Airtable CRM & Zapier: Adding New Field Data, Instead of Overwriting Existing Data

Hello! I work in higher ed, and am trying to set up a highly automated CRM base. We’ve used Zapier for ages to create and update records in Google Sheets, and are shifting our process over to Airtable to allow more users access to the data.

The primary challenge I’m encountering is in logging interactions. I have a Contacts table (with Email as the unique identifier), and an Interactions table (with things like General Web Form, Event Registration, etc.). So if a candidate fills out the General Web Form, I can have a unique Zap with the text ‘General Web Form’ dropping into the linked records --> Interactions field and it works like a charm.

The challenge is at the second point of conversion: let’s say Event Registration. Zapier can locate the record, and then updated it – but If I use the same trick, the integration will overwrite the existing data in the linked records field, so I lose the General Web Form conversion. Ideally, those conversions would stack up in the same field (linking to multiple records).

My current workaround is to have a column for every single type of conversion on my Contacts table – which is either blank, or filled with the conversion value (so, a column called General Web Form that receives the value General Web Form if triggered by the integration. That tracks every conversion, but means I have a million columns on my Contact table – and my gallery view (which the recruiters are using) isn’t as clean as I’d like it to be.

Because we deal with thousands of contacts in a year, manually adding each conversion point is not an option. The simplest solution seems to be somehow adding multiple records from separate integrations to a single field, but that doesn’t currently seem like an option either.

I was curious if anyone had a technical solution for this issue, or perhaps a more logistical correction if I’m thinking about the structure of my base incorrectly.

Thanks!

Hi Christopher,

If I understand correctly, I think the solve is to find the record you’re trying to update (which you already do) and then in the update record step to add in the previous data. For instance:

Say record abc@gmail.com has linked record “Event 1” and I want to add “Event 2” to the same
“events” field. I find record abc@gmail.com (search step) and then in the update record step, I add “Event1”, “Event2” that way it preserves existing relationships and adds in the new linked record.

Let me know if this helps
Best
Aron

Want to learn Airtable? Join me for a webinar at airtable.com/webinar

Thanks for response, Aron! The only catch there is that I don’t know which event is going to trigger the creation of the record, and which event is going to come second.

I think I developed a pretty solid workaround by adding a table and a step to each Zap. So I have my contact table, with the core bio/demo information: each conversion point searches/adds/updates basic information on that table. I have a second table that I’m called Interaction Stream – the same Zap creates a new, unique interaction on that table.

Since I’m using email as a unique ID, I can simply Zap in the email value to field linked to Contacts – because the other stages of the Zap have run, I know that value also exists on the Contact table. The main Contact table can reference the Interaction Stream table, and grab each unique interaction in a single row.

Plus, this way, I have a record of every unique interaction the team has made over the season!

Thanks again for the suggestion!

Great! Happy we got a solve :slight_smile:

Best
Aron

Want to learn Airtable? Join me for a webinar at airtable.com/webinar

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