Customers in your database don’t exist in isolation. Some of them will have connections to other customers, whether those are familial or professional, and indeed some customers will have links to the organisations that they work for or are otherwise connected to. You might even have organisations which are linked to other organisations.
To help you keep track of these connections, Spektrix includes the ability to create Relationship Types, apply these to your customers, and use them for various purposes.
This article looks at what relationships are, how they're set up and how they can be used in Spektrix. If you're looking for something specific, you can use the headings below to navigate to the relevant part of the article.
- What are relationships in Spektrix?
- Why do I want to use relationships?
- How do I set relationships up?
- Types of customers
- Relationship permutations
- Creating Relationship Types
- Editing Relationship Types
- Using relationships in Spektrix
- Adding relationships to customers
- Buying on behalf of Organisations
- Buying on behalf of other Individuals
- A Relationship Type, which determines what the two sides are called and how they interact with each other.
- A relationship on the customer record, which links one customer to another, and demonstrates the connection.
You can set up as many Relationship Types as you like, with each one representing a different kind of relationship between two customers. For example:
- Parent and child.
- Influencer and prospective donor
As customers can be both Individuals and also Organisations (see section below on Types of customers), you can also have Relationship Types which connect individual people to the organisations that they work for or are otherwise linked to, and also which connect one organisation to another. For example:
- Personal Assistant.
- Board Member.
- Charitable Arm (this one represents one organisation being the charitable part of a wider organisation).
- Trust and trustee
- Board member and your organisation
- Grant manager and funding body (i.e. Arts Council England)
Here’s how a simple Parent to Child relationship can look in the customer record, which you can find in both the Sales and Opportunities interfaces:
Why do I want to use relationships?
Information about how your customers interact with each other, as well as your organisation, can be used to inform the way in which you communicate with your customers. For example, relationships are especially handy for fundraisers. You can manage your contacts at funding organisations by linking their individual records to the main organisation record, making it easy for you to track correspondence and keep your list of contacts current. You may also want to link a prospective high-level donor to someone within your organisation (or your board) who is their main influencer on your behalf, so that you know who correspondence to that prospect should come from.
How do I set relationships up?
There’s nothing that needs turning on to allow you to use relationships, so all you need to do is set up one or more Relationship Types and you can then start applying relationships to your customers.
If you’re setting this up for the first time, it’s worth making sure you’re familiar with the different types of customers in Spektrix before you go any further. Feel free to skip this section if you’re already familiar with the concepts of Individuals and Organisations.
Types of customers
While we normally talk about customers as a generic concept, there are in fact two separate types of customer that you can have in Spektrix - Individuals and Organisations. You’ll see this when you try to set up a new customer in either the Sales or Opportunities Interface, as you will be asked to choose which type of customer you want to set up:
Both types of customer can have customer records set up in Spektrix, but they each work slightly differently in practice.
As the name suggests, Individuals are people - use this type of customer when you want to set up an account for an actual person, as opposed to a business or other organisation.
You can tell that a customer is an Individual by looking for the little blue person icon next to their name, like in this image below:
Individuals can book tickets and merchandise, own memberships and make donations - everything that Spektrix allows you to sell can be bought by Individuals. Most of your customers will always be Individuals.
Organisations are slightly different, in that they exist for the purposes of tracking the organisations you work with, but require one or more Individuals to make purchases on their behalf.
An Organisation is represented by a slightly different icon, to differentiate it from Individuals:
Organisations can’t make bookings or donations, or hold memberships. You can, however, add them to orders by choosing an Individual to act as a facilitator. This is why relationships are so important, as they allow you to connect Individuals to Organisations in order to make orders this way.
Bearing in mind the two types of customers, when you come to create a new Relationship Type you need to choose which customers can make use of it. It’s possible to create a Relationship Type which can allow Individuals to book on behalf of Organisations, or alternatively you can restrict the relationship to being between just Individuals or just Organisations.
Here are the three possible permutations:
- Individual to Individual
- Individual to Organisation
- Organisation to Organisation
- In the Admin Interface, go to Customers > Relationship Types.
- You’ll need the General Administrator user role on your account to do this.
- In the Opportunities Interface, go to the Admin Dashboard > Relationship Types.
- You’ll need the Opportunities Administrator user role on your account to do this.
