The Winter ‘21 Quick Guide to Getting Started with Email-to-Case Threading

12/22/2020 by Iva Mandic
Does your organization use Cases to store customer issues or requests? Are you using Thread ID in the email subject or body to associate email responses to the right Case? This blog post is for you

Email Threading Use Case 

Imagine the following scenario, let’s say your organization is the fitness company BikeFast and a customer emails you at 8pm asking to cancel their spin class the next day. Two hours later, they respond to their first email saying they've changed their mind — “please don't cancel this class.” The next morning when your service agents log in to attack their Open Cases list view, they notice an open Case #1 for the first email sent at 8pm, but don't necessarily notice the follow up sent at 10pm because it is a separate Case, record #41, since there are 40 cases that came in between the two. Ideally, you would want only one Case with the follow-up email message associated so the support agent answering the first email will see the response and know not to complete the initial request. 

Did you have a workaround involving globally searching the email address and/or checking the related contact record if applicable? This is very time-consuming and allows for human error, so a way to avoid this was to set up Case threading which is currently a way to avoid the creation of new Cases if a customer replies on already existing data, avoiding troubles service agents might have without a full picture of a request or issue. 

Current Email-to-Case Threading via Thread ID aka Ref ID

In order to make your service agents’ lives easier and have a smooth Email-to-Case management process, go ahead and set up Threading behavior by checking this brief Salesforce Help article. However, please know this won’t be your long-term solution as the Winter ’21 release brought us a new, more secure way to do this. This being said, the Thread ID will be deprecated in the Winter ‘22 release when the new behavior will be enforced. 

What’s New with Winter ‘21 release Case Threading Behaviour?

As mentioned above, the Thread ID in the email body and/or subject will be deprecated next Winter. Instead, Salesforce will be moving this to the more secure route by using the email Headers (field on an Email Message object) to store Message ID, In Reply To, and References. This being said, in preparation for the upcoming Email threading feature Salesforce started saving Message ID for outbound standard Email-To-Case emails in Summer ’20 release. 

But wait, before you enable the new threading behavior, make sure your org is ready for it!

Ready to Deprecate Email-to-Case Thread ID (Ref ID)?

The first step is to make sure Headers have been saved. To do this, create a custom Case with an Email Messages Report Type, and then report on it filtering Cases created in the last 30 days (or depending on your Case frequency, opt for a wider or less time frame) and Headers = blank.  I would also advise making use of the enabled test run in your Sandbox so that you can test the new feature and be familiar with how it will function. 

Email-to-Case New Threading Behaviour Enablement

To do this, you can enable the new email threading by: 

  1. Navigating to Setup
  2. Search for "Release Updates" in the quick find search bar at the left panel 
  3. Click on "Release Updates" 
  4. Look for "Disable Ref ID and Transition to New Email Threading Behavior" in the release updates that can be seen
  5. Click on Get started and VOILA

Once you enable the feature in your Sandbox, a test run of it will be available. You can disable the test run by still following the same steps when you enabled it. However, you could not disable the new email threading feature once it was deployed in your Production org.

When testing the threading manually, make sure to set the test routing address —if you don’t your cases will be created in production. Please note that outbound emails made after the update no longer contain a Thread ID aka Ref ID.

Now, who wouldn’t love an Awesome Admin like you? Please let me know how your trail run goes and if you have any questions reach out to me in the Salesforce Trailblazer Community or chat with me @iva_mandic7.