Contacts - Merging
Purpose: This feature allows one contact record to be merged into another contact record. Agencies may want to merge contact records to clean up inadvertent duplicates for an existing contact, or in some cases to clean up duplicate user records after data migration.
Use Case: Duplicate Contacts
The “Merge Contacts” option is helpful where a staff user may have inadvertently created a new record for a contact that already existed on your site. Although this duplicate contact could just be set to inactive, if information has been added to both the old and new records, admins may want to merge these two records together in order to combine this information into a single record.
TIP: If one contact record is linked to a user account and the other is not, you typically want to merge the non-user record into the one linked to a user account. If both records are just contact records, it does not matter which record is merged into which; the resulting contact will have all of same information either way.
Use Case: Imported Users
Agencies who are importing users from their source data may see duplicate users on their site post-migration. Duplicate users may already exist in the source data being imported into LegalServer--where, for example a user has separate accounts from a previous data migration, or where a user had both a Volunteer Account and a Staff Account, and both accounts are tied to the same email address, there will be duplicate user and contact records in LegalServer. Agencies may also see duplicate users during the test migration of their data into their demo site where imported user records share an email address with the user created on the demo site during the onboarding process.
Because each User account in LegalServer also has a corresponding Contact Record (see: User Accounts and Contact Records), site admins can use the “Merge Contacts” option to combine these the name, contact information, and assignments for the two records. Note that when merging contact records for users, ALL assignments will be transferred regardless of case disposition: Open, Closed, Pending, and Incomplete Intakes will transfer from the duplicate record into the updated merged record. Compare this to the Mass Assignment Update option which will only allows admins to transfer open cases from one staff user to another staff user.
Note, however, that where contacts are users, the user accounts are not automatically changed. Site administrators will need to manually update the Login Active and Current fields to No by editing system information for each older/duplicate record. On the newer/updated merged user record, site administrators will want to make sure all system information is set as expected. Where system information needs to be updated for a large number of user records, admins can batch edit multiple user records at once. See: Editing Multiple Users Simultaneously.
Note: There may be situations where an agency may NOT want to merge contact records for users, such as when John Doe's historic Volunteer Assignments should be preserved, and not merged into John Doe's current Staff User Assignments. Again, admins are advised to discuss these concerns internally and proceed with caution when merging.
Permissions and General Considerations
To merge contacts, site users must have the Merge Contacts permission in Admin > User Roles (Permissions) enabled for their user role.
If your user role has that necessary permission, each contact profile page will display a "Merge into Another Contact" link in the taskbar or Actions menu. That link displays a page where you can select the contact you want to merge into, or, if this contact is already scheduled to be merged, cancel or perform the merge. The record that is merged will still exist in the database and will be automatically marked inactive.
TIP: Prior to merging, admins may want to temporarily change the name on one of the contact records to something like, "John Doe - Imported" and/or "John Doe - Newer" to make merging multiple contacts into that newer record less visually confusing. Don't forget to update the contact name post-merge.
On the Admin > Contact Merge Queue page, admins can view all scheduled contact merges, re-order the entries, cancel merges, and and set the time for the merge to occur. A contact merge can be an intensive process, potentially updating thousands of records, so it is best to have them occur during non-business hours.
Viewing Merge History
A history of all merges is available on the Admin > Contact Merge Log page.
Can merging contacts be undone?
Once a merge has been performed, that merge cannot be undone. However, if a merge is scheduled to run at a later time, admins can cancel the upcoming merge by going to Admin > Contact Merge Queue to view, edit, or cancel an upcoming merge.
I merged the duplicate contact records for a user, but I'm still seeing both users as active in my user list? Why?
Merging contact records will not automatically inactivate the corresponding user record. Site admins will need to inactive those duplicate records, and should review settings for those users to ensure system information for Login Active, Contact Active, and Current are all set as expected.
Can I merge multiple contact records at once?
No; contact records need to be merged individually.
Ooops! I just made a contact record for a contact who already exists. Do I need to merge that record into the existing one?
If there's no new information in the newly-created contact record, that record can just be inactivated. Contact records only need to be merged where there is additional information in each record that admins want to see combined into one record.