Regardless of which interface you’re in, you’ll see any existing Relationship Types already built displayed down the left hand side of the screen:
At the bottom-left of the screen there are three buttons, each one representing a different permutation of Relationship Type. If you’re not sure which is which, hover your cursor over each one and you’ll see a small popup explaining what type it is.
When you select one of those options, you’ll see an empty Relationship Type pop up on the screen, with a range of sections needing filling in, with required fields marked by a red line at the left hand side. These are the same sections regardless of which type you choose.
First things first, give your Relationship Type a name. This isn’t visible anywhere to customers, so choose a name that’s going to make the most sense to you and your organisation’s staff.
Relationship Types are slightly different to most things in Spektrix in that there are visual elements to interpret here as well. The key thing to understand is how the two sides of the relationship interact with each other, so we’ll take a quick look at that first.
Two sides to a relationship
As you can see, the example above is an Individual to Individual type, with each side of the relationship represented currently blank. This is so that you can choose exactly how the relationship should work - you can fill these in however you want.
Using the example of a Parent to Child relationship, you could fill these in like this:
The blue arrows represent the direction of the relationship, and allow you to fill in exactly how it works. For example:
You can now see how this relationship should work. When applied to customers’ accounts it will be displayed using the customers’ names and the appropriate text from this screen:
Once you’ve filled in the name and the two sides of the relationship, there are a few more choices to make, in terms of how this Relationship Type will work.
First, you’ll have noticed that there are two tick-boxes labelled Can act on behalf of, one under each of the direction arrows. These options allow you to enable Facilitated Booking on the Relationship Type, which means that you can give one or both sides of the relationship the ability to make orders on behalf of the other. For more information on this, see our article on Facilitated Booking.
There are two remaining options now:
- Default importance: a drop-down list allowing you to apply an importance to each Relationship Type which determines the order in which relationships are displayed in the customer record. 5 is the highest importance, and 1 the lowest.
- Perpetual relationship: if un-ticked, a user creating a relationship on a customer’s account can set start and end dates, for example with a professional relationship. Tick this for relationships which are permanent, like familial relationships.
Editing Relationship Types
If you want to edit a Relationship Type then you just need to select which one you want to edit and click anywhere over the relationship details. You’ll see a blue border appear, and a small pencil icon, but you can click anywhere. All sections will then be available to edit, and after you’re done you can just click the Save button to save your changes.
If you want to delete a Relationship Type, follow the same process but click the Delete button instead of the Save button.
Using relationships in Spektrix
With one or more Relationship Types set up in Spektrix, you can apply relationships to customer accounts, use those relationships when making orders, and incorporate relationships into various elements of your day to day business.
Adding relationships to customers
You can add one or more relationships to a customer record in either the Sales or Opportunities Interface. At the bottom of the customer record page there’s a section for Relationships:
This will display all relationships that are currently applied to that customer, and give you the option to add further relationships.
If you click the Add Relationship button you will be prompted to choose an existing customer:
You can either select an existing or customer or, once you’ve made a search, add a new Individual - in which case you can create a new customer record as normal, and then add that to the relationship:
Once a customer is selected, you can choose which Relationship Type you want to apply, set its importance, and - if applicable - choose from and to dates for the relationship. Once you’re ready, click the Create Relationship button to add that relationship.
If you want to edit an existing relationship, just click anywhere on the relationship, make the necessary changes and then click the Save button:
Buying on behalf of Organisations
Individual to Organisation relationships allow individual customers to book on behalf of the organisations that they are connected to. This works by adding the organisation into the basket, and then choosing which of the customers that are linked to it should be the Facilitator.
As soon as you add an Organisation into the basket, you will see a Select facilitator popup, which allows you to choose an existing Facilitator, or add a new one:
Once you’ve chosen a Facilitator, the basket will show the Organisation along with the name of the Facilitator that you’ve chosen:
You can then proceed with the order as you would normally. Once confirmed, the order will show both the organisation and the Facilitator:
When you look at the Orders tab within the organisation’s customer record, you will see the Facilitator name next to each order:
Buying on behalf of other Individuals
Individual to individual relationships allow one customer to book on behalf of another - this is known as a Facilitated Booking. You may find this useful if you often sell ‘terms’ of classes where parents may want to book on behalf of their children. You can also use this to allow customers who share a joint membership to book on behalf of each other and share the benefits associated with that membership. For more information about this feature please see our article on Facilitated Booking in Spektrix.
If you have any further questions about relationships, please get in touch with the Spektrix Support team.