Update Case Status when sending or receiving Email

As I said in my 8 Essential Service Cloud Workflows post this is one of my favourite automations that can save so much time and administration. This feature will only work if you use statuses that vary depending on who the case is currently in the hands of, the agent or the customer. This workflow runs off the the Email Message object as opposed to the Case Object but this does allow us to still update fields on the case.

For this to work we need to have two Workflow rules. One to update the status when an email comes in and one to update when an email is outgoing. Of course other parameters and combinations of this may be used suit your business processes and SLA’s. So to start off lets create a couple of Workflows.

  • Click on  Setup | Create | Workflows & Approvals | Workflow Rules
  • Click on New Rule
  • Select Email Message as the Workflow Object
  • Name your Rule and give it a description
  • Evaluation Criteria should be set as created
  • In the simple formula editor we can set the field as Email Message: Is Incoming, Operator as equals and Value as True

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 00.54.49


Just to explain how the above works, the “Is Incoming” field is an automatic read only field that you can’t do a lot with. This is because it is automatically populated whenever an email is passed through Salesforce to the case. This is the indicator we are going to use to know if an email is being sent by our agent or if it is incoming from a customer.

After the Workflow trigger has been set up, we need to add a field update to correspond with the case status that is updated when it is in the hands of the support agent (as the email is incoming).

This workflow will then need to be cloned but created with the Value = False and the Workflow field update to obviously correspond to when it is in the customers hands.



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8 thoughts on “Update Case Status when sending or receiving Email

  1. Pingback: Alert Case Owner of new Email - DL-UAT

  2. Ben – Have I lost my mind or has the Email Message Object when building this workflow rule disappeared? I am attempting to update the lead status off of a received email that CONTAINS Email: Re: as the subject and Closed = TRUE. I have tried many ways before finding this post which would work but, that particular object you reference above is not available for selection. Thoughts?

  3. Ben – We have an autoreply setup so that when a customer sends the initial email to open a case, there is an autoreply to confirm the case was submitted. I’d also like to implement what you’ve outlined here so that when a support user replies to a case – the case status gets updated. However, when I set this up, that initial autoreply obviously also causes the status to update. Are you aware of a way to implement the above with the “first reply” (in the instance that autoreply) is ignored? We still want it to be in “New” status after the autoreply is sent. Appreciate your thoughts on this!

    1. Melissa – we set up a similar workflow for our organization. I just added an additional criterion to the “Email Message: Is Incoming equals False” workflow rule: Email Message: Subject does not equal [the subject of your standard auto-reply email]. Hope this helps!

  4. Ben – I love this! It has really helped smooth out our workflow.
    I have run into an issue and was hoping that someone reading this may have the solution.

    When we use the save option on the email draft in Salesforce, it changes the case to Awaiting reply.
    Rule Criteria:
    (Email Message: Is Incoming EQUALS True) AND (Case: Status NOT EQUAL TO New)

    I would love to hear any ideas to remedy this.

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