Cases and Leads for Everyone! –Assignment and Escalation Rules

Escalation and Assignment rule — as far as I’m concerned these are such an obvious win!  Why wouldn’t I have Salesforce automatically assign and escalate records for me?!   

I’ve decided to combine these two because the steps to set them up are very similar and they are often used together with cases.  So, let’s take a look at what each is capable of, some things to consider when setting it up, and an example or two!

Assignment Rules

Assignment rules are used to assign cases and leads to the best suited users and/or queues based on a set of defined rules.

#1 A few things to consider before setting up an Assignment Rule

  • Like most of the process automation options thus far; you’ll want to make sure you’re considering all possible options.
  • Have a full understanding of the business process.
  • Define who the experts are in each scenario; this can be a user or a queue.
  • Should records be assigned to a specific user or a queue of users that can “claim” the record?
  • What email template will be used to notify the new record owner/queue when the record is re-assigned?  If the template hasn’t been created yet, you’ll want to create it before the Assignment Rule.
  • Create the rules and evaluate them prior to activation.
  • Use a sandbox to test the Assignment Rule before migrating it to a production environment.

#2 Steps to create an Assignment Rule

  1. Select the type of Assignment Rule you’d like to create; a Case Assignment Rule or a Lead Assignment Rule.  Click New and name the rule.  Decide if you’d like to trigger the assignment rule when a case is created manually or through the web.
  2. Create Rule Entries by clicking into the Assignment Rule that was just created.  A rule entry is the criteria that is used to assign the record to a user or a queue and the order it is evaluated in.  Below are the parts of a Rule Entry that you’ll want to consider. (see #3 for screenshots at each step)
    • Order – In what order should the Rule Entries be evaluated.  If there is only one it will have an order of 1.
    • Criteria – These are the criteria that must be true for the record to be assigned.  Criteria can be evaluated using a formula or filters based on the needs of your organization.
    • User – This specifies the user or queue that the record should be assigned to when the criteria evaluates to true.
    • Do Not Reassign – If this is checked the record cannot be assigned to its current owner.
    • Email Template – This is used to notify the new owner.
    • Assign Case Teams – Here is where you can assign and/or reassign predefined Case Team to work on the case.
  3. Click Save or Save and New.
  4. Repeat until all assignment rules are accounted for.

#3 Example : A web to lead case needs to be assigned to a specific queue based on the lead’s product interest.

This is a common use case for both Lead assignment and Case assignment.  Often times, sales or support teams are divided based on the products a company sells.  Below are the screenshots for this scenario based on the steps above.

Create the assignment Rule

assignment-1

Create a rule entry event for every scenario.

assignment-2

assignment-3

The final Web to Lead Assignment Rule.  Notice the third rule entry is blank and acts as a catch all for any web-to-leads that don’t fit the criteria in the first two rules, preventing it from going unassigned.

assignment-4

Escalation Rules

Escalation rules are used to escalate cases to another user or queue when a set period of time has passed without defined actions occurring.

#4 A few things to consider before setting up an Escalation Rule

  • Like most of the process automation options thus far; you’ll want to make sure you’re considering all possible options and have a full understanding of the business process.
  • Define who (a user or a queue) should handle escalations.
  • What email template will be used to notify the new record owner/queue when the record is escalated?  If the template hasn’t been created yet, you’ll want to create it before the Escalation Rule.
  • Create the rules and evaluate them prior to activation.  I highly recommend using a sandbox to test the Assignment Rule before migrating it to a production environment.

#5 Steps to create an Escalation Rule

The first of the steps below should look very similar to the steps for Assignment Rule creation.  See the screenshots in the example for visuals of each step below.

