only other option is Tracking Tokens.

    Now, per this this MSDN article: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd979490.aspx, Tracking Tokens only increase Smart Matching’s accuracy; they cannot, by themselves, relate an e-mail to a record (this was apparently a change between CRM 3 and 4 when SM was introduced), they only ensure that two distinct conversations with the same subject line are unique so Smart Matching can easily tell them apart. However, there seems to be little consensus even from MVPs and Microsoft Press authors about this. Working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 says there are only two options for e-mail routing: Smart Matching alone, and Smart Matching with Tracking Tokens, implying tokens by themselves just add cruft to the subject line. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Unleashed basically says the same thing at first, but then later in the book says “You can track incoming e-mails in two ways: by using the CRM tracking token, and through message filtering and correlation” implying that the token works by itself without Smart Matching.

    Virtually all blog posts on the subject are on the topic of turning off tracking tokens while still matching incoming messages. I haven’t found a single one that talks about using tokens without the matching engine.

    So, I will specifically ask, for me and hopefully others; do Tracking Tokens work by themselves in CRM 2011 (RU13) to match incoming e-mails to records, with Smart Matching disabled? If so, how exactly does the matching work? Is it something in CRM or its E-mail Router, or in Exchange? How much of the message's header info can change before it won't match anymore? Are there any server or client configurations other than disabling tokens or e-mail routing outright, that would prevent token-only matching from working?

    Thursday, November 21, 2013 11:45 PM

All replies

  • I have 4 customers with exact same issue: automated mails - in this case from a Scanner - was related to wrong regarding subjects.

    I turned off smart matching, and this solved the issue. So today and for the last 2 years these customers have used nothing but tokens (which of course is not so popular, since it messes up the subject line).


    Friday, November 22, 2013 9:24 AM
  • You should have no problem turning off smart matching and only using the tracking token.  The only issue I see is that users may need to manually track new e-mails because the system will not know they are related.

    The smart matching process consists of taking the Subject field, TO field and FROM field, and using an algorithm to combine these 3 fields to create a fingerprint that will identify the thread.  This is id is then stored in the match code base table that contains a reference to what record in CRM the e-mail regards.

    When a new e-mail is generated and sent or one is received, this same process happens again in the background, and the match code base table is checked to see if this id or fingerprint is found.  If it is the same thread, the id should match.  Unless of course someone has added additional recipients to the thread before sending the message.  In that case, the algorithm will produce a different id or fingerprint because of the data which would not match what was previously tracked.

    People who use CRM and tend to send e-mails with the same subject to the same recipients will experience a tracking issue because the algorithm will produce the same id each time.  I have see this in the past with a customer who could not figure out why all their e-mails were being tracked to a single Account in CRM.  Once they made a change to the subject line making it relevant to the body of the e-mail and regarding record, things began working.  You can't send an e-mail to the same recipients using the same subject line like important new account.

    I'm sure there is some margin for error/difference with the match code, but I don't know exactly what it is.  One flaw I had seen in this in CRM 4 was that after an extremely large number of unique e-mails were tracked into CRM over a few years of use, some personal e-mails were getting promoted and related to records by mistake. This was due to the fact that users were automatically promoting all their e-mail (including personal email) into CRM.  My belief is that after several years of doing this, and an extremely large number of records in the match code base table, when an incoming e-mail was received, the algorithm was likely to find a very close match.  Almost like buying a million lottery tickets with random numbers.  The more tickets you by, the greater chance of you winning the lottery.  Their only option at that point was to turn off the smart matching in CRM 4.0 and use tracking tokens.

    Tracking tokens rely on a code being generated and added to the end of the subject line in an e-mail.  Users don't like this because it looks like spam, and can be caught by spam filters.  However, this is the most accurate because the original tracking is started by the user and not automated.  So if it is tracked to the wrong record initially, it is user error.  All e-mails in the thread will have the same tracking number.  However, if someone changes the tracking number in the subject line, it will break the proper tracking when CRM tries to promote it into CRM upon receipt.  Either it will not promote or it will promote and relate to the wrong record if the token matches one already used.

    When using tracking tokens, you need to be careful to plan.  You need to choose the base settings for the tracking token and take into account the number of e-mails you plan to send.  More e-mails will require a longer tracking token.  If you choose one to short, you will eventually cycle through the end and start over in the sequence again too soon which could lead to an initially tracked e-mail to have the same tracking token as an e-mail thread that was started 4 years ago for example.

    Using both smart matching and tracking token together provide a very effective means to properly track e-mails in CRM.

    Jason Peterson

    Jason Peterson

    Friday, November 22, 2013 10:14 AM
  • I have 4 customers with exact same issue: automated mails - in this case from a Scanner - was related to wrong regarding subjects.

    I turned off smart matching, and this solved the issue. So today and for the last 2 years these customers have used nothing but tokens (which of course is not so popular, since it messes up the subject line).


    Thanks for this. We're basically molding CRM into a technical support platform, meaning most of the e-mails sent will be regarding Case records. Our helpdesks receive a large number of new issues from e-mails, and so the fact that e-mails originating from outside CRM won't be matched is in fact exactly what we want. But, once the e-mail has been converted to a case, the remainder of the conversation should be linked to that case.
    Friday, November 22, 2013 3:31 PM