We use Cases in Microsoft Dynamics CRM to track issues or problems that need resolution.
When a constituent sends an email to support mailbox (to an address you designate), Work 365 Email to Case Automation add-on automatically creates a Case in CRM and auto-populates Case fields from email body.
To understand the business benefits and the high-level process flow for Email to Case Automation, please refer my earlier blog “Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Service Automation – Email to Case“.
While Email to Case is pretty awesome, there are few downsides that you may come across over a period of time. This blog provides an overview of various features and functionalities that have been added to overcome these gaps and pitfalls based on experience with our customers.
Functionality of Email To Case Automation:
1. Case Exclusion Settings
Spam: Support addresses like support@ or help@ will get a lot of spam. If you do not have a mechanism to filter this spam then you will end up with a lot of junk cases.
In Email to Case add-on, you can not only specify the domains and email list that you would like to exclude from case creation but also configure the keywords that would be matched with the email subject.
Email looping: A best practice for email to case is to have an auto-reply going back to the constituent with case number and information on how to get back in touch. This is fantastic unless/until that person also has an auto-reply.
However, it’s still not that worse compared to an infinite loop of emails and cases that could happen if the receiver also has some email-to-case mechanism.
In Email to Case add-on, there is a built-in mechanism to identify and break the loop from happening. This is also configurable.
Re-Creation of Cases on restarting of CRM Email router: CRM Email router fetches all emails from the mailbox into CRM and creates an email activity.
If you follow a practice of deleting the unwanted email activities from CRM (but not from mailbox) and by any chance, you need to restart the router then all the old email activities will get re-created automatically and will result in a lot of unwanted cases.
In Email to Case add-on, you can specify the exclusion criteria for emails to be ignored if older than X hours.
2. Case Creation Settings
When a Case is created in CRM using Email to Case add-on, the title of the case is populated by the email subject whereas the description of the case is populated by the email body.
Stripping of HTML from Email body: Most of the emails today are in HTML format and directly pasting the body to description will display a lot of junk text.
Email to Case add-on will extract the email body, strip the HTML content and then copy it to the Case description.
Attachments: Wouldn’t you like the attachments from email to be easily available along with the Case?
Email to Case add-on has the option to extract the attachment from incoming email and pushing it to the Case Notes for easy reference.
Case Closure or escalation email notification: One of the important use cases is sending of Case Closure email to the constituent who had sent email to support. We know that this can be easily achieved by writing an out-of-box workflow which would send this email when Case status changes to resolve.
However, when building this workflow, you will soon realize that it is not possible to send email to the Case. Customer field. So in a workflow, you will need to use “Responsible Contact” field.
Email to Case add-on allows setting of the “Case. Responsible Contact” to a Contact in CRM by searching the Contacts database with the sender’s email id. This is very helpful in sending case closure or case escalation emails thus keeping your contacts informed about the latest status of the cases.
Automatic Linking of Case to Account or Contact in CRM:
1. Account (Search Contact): E2CA tries matching email id of the sender with Contact E-mail, E-mail Address 2, E-mail Address 3. If the match is found then it links the newly created case to the Parent Account of this contact.
We find this option quite useful because many of our customers like to track cases at Account level…however the sender’s email address needs to be matched against the Contacts in CRM.
2. Account (Search Account): E2CA tries matching email id of the sender with Account E-mail, E-mail Address 2, E-mail Address 3.
3. Contact: E2CA tries matching email id of the sender with Contact E-mail, E-mail Address 2, E-mail Address 3
4. Contact & Account: E2CA first searches Contact database and if no matching found then searches account database.
5. Account & Contact: E2CA first searches Account database and if no matching found then searches Contact database.
3. Case Owner Assignment Settings
Email to Case add-on provides the below options for automatically assigning the Case Owner on case creation:
1. Default CRM User
2. Default CRM Team
3. CRM Support Users in Round Robin fashion: In telecommunication companies, traffic of customer support requests is always high. There is a possibility that some of the support executives are very busy in providing customer service, while others being utilized to a minimum. To avoid such condition, Email To Case Add-on provides the functionality of assigning the cases to customer support users on round robin basis, thus ensuring that the load of work is distributed more evenly across the support team members.
4. Account / Contact Owner against whom the Case is logged
5. Preferred User set in Account / Contact against whom the Case is logged
In some organizations, there may be a dedicated account manager or a preferred customer support executive to provide the support services to a client. In case of a financial company, an account manager may be the right person to solve the client’s queries quickly with personalized attention.
However, in case of a software maintenance company, a client would be more comfortable with a preferred support user due to his proximity to reach client office in less time.
For such scenarios, Email to Case add-on enables the company to configure whether the cases will be directly assigned to the Account Manager or any other preferred support user thus providing personalized support experience to the customer and increasing client satisfaction.
4. Existing Case Check – Searching for Case Number in the email subject
Before creating a new case, Email to Case add-on will first check if the incoming email is part of communication for an existing case.
There are following options provided:
1. Use CRM Smart Matching technique
2. Create new case always
3. Search for case number in all open cases only:
In addition to the default smart matching technique that comes built-in, Work 365 Email to Case add-on provides a “Case Number search” algorithm that allows searching of Case Number from open cases to the keywords present in the Email subject. Since there are a lot of limitations in using the smart matching technique, this has been one of the most appreciated features by our customers.
4. Search for case number in open as well as a closed case:
Email to Case add-on also provides an option to re-open an existing resolved case if the time since closure is less than that mentioned in configuration.
5. Auto Response Emails notification settings
Often, the most important thing in the customer support process can be the simplest – letting the customer know you’re listening. One of the most powerful ways is to send a simple auto-reply to your customer letting them know that you received their request.
Email to Case add-on allows you to select the email template for sending auto-response. Further, there is also an option to mark the Case Owner in the CC section of the email.
CRM Dynamics is a great platform to build CRM solutions for small business to an enterprise organization. However, to enhance the platform, add-ons from different partners provide a great way to improve the user experience and improve productivity.