  1. Type Escalation Rule in the Quick Find search box of the setup section in Salesforce. And Save.
  2. Create new Rule Entries.  A rule entry is the criteria that is used to escalate the record to a user or a queue and the order it is evaluated in.  Below are the parts of a Rule Entry that you’ll want to consider. (see #3 for screenshots at each step)
    • Order – In what order should the Rule Entries be evaluated.  If there is only one it will have an order of 1.
    • Criteria – These are the criteria that must be true for the record to be assigned.  Criteria can be evaluated using a formula or filters based on the needs of your organization.
    • Specify Business Hours – Escalation actions run during the specified business hours.  You have three options here; ignore business hours, use hours specified on the case, or set business hours to select predefined business hours to apply.
    • Specify How Escalation Times are Set – Defines the way your Age Over (this is defined in a future step) field value is calculated.  It can be set in three ways:
      • A case was created
      • The case was created unless it has been modified; once modified, the case will never get escalated
      • The most recent time a case was modified
  3. Click Save or Save and New.
  4. Specify what action should be taken once the case meets the criteria by clicking Edit next to one of the rule entries.
  5. Click new to add an escalation action.  Each rule entry can have up to 5 actions and each action will need to have several items specified.
    • Age Over – Define the number of hours that should trigger the escalation.
    • Assign To – Specify the user or queue that the case should be assigned to after it is escalated.
    • Notification Template – Specify the template that will be sent to notify the new owner after escalation.
    • Notify this User – This is optional and allows an admin to notify another user when a case is escalated.
    • Notification Template – Select email template to send to the new owner of the case.
    • Additional Emails – Specify additional emails that should be notified when the case is escalated.
  6. Click Save.

#6 Example – Escalate a case based on its status.  If a case is classified as high priority and has not been modified for 2 business hours after case creation escalate the case to a Sr. Support Queue.

Keep in mind the order that Salesforce evaluates rules; Validation rules, Assignment rules, Auto-response rules, Workflow rules and then Escalation rules.  This order comes in very important when an organization has multiple different types of rules running.  As an administrator understanding this order of operations is important to avoid conflicts in an org.

See!  They’re awesome!  They save time in critical situations like customer care and lead assignment.  Just think about it; if the correct support or sales rep can help a customer sooner, how much happier would those customers be.

Visit Saasy5 on Pinterest, each blog will have a board with pins to the resources used to write the blog.  Here’s this week’s board.  Since the Salesforce world is HUGE let me know if I missed something that should have been pinned and I’d be happy to pin it.

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Approval Process Basics

Many business processes require approval from a manager or another department in order for the process to move forward.  Salesforce allows users to automate those approvals and track them through each step using Approval Processes.  We’ll use the Salesforce Approval Process help documentation to walk through the high level steps of how to create an Approval Process and then check out the SaaSy5 Pinterest board to check out some examples.

#1 Prepare to Set Up an Approval Process

Salesforce has a great checklist to consider before setting up an approval process.  Here are a few key takeaways.

  • Evaluate all possible scenarios to make sure the automation fits for each one.
  • Consider who the approvers are and how they will be notified when their approval is required.
  • Are there time limits before the approval is escalated or a manager is notified?
  • How are records pending approval handled?
  • Review and test the approval process in a sandbox before activating it in your production environment.

#2 Choose the Right Approval Wizard

Salesforce offers two wizards (the Jump Start Wizard and the Standard Wizard)to help set up Approval Processes.  As a System Administrator it’s important to evaluate which wizard is best suited for your skill level and needs.  The Jump Start Wizard is a great option for newer System Admins or for Approval Processed that are more simplistic.  The Jump Start Wizard allows system admins to create approval processes more quickly with a set of default options predefined.  Once the approval process is created in the Jump Start wizard these options can be changed, if needed.

In the following steps we’ll outline the steps to create an approval process with the Jump Start Wizard.

#3 Add an Approval Step

Once the approval process is created you’ll be brought to the page below.  It’s a lot, I know but we’ll get through it together.

Capture1

We’ll need to add Approval Steps, these are the users that should approve a record based on the business requirements.  In the image above there is only one step, but approvals can have several steps of approves that would need to approve a record.

#4 Add Automated Actions

Next we can add actions.  There are several types of actions we can add — initial actions, final approval, final rejection and recall actions.

  • Initial Actions – These are automated actions that occur when a record is first submitted for approval.
  • Final Approval or Rejection Actions – These are actions that automatically occur when after the final approval or rejection.
  • Recall Actions – If you’re giving your users the ability to recall a record that is pending approval you’ll need to define what automated actions will happen.

#5 Review and Activate the Approval

I can’t stress this enough –review the approval process before activating it.  I like to review my approval processes in the diagram form before activating them, especially the more complex approvals.

Capture2

Approval processes keep users from having to remember what must be approved by whom.  They decrease human error and help put safe blocks in place to prevent a users from progressing through a process that may not meet organizational standards.
Make sure to follow our Pinterest for more information.

