Monday, July 25, 2016

Easily Use Salesforce to Track Your Salesforce Work

We keep telling our users that 'If it's not in Salesforce it does'nt exist'
The benefits for the Sales and Customer service teams is evident and significant - so why shouldn't you heed your own advice?
Are you already using Salesforce to track the work you do on the platform?
If you are not, think about what you can immediately gain:
  1. Master List
    No more forgetting about an e-mail you received a just before you left for vacation
  2. Report on your success
    Create reports that you can share with your boss or even with your users
  3. Keep your users in the loop
    did you start working on their request already? Is it complete?
  4. Audit / History
    What did you do over the last month? Who asked for it? Did someone approve this change?
  5. Use Chatter
    Chatter is an amazingly useful collaboration tool - use it to work and communicate with your users
Yeah, that does make sense, doesn't it?
But what is the fastest way to set something like this up?

These kind of moments have been one of the main reasons I am so passionate about User Groups.
When I was a rookie Salesforce Admin - this idea was floated by a member in the NYC User Group (unfortunately I cannot give due credit since I have no recollection who it was).

Like many solutions implemented in Salesforce, we are looking to find the path of least resistance.
I wanted my users to have a simple way to send their requests to me, and figured that the easiest way was for them to send an e-mail.
If there only was a way to get an e-mail sent to Salesforce, and have a record created automatically...
Oh, Wait...

Using Cases To Track Salesforce Work

  1. Create a new case Record Type
    Setting up a new record type for your users' request is an important step. With a new record type you'll be able to
    - Have a clear segregation between customer-service cases and your cases
    - Have different pick-list options
    - Have a different page layout
    - Prevent other users from creating cases with this type of record type

    I called my case record type 'Change Control'

    If you are no familiar with working with record types, I strongly recommend you read a bit more about it before going ahead - there are some things that work slightly differently when working with record types (like adding values to pick-lists, making mass-changes from list-views, modifying page layouts, and a few more). Read more about it here or view this video.
  2. Optional: Set up a queue
    If you are the only Salesforce admin in your company, this might not make much sense.
    If you work with others, queues can be an awesome tool - first assign incoming cases to the queue - which your entire team can see, and then assign the cases to individuals from there - whether you assign them, or have your team take ownership of a case when they become available.
    Once you create a list view for a Queue - users can easily accept new cases:

  3. Set up E-mail to Case
    If you want your users to use this tool, you need to make it really easy for them to submit their requests. If the process is slow, users will avoid using it as much as possible.
    Go into Setup > Customize > Cases > Email-to-case
    Change the Routing Address type to "Outlook" (which will allow you to select an owner for emails coming into this address) and click the New button.
    This where you will set up the owner for incoming e-mails (you or your queue), the record type. You can also limit where e-mails can originate from.

    Once you click save, you'll see the actual routing address that was created. You'll have to work with your IT department to create an easy e-mail address which will redirect or forward all incoming e-mails to this address. I used "" to indicate this is Salesforce Support

  4. Create a new Page Layout
    This step is fairly straight forward: create a new page layout that contains the fields that are important to you for tracking your work - things like status, subject, description, date created are pretty obvious - but you may have other information you want to collect about your progress or the work that you've actually done.
  5. Create Workflow / Process Flow to update your users
    Now that you are using a ticketing system to track your work - you can use Salesforce to automate the notification for your users.
    Create a couple of e-mail templates like
    - New Case Created
    - Case Closed
    - Case Status Changed
    And then use Workflows or Process Flows to automatically send these out to your users based on the right event.

    ** Pro tip: you can replace email notification by using Process Flows to post chatter notifications instead, though in order to have these chatter posts automatically mention your users, you'll need to add a lookup field on the case to the User object, and either manually populate that value, or have some automation to populate that field - unfortunately doing this is more advanced and will require writing a trigger. **

  6. Optional: Create an Approval Process

    Does the work you do require approval from your boss or from others in the organization? Leverage Salesforce Approval Process to submit records for approval and track their progress through the approval flow. If you implement this tool as an audit requirement - using approvals is almost certainly something you'll want to set up.

  7. Create Reports and Dashboards
    Now that you are keeping all of your requests in Salesforce - you can start building reports and dashboards to help yourself manage your workload, and share your progress with those who need to know.
    Here's a few ideas of reports to get your started:
    - Number of Cases created over last 7 days
    - Number of Cases closed over the last 7 days
    - Users with the most requests
    - Average Age of Open Cases
    - Average time to close a case

    And once reports are there, make them into a Dashboard

That's really all it takes.
Over the years I've improved this function further, by adding more custom fields, automation, tracking, and collaboration - but to just get started you just need to spend a couple of hours setting this up - the return in value will be more than worth the time investment!

Have other ideas on how to improve on the method I described? Feel free to share it in the comments!


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  4. I got plenty from this. There is much important information