I’ve implemented and been associated with a few Salesforce Org’s that treat dealing with reopening closed cases very differently. In my experience there is no right answer, it all depends on how you deal with your cases internally and your business processes. I thought I would write this post just to give a few options of what can be done and the disadvantages of one option over the other.
If you are using the Service Cloud and are taking advantage of Milestones and Entitlements this needs to be thought about very carefully. Depending on how you have this set up a user may reopen a case and in turn it may not enter an Entitlement Process as it has already been closed. So essentially this continued customer problem is not being monitored and may violate without actually being tracked. Entitlement processes can get extremely confusing when you add in elements like this that might not seem immediately obvious, but hopefully I can ease some of that stress!
As the title describes you can simply do nothing. For one reason or the other it might be too complicated to automate anything, you might not track SLA’s or you might be so small it doesn’t matter.
Advantages? This is obviously easy and everyone knows where they stand. If an email comes in after it has been closed then it will simply come back into the Case Owners inbox and then they can decide what to do depending on the situation, respond and ask the customer to open a new or maybe just carry on the conversation. This gives the user flexibility depending on the customer and is probably suited to a business that does not have strict or set business processes when it comes to dealing with customers cases.
Disadvantages? You’re putting the power and responsibility of dealing with this query in the users hands, they may forget about that email and leave the customer hanging. You’re also receiving no statistics around re-opening cases, if one particular user is closing cases early or giving them temporary fixes you’re not really going to be able to track this.
Open a new case
So another simple solution that can be very effective which can also use automation to ease the situation. I’ve seen this solution quite a bit and it seems to work in quite a few business examples so I will detail how it works here. If a case has been closed and a customer responds via a Service Cloud email it will attach itself to the case. We can use a Workflow Rule to automatically respond to this customer informing them that they will have to open a new case, we can also automate a field update to a customer field (Reopened?…Or similar) just to track this stat. The criteria for this workflow will be on the Email object and will be something similar to when Status = Closed.
Advantages? The first is stats, we can monitor which cases are being reopened and this can be put against users on a report to see who is failing to deal with customers problems. Obviously this isn’t completely full proof as a customer could have another issue which is unrelated, but this all comes down to qualitative statistics. The second major advantage is that if you are using Entitlements it will restart the whole process and allow you to track this like you would a new case.
Disadvantages? You could very quickly annoy the customer if they experience this a lot, depending on how you deal with cases and the complexity, if I was a customer and had to continually explain my problem over and over, I would get pretty annoyed. You are also potentially duplicating problems and having two cases for one.
Reopen a case properly
This is where it gets fun/complicated/interesting. If you want to be clever about it you can still interact with the customer on the same case, while tracking stats and making sure we stay within the Entitlement Process as well. The first thing will be to create a field similar to above (Reopened Checkbox) so that if an email does come in we can automate a status change from Closed to another and also tick this just so we know what has happened.
The Entitlement process part is however a bit more complicated. A case can only enter and finish an Entitlement process once. This means if you tell Salesforce to exit the process when its closed, it won’t be able to enter it again. So for starters you will need two closed statuses, one for an inbetweeny temporary stage (Solution Provided or similar) which may close automatically after a month or so, and one that means its closed for good.
Having an infrastructure like this in place means that if a case comes in to a temporarily closed case we can update the reopened checkbox and from that enter it into new steps in the Entitlement Process.
Advantages? The customer doesn’t have to do anything, from their point of view it is the same interaction as they had before. You keep your statistics while also keeping within your SLA’s to make sure these are still tracked and hopefully kept within.
Disadvantages? As you can probably tell, it can get complicated. There is also probably a million use cases you can think of where this won’t work, for examples if a customer reopens a case for a SECOND time. You’re never realistically going to cover all bases but should have a process in place, maybe not in Salesforce, but in your business, so you can deal with all of these.
Hopefully this has been of help and if not, at least sparked off some ideas!