The biggest function change for casework is the addition of email threading. This has made iConstituent CRM a complete email platform with no need to rely on Outlook or other applications for your casework email communications.
- What is threading? Threading describes the connection of emails into a single conversation. For example, if you send an email to a constituent and she replies, you might reply back to thank her. All three of these emails are tied together in a thread. The image below depicts an expanded thread (or conversation) within a case. The subject line of "Follow up email regarding IRS, SSA case" appears at the top. The back and forth communication between the constituent Delia Murphy and Becky Baylor appears below. The reply from the constituent is automatically connected to the correct case and to the correct thread within the case.
- How do I know when a new message comes to me? In the casework viewer, you will see an envelope icon with a gold star to indicate a new message has arrived and the case row will be bold. In addition, you have the option of including columns for "New Reply," which will display either Yes or No, "Unread Mail Count," which will display the number of unread messages for a case, and "Recent Incoming Date," which will display the time and date of the most recent incoming message.
These all appear within the application, but if you want to be notified via email when a new message comes to you in the CRM, go to your personal User Settings (small profile icon in the top right), select Casework from the left menu, and under "Casework Notifications," select Casework Correspondence Incoming. This will send en email notification to the email address associated with your user account whenever a new message comes to you in the CRM.
- How do I view an incoming message? Start by clicking on the Case ID. The thread containing a new message will be bold, and it will display the number of new messages it contains. Click on the thread to expand it.
The new message will have a closed envelope with an orange arrow and it will be bold. Click on the message.
You will then be able to read the incoming message.
- How do I reply to an incoming message? While viewing the message, you will see several options - log, delete, reply, and forward. Click "Reply."
The editor will open. Type your message, and click "Send."
- What if I am not ready to send the reply yet? No problem! Instead of clicking "Send," simply click "Save." You'll notice that your message appears in the thread with a small pencil icon to indicate it's still in progress. When you're ready to resume writing your message, click on it, and then select the "Edit" option.
You can even "Reset" if you'd like to start again. Otherwise, click "Send" when you're ready to send your message.
- How do I start a new email message or conversation? Within the case details, you will see a number of tabs to the right of the case. Select the tab that reads Email. Select the contact you would like to email from the To dropdown men. If you need to email someone new, type that contact's email address into the To field. If the email address is already associated with a contact in the database, the contact will be added to the email and to the case. If the email address is not associated with an existing contact, a new contact record will automatically be created, and you can update it later. Complete the form with all of the information needed. You'll notice that you need to complete some additional information since this is the first message rather than a reply. Provide a subject line, select a form letter if you'd like. Then click the "Compose" button. The rest of the process works just like a reply.
- Can I cc, bcc, and forward like I do with other email applications? Yes. You'll notice when composing a new email or when replying to an incoming email, you have the option to select a contact to cc or bcc. The option to forward does not appear on the compose or edit screen. It appears when you first select a message to view it. At that time, you have the option to edit, delete, or forward. Select "Forward." Then select the contact you would like to forward the email to. After selecting your contact, edit the email as needed, and click "Send."
- What does the email look like for the contact who receives it? It's a good idea to send yourself a test if you're not sure how the email will appear. Typically, most users have their office's email template set as default, which means the user will see the office's official banner and footer on the email messages they receive. This can be changed. If you want just a simple email with no banner or footer, go to your user preferences and remove the current template listed in the "Email Template" field. In any email that goes out from casework, the information that is in the name field in your CRM Account is what will display as the email "From name." The email "From address" will display your office's standard casework from email address. If you are unsure of what your office's standard from address for casework is, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. The example below represents an email message sent from the user Becky Baylor to a constituent. Notice that the user's name displays at the top as the sender, and the CRM Casework email address displays as the from address. The signature is also an example of a personalized footer that can be used for outgoing casework emails.
- Can I change the signature? For casework letters, you have the option of creating a custom header and footer for your outgoing messages. This will be set up in the Letters module. Once this is created, you will want to set these as default in your User Settings (the profile icon in the upper right). Once in User Settings, select Casework from the left menu. Under "Merging Letters in Casework Transactions," Select your Quick Header and Quick Footer. To always use this Quick Footer instead of the footer associated with an existing form letter, be sure to check "Overwrite Footer."
- Can I still write a letter that I intend to print rather than send as an email? Yes, on the right, select the tab that says Print. The steps will be similar to sending an email, except instead of select "Send" for an outgoing message, you will click "Print."
- How do I view the record for the email or printed letter? Each message has a log that displays a history of changes. Select the message, and then click the "Log" link in the upper right corner.
- What happens to emails that are not replies but simply sent to our casework address? If the email sent to the casework email address is not connected to a reply or does not contain the direct mailing ID and case number (eg. cw_id#10848), then the message cannot be tied to a case. These messages still come into the application, but they will go into the Services Inbox. In the services inbox, you can then determine if the message needs to move to mail or can be converted to an existing or new case.