Recently I recognized a problem with merging records, specifically with contacts. We had a contact that had been duplicated because they used a different email, but the same phone # and name, however, they were not assigned to the same contact owner. That's when one of our sales team members decided to merge the contacts together, despite that based on our internal rules (if the contact had never closed a deal in the last 2+ months, they're open game, if a contact does have a closed deal, they can't be touched until 6 months after that and if the current owner hasn't followed up), the contact should still have been assigned to the other sales person.
In simple, person A was assigned the duplicate record, saw that they were duplicated with person B's contact who B had been talking to. Person A merged the two contacts and took ownership of the merged record and didn't follow our rules.
When a sales manager was alerted of this, they came to me to try and see how this could have been avoided, or if we could have prevented this from happening, and we came up with two solutions that would be helpful:
Being able to view the previously merged data
For example, when reviewing potential duplicates, you can set certain properties that can be used to check against the potential duplicate records, having this be a potential viewing option would help sales managers follow up on merged records and help resolve contact ownership disputes
Here is an example of what we check when reviewing duplicates. We want to identify who has the most sales activities, who spoke to the contact the longest time ago, and if two records are super close, I will then review the associated deals attached to the records and see which one closed most recently before determining which contact is the most correct one to act as the primary details for the merged record
In the situation listed above, I'd see that the record on the left has more activities plus a more recent activity date, since both records upon further inspection do not have an associated deal tied to their records, I'd keep the contact associated to the one that has had the most recent back and forth interaction (an email responded to, or a call that had been answered) which was the one on the left.
Set merging records as a permission rather than something anyone can do
While I typically trust our team to merge correctly, this is one of those situations where they didn't know the best procedure in this situation. What we could have done to prevent this is to set permissions for the sales team managers and marketing team members to be the only ones allowed to merge different record types.
Example: had the user been unable to merge the record, they would have reached out to their direct manager or a marketing manager to assess the situation, rather than merging before checking record details
I think these would be two simple ideas to implement to help prevent confusion for a contact, as well as give pause to merging a record before reviewing the necessary details.