Get $#!+ Done with Chatter Publisher Actions

Get $#!+ Done with Chatter Publisher ActionsChatter publisher actions are one of my favorite Salesforce functions. Using publisher actions instead of a custom button encourages Chatter adoption, improves user efficiency, enhances the Salesforce1 mobile experience and allows your end users to get $#!+ done.

If Chatter is not enabled in your org, take a moment to read It’s Time to Reevaluate Salesforce Chatter. Publisher actions are much cooler with Chatter enabled. Summer ’14 gave admins the ability to create publisher actions for Salesforce1 without Chatter enabled.

Benefits of Publisher Actions

So, what are the benefits to publisher actions, especially compared to custom buttons? Here are a few:

  • Reduce the clutter of page layouts by replacing custom buttons with publisher actions
  • URL hacks (which are commonly used in custom buttons) are not supported by Salesforce and may break without notice – publisher actions don’t need URL hacks
  • Show end users only the fields that they need to see to create a specific record
  • Publisher actions can update records whereas a custom button cannot
  • They are available on Salesforce1 without additional work
  • Help drive Chatter adoption

Internally, I did some calculations to see how beneficial a publisher action can be. Here is what I found.

Users can now create a New Feature Request case 54% faster using the publisher action versus the custom button it replaced, and we have seen a 48% increase in the number of Feature Request cases being created in the two months since it’s deployment vs. the two months before the deployment.

These are amazing results!

Know Your Audience

Before creating a publisher action, start by understanding user pain points. This is a critical step as the intention behind a publisher action is to simplify a common task.

Conduct a review of any custom buttons in the org. Custom buttons can often be replaced by a publisher action with relative ease.

Now that we have identified the actions that we want to create in Chatter, it’s time to put on our hard hats and configure!

Building the Action

Building the action is straightforward and easy. We’ll walk through the steps to create a publisher action which will create a new feature request case on the Account object. Follow the same steps for any object where a publisher action should be created.

1. Once in Setup, click Customize | Accounts | Buttons, Links, and Actions

2. Click New Action

3. Complete the New Action form. In this example, we will be creating a record. The Target Object indicates the type of record we are creating. Provide a name for the action and enter a description. Optionally, change the icon to match the action. The screenshot below shows the settings of the feature request action.

New_Action_Details

New Chatter Action Details

4. Click Save.

5. Awesome! Our action is created; now we need to modify the page layout. To do this, click Edit Layout.

6. Drag and drop to arrange fields and modify field level security. Publisher actions should include only the minimum number of fields needed to create the new record. Be careful not to complicate the layout – only add what is necessary. Click Save when the page layout is setup the way you want.

Action_Page_Layout

Publisher Page Layout Editor

Great job! The publisher action is now complete. Before releasing it to the masses, let’s add a few predefined values. Predefined values allow us to default specific fields with a value to further expedite the creation of this new record.

7. In the Predefined Field Values section of the action, click New. Choose the field that you want to create a predefined value for then enter the desired value. Click Save. Repeat this process for any additional fields that should be predefined.

8. The publisher action is ready to go – now we need to put it on the page layout. Navigate to the Account page layouts and click Edit. At the top of the layout editor, click Actions and add the new publisher action to the top of the page.

Account_Page_Layout

Be sure to test out the new functionality. As with all new features, testing is important!

Here is what the New Feature action looks like:

New_Feature_Request_Chatter_Publisher_Action

New Feature Request Publisher Action

Results

As mentioned, the launch of this publisher action in my organization has been very successful.

In the two months since deploying the new publisher action, we have seen a 48% increase in the number of feature request cases being created and users can create the cases 54% faster when compared to the use of the now defunct custom button.

Now that you know how easy it is to create a publisher action, what are you going to create? Let me know what kind of cool publisher actions you are creating by leaving a comment below!

 

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4 Comments


  1. Jose

    March 9, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    Excellent tutorial Brent 🙂

    I never new Publisher Actions where that effective!

    Thanks dude!

    Reply

    • Brent Downey

      March 9, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      Thanks Jose! I didn’t really either until I built one! Now I swear by them!

      Reply

  2. Frank

    March 7, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Hi, do you know if it possible to redirect the page to the record just created upon creation? It only says “succeed” and it stays in the same page, but would be great if there is an way to automatically go to the case/record to review it. Thanks.

    Reply

    • Brent Downey

      March 8, 2016 at 9:39 am

      That’s a great question Frank, and one that I haven’t found an answer to. While there isn’t a record redirect, the newly created record does create an entry in Chatter that can be clicked into by the user. Not ideal, but it’s the best option currently.

      Reply

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