Dependent Picklists and Validation Rules

Since we’re taking a look at all the different automation tools  I thought I’d focus on two basic but powerful tools that Salesforce gives admins; Dependencies and Validation Rules.  I’ll describe how each one is used, the basic steps to set it up and then give a few examples of how to put each to use.

#1 Dependent Picklist – Dependent Picklists prevent users from selecting incorrect values based on a controlling picklist value.  Setting up a controlling picklist value is easy and allows admins to make sure that the data in their orgs is accurate based on the values of a picklist.

Steps to set up:

  1. Create two picklist fields.
  2. Select Field Dependencies
  3. Click new to create a new dependency or edit next to the field dependency relationship you’re changing.
  4. Using the matrix, set the dependent values based on the controlling picklist value.
  5. Preview your selections and click Save.

#2 Opportunity Status and Reason

Based on an Opportunity status picklist we can define a set of picklist values.  For example, many sales teams like to track the reason an Opportunity was Closed Lost or Closed Won.  For example; did a competitor have better pricing or maybe the customer discovers they no longer need that product or service.  A few other common use cases are Type and Subtype or Region and State.

Capture1

#3 Validation RulesValidation Rules are used to ensure data quality based on a set of criteria.  A system admin can create the criteria based on a formula, if the formula evaluates to true an error is displayed on the record page and the user is unable to save the record until they make the required changes.

Steps to set up:

  1. Click to create a Validation Rule on the object.
  2. Name and describe the Validation Rule
  3. Enter the error formula.  Keep in mind that if the formula evaluates to true an error will display.
  4. Enter an error message and decide where you would like it to display.
  5. Save.

Here are a few examples of Validation Rules from Salesforce.

#4 Confirm a reason is selected when an opportunity is Closed Lost.

Let’s say your org requires users to enter a reason when an opportunity is Closed Lost.  A picklist value for Reason must be selected before an Opportunity with Closed Lost Stage can be saved.  The validation below can do that for you and then the error can be displayed at the top of the page or at the field level to let your users know what they missed.

validation 1

#5 Enforce Date value entered must be in the future

As a system admin, it is important to make sure our users are entering the correct date.  In the example below, we’re making sure our users are entering a close date in the future but the formula could easily be modified to ensure the date is within a set period of time or in the past, depending on your needs.

validation 2

As you can see these are some very powerful tools!  I know these don’t seem like rocket science to the experienced admin but implementing a few dependent picklists and validation rules can really change the game for your users and they’re a great place to start improving a Salesforce org for a newer admin.  Next in our series we’ll take a look at Assignment Rules!

Visit Saasy5 on Pinterest, each blog will have a board with pins to the resources used to write the blog.  Here’s this week’s board.  Since the Salesforce world is HUGE let me know if I missed something that should have been pinned and I’d be happy to pin it.

Fun with Formulas

I know that formulas may not seem like a “process automation” but I think it meets the criteria because it’s automating an additional step for a user while insuring data quality.  Any time we can automate something for our users we’re helping to minimize user error or forgetfulness and saving them time and effort.  For the savvy admin formulas are a lifesaver.

#1 What should an admin consider before creating a formula?

  • Keep in mind that formula fields are read only, only the formula can define the value in the field.
  • Does the formula calculate differently depending on the scenario?
  • Test the formula in a sandbox environment before adding it to the page layouts in production.
  • If a formula is complex, it helps me to write it out on paper before building it in the formula editor.

#2 Steps to create a formula:

  1. Define the formula parameters before building the actual field in Salesforce.  
  2. Name the formula field and select the formula return type.formula1
  3. Build the formula.  Here is a list of formula operators and functions with explanations.  I prefer to build formulas in the Advanced Formula builder.formula2
  4. Confirm the formula syntax is accurate.formula3
  5. Define how blank values will be handled.formula4
  6. Set field level security and add the field to the necessary layouts, just like with any custom Salesforce field.

Now, for some of my favorite formulas!

#3 Example -The Power of One

There are many blogs and community answers that reference this concept created by Thomas Tobin.  Basically you’ll create a formula field on an object, the formula will equal 1, it’s that simple.   

Power1

So, why is this such a big deal?  Well now you can do math on things like the average number of activities on Closed Won opportunities.  By adding this formula to Activities and Opportunities we can create a formula in a report that will calculate and visualize the average.

