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Getting Around Email Restrictions at Work

E2C

Let’s say that hypothetically you are currently working at a place that doesn’t allow you to access Gmail/Yahoo Mail/Outlook web mail, etc because it’s blocked.

Let’s say that you see the emails come in on your phone but really hate responding to emails on your phone because:

  • Typos are annoying to you to see later
  • You make typos when using your phone
  • You tend to be long winded, possibly why you find a blog fun to write

Let’s say that not responding to emails drives you nuts, but by the time you get home you’ll forget

Let’s say that this hypothetical workplace has Salesforce, and you can always access your own Developer Org from there

What if I told you there was a way to bring all these things together and get around this whole mess completely.  Is that something you might be interested in?

I got this idea because I actually found myself creating people as a contact in my Salesforce org, just so that I could email them from a real keyboard, on a real computer.  This isn’t just personal contacts either, being a consultant I’ve got a whole other company of people I still have to communicate with, even when I’m onsite with a client.  I also pride myself on not using stupid short forms like “Plz” or “IMO” when I’m writing an email because

  • I learned how to write in school
  • I’m not a 16 year old
  • I find them annoying and disrespectful
  • It actually takes me more time to figure out what the short form actually is than to just type the damn word

So to get around all of this, I decided to just set up Email to Case

And it works perfectly!  People can either email me at a different email address during the day, or I can just forward it from my phone.

Even if you don’t have this issue at your own hypothetical workplace, it’s a great way to test out the capabilities of Email to Case and think about how you might be able to apply it in your own organization.

Email to Case

This is really a way for you to set up something like “Goose@TopGun.gov” as the email address on your support team and post it somewhere publicly so that customers can email you.  By auto-forwarding this email address to a specific Salesforce address, you can have the email automatically generate a case for you.  You never even have to get the real email.  This is great because you can do the assignment right within Salesforce when you have multiple people manning the support desk.

In my case I used geoff.zflynn@gmail.com which is an old email address I had kicking around for testing purposes.

First – Enable Email to Case and get your auto-forwarding address

Setup > Customize > Cases > Email to Case

I’m setting up On-Demand Email to Case because I don’t want to install anything.  I’ve never actually had to deploy the full version for a customer, On Demand has always been adequate based on:

Use On-Demand Email-to-Case if you’re not concerned about keeping email traffic within your firewall, and you don’t need to accept attachments larger than 25 MB from customers.

Email-to-Case

2nd – Create a routing address (you can have more than 1)

Routing

3rd – Get your routing email address so that you can set the Forwarding address in Gmail

Routing2

4th – Set up Gmail

GmailForward

 

After a few of those steps you’ll have to do some validations to confirm that the Email address is real, and that the routing address Salesforce gives you is real.  To do the second part, go into Cases and look for a new case that has been created

5th – Making it happen

I have a lot of email addresses so I just picked an old Outlook one to try sending from:

OutlookEmail

Which once sent, shows up in Salesforce like this:

Case

This is a Feed Based Layout which I encourage you to try if you haven’t ventured into them yet.  If you don’t like it you can always click on the Details tab to go back to the regular view.

From here I can just click Reply right within the Feed, and send a reply, even include a picture

EmailOut

Send that off, and this is what I get back in my Outlook account

OutlookIn

These email chains could go on all day.  I can of course expand on this to categorize the cases, alert me when the replies come in, all sorts of stuff.  Since I have the email address on my phone I see them come in anyway, I just know that I can respond from Salesforce – and a real keyboard.

I can also now tell people that if they want me to answer an email from them they will have to open a Case through my support email address.  Which brings me great joy when I tell it to family and friends.  Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

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3 Comments

  1. I love the reasons why you don’t use stupid short forms!

  2. Hello Mr. Flynn( I know you probably prefer being referred to by your first name but this way I can feel like I am speaking with the creator of the Tron world)

    This is a great idea, many times I check my personal email on my phone and may need to write a lengthy reply. Similar to you, I don’t enjoy writing abbreviations or shortened messages as I believe that comes off as being rude, ofcourse it is a different story with my close friends.

    It also just seems to be my luck that on the “rare” occasions that I am holding my phone and replying an email, colleagues or leaders would come to my desk. I think they have a sensor built into their brain or something.

    All in all, great post and keep the knowledge coming!

    • geoffreyflynn

      April 9, 2015 at 7:37 pm

      Thanks Derek!

      Tell me about it. The one time in a day I check on afternoon baseball games and all of a sudden I hear a voice behind me. Figures.

      I enjoyed coming up with this one. It’s been on my list for awhile now since I’ve been sending from Salesforce, I just hadn’t set up the reply part yet.

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