Service Cloud Email-to-Case – Current Limitations and Solutions

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Email-to-case is an out of the box Salesforce feature that allows your end customers to send an email to an alias, then have that email turned it to a support case, send auto-replies, distribute them to your support team, and take other automated actions.

Stacy wrote a fantastic article on Email-to-case best practices that she has picked up during her experience as a Salesforce Admin and Consultant.

However, although Email-to-case will save support teams energy creating and managing cases, a tricky challenge still remains: Email-to-Case creates multiple cases on the same email thread.

This post will summarise the current challenges of Email-to-case automation, and when you can expect a fix to be delivered on the Salesforce roadmap.

Email-to-Case Creates Duplicate Cases from the Same Email Thread

This is the greatest issue that Email-to-Case has to overcome. Also known as the ‘infinite email loop’ the ‘backend mayhem’ has troubled Admins and service users for over a decade – in fact, the idea on the IdeaExchange is over 10 years old!

Reaching 7,050 (709 votes), the idea was entered into the April 2020 Prioritization Cycle, where it gained enough support from the community to make it on to the product roadmap. It is expected to be delivered in the Winter ’21 release (around October 2020).

What happens is that a customer emails in to an organisation using Email-to-case, which creates a case in Service Cloud. Any email that is sent from Salesforce to a customer email address is at risk of duplicating the case. If the customer replies and cc’s in another email address (eg. of a colleague), this response will generate a new email activity in Salesforce related to a separate contact, and thereby generates a new case from the email in Salesforce!

Here is the loop summarised:

Email sent from Salesforce to a customer email address → customer replies with cc email address → generates a new email activity in Salesforce → generates a new case from the email in Salesforce.

Prevent Email-to-Case from Creating Multiple Cases on the Same Email Thread

There are two sides to preventing duplicate cases: prevention and management.

Merge Cases functionality was released in beta as part of the Summer ‘19 release. This will enable you to clean up any existing mess, but you will always be ‘on the back foot’ without a proactive approach to nipping duplicate cases in the bud.

How will duplicate cases be prevented? The solution that is currently in development (for Winter ‘21) will use email headers more intelligently to identify Email-to-Case emails one the same thread as one.

If you can’t wait until that time, Stacy shares a nice hack to “Add the Case Feed ID to the Case Email Templates” as part of her best practices guide.

Bring on Salesforce Winter ‘21, when we expect to see this enhancement coming to our orgs!



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