   Power1v2

#4 Example – Image formulas

It’s always nice to allow your users to have a visual on their records, in list views or reports.  Formulas that display images based on a set of criteria are a great way to impress your users and your manager with your admin super powers.  Here’s an example, I’ve built an event management application for my event planning team, I’d like to display a warning on the Event Milestone Tasks when it is overdue. 

image

The IMAGE function is comprised of 3 parts; the image location, the alternate text and the size.

**For bonus points, a rollup summary field can be used to allow the event management hierarchy to roll up so that the warning image would display on the Event parent record record anytime one of the child records in the event plan was also overdue**

#5 Example – User ID formula

Most of the time the standard Record Owner field on every record in Salesforce all we need to create views and reports on the records that a user owns (ex–My Cases).  We can do this by selecting My in views and reports.

My Report  My View

But we can’t use the Salesforce standard ownership field to reflect when a user is related to a record via another lookup field.  For example, in our Event Management app the Event Owner/Record Owner might assign Event Milestones to other users.  The assignees would want to see only the work that has been assigned to them.  We can create a hidden checkbox formula field that will check to see if the user viewing the record is the user in the Assigned To field.  

My formula

Now, as an admin I can create a single “My Assigned Records” view or report for my users to use, instead of having to hardcode their name in separate views.

My formula view

A system admin should look to formulas to reduce keystrokes for users, get rid of manually calculated math (all of it), and to enhance data quality. Making things easy and accurate every time increases user adoption and makes everyone much much happier.

Come back next week for Dependencies and Validation rules!

Check out the Saasy5 Pinterest board for more process automation resources.

Visit Saasy5 on Pinterest, each blog will have a board with pins to the resources used to write the blog.  Here’s this week’s board.  Since the Salesforce world is HUGE let me know if I missed something that should have been pinned and I’d be happy to pin it.

5 Things to Think About Before Automating a Process

Salesforce has done an excellent job of providing tools for a system admin to use declarative process automation.  In the next few weeks Saasy5 will review several of the process automation tools available to admins; starting with the basic and moving to more complex.  I’ll use examples to review the functionality of each tool.  But first I wanted to spend some time on what factors admins should consider before automating a process.

1. Is the process consistent every time it’s executed?

While no process is exactly the same every single time it’s executed, if a process executed in the same way based on a set of criteria the majority of the time it should be considered for automation.

2.  Does the process have multiple steps that are replicated?

A lot of times users get lost and fed up in Salesforce when they are required to execute the same action repeatedly.  Enter process automation!!!  Salesforce has a tool that can do that for your users so that all users have to do is trigger the automation process by entering a set of criteria.  This saves them time, increases adoption and decreases the risk of human error.  Oh yea, and it will save you some headache!

3. Does the process involve other teams?

It’s important to think about the who is involved in the process you’re trying to automate.  Are there multiple  groups or teams involved in the process?  How will the process transition from one team to another.  If you can, automate those transitions between team members because each transition is a point where the process can easily get off track or an important step can be missed.

4. Does leadership need to visualize the status of the process on each record throughout the org?

Always consider what leadership will view as success when working in Salesforce.  What are the metrics they are looking at to quantify the success of a project?  This goes for process automation too.  Are they looking for time saved internally?  A more seamless customer experience? Cost savings? Or insight into individual workloads?

5. What steps need to be tracked in Salesforce and what steps, if any, are performed outside of Salesforce.

Process automation helps our users do their jobs more efficiently because the system is doing the work for them.  It helps leadership know that a process is being executed properly. And it helps admins ensure that data is accurate for a given process.  The ultimate goal should be to keep as much of the process as possible in Salesforce or at least tracked in Salesforce.

Even after considering these 5 items there are crucial interactions with clients and team members that can’t be automated and require a personal touch.  I once tried to automate a process that really needed personal touch, it failed miserably, clients felt less valued and it hurt the work we’d done to try to help them in the first place.  

I’m looking forward to diving deep into the Salesforce toolbox of automation!

Visit Saasy5 on Pinterest, each week I’ll have a board with pins to the resources I used to write the blog.  Here’s this week’s board. Since the Salesforce world is HUGE let me know if I missed something that should have been pinned and I’d be happy to pin it.