Issues with case creation from e-mail, especially from unknown contacts

Hi,

I was trying to set up SuiteCRM for e-mail customer support. So I added a group e-mail account (support@…) that automatically creates cases. “From” and “Reply” addresses were set to support@…, too. Important for my scenario is that unknown senders should be able to post inquiries.

Cases are created successfully. However, I’m facing some problems that maybe someone can help me with:

  1. I configured a custom “New Case Auto-Reply Template” using the same placeholders as the default template. It is sent with the correct sender/reply address, but the placeholders do not get replaced.
  2. Known contacts get a second confirmation mail (the default template), with placeholders correctly replaced, but wrong sender/reply address. This sender address is not the server default, but one that I configured ages ago for a news campaign. Also all succeeding update notifications use this mail account. I have no idea why this address is used. It isn’t even configured for outbound messages. My expectation would be that support@… is used. The current situation prevents all customer replies, because they go to the wrong address.
  3. Unknown senders are not automatically added to contacts. Unless added manually, they will not receive any case updates.
  4. There seems to be no easy way to create a contact from the case, nor from the inquiry e-mail. I have to create a new contact and copy-paste the mail address there.
  5. If I want to add external attachments, I have to edit the case. If I edit the case, it forces me to assign an account (mandatory field). Why is that?
  6. If I update the case and add an attachment, then the reporter will receive a notification, but without the attachment.

I wonder if anyone ever used this feature successfully. Ok, could be that it’s only broken on my system, but more and more I’m getting the impression that SuiteCRM is just a loosely connected collection of database tables and input masks, without proper workflows. Especially the e-mail system seems to be badly integrated with the rest.

Thanks in advance for any help and suggestions,
Alex
SuiteCRM Version 7.10.2

Hi. Yes, we’ve been having problems with email :slight_smile: The first thing I would do is upgrade to 7.10.2 because many email fixes have been put into the product. And 7.10.5 which is about to be released contains even more.

About some of your points:

  1. The ability for the Templates to replace variables relies on the emails relationships with SuiteCRM records. If the relationship isn’t there, SuiteCRM won’t know how to replace. This might depend on where you’re starting the email from.

  2. Please check if the upgrade fixes this

  3. SuiteCRM has a way to create Contacts from the web (Person to Web form) and a way to create Cases for them, after they login (AOP Portal). If your case is a bit different then you might need some custom code.

  4. Please add your voice to this thread https://github.com/salesagility/SuiteCRM/pull/5651

  5. What do you mean “update the case”, exactly? Are you doing from within the Case, in the “threaded updates”? Or through email?

Thanks, let me know how you go.

1 Like

Hi pgr,
thanks for your reply. I’ve just upgraded to 7.10.4.

  1. I understand, but shouldn’t SuiteCRM make sure that this relation is there if it offers to specify a custom reply template?
  2. No, unfortunately the upgrade did not fix this.
  3. Ok, but I think it should allow e-mail inquiries from unknown addresses. Every helpdesk system can do that. I didn’t plan to provide a web portal.
  4. Done that.
  5. From within the case, I click “Actions/Edit”. The “threaded updates” don’t seem to allow for attaching a file.
  6. Found that this is a known problem: issue 2174

Alex
SuiteCRM Version 7.10.4

Cases and Contacts are different things, and they should stay that way. So SuiteCRM should not rush to create one and the other, that depends on each user’s requirements.

So you have to figure out and decide, in your use case, which is better - make use of automatic case creation, and have a Workflow or Logic hook create the Contact; or vice-versa, create Contacts with web-to-person form (or similar mechanism) and then have some automation create a Case for your initial dealings with this person.

As far as the above is concerned, these are not bugs or shortcomings in SuiteCRM, it’s just you designing your implementation. The issue with the template variables also boils down to this. If all the previous design is done properly, I guess the template will find the values it needs to replace the variables.

No 2. looks like a bug. It’s probably using the values from the “System” account defined in Admin / Outbound Email Settings. I’ve seen a similar bug, it’s possible that 7.10.5 fixes it soon, but we’ll have to double-check when this comes out.

No 5. is also an inconsistency. If Accounts is a required field, it shouldn’t allow Case creation without an associated Account. Or maybe Accounts shouldn’t be mandatory at all. You can look in Studio / Cases / Fields to see if you can make Account not mandatory.

No. 6 Please add your voice there also :slight_smile: . Sometimes (only sometimes) this makes a difference.

1 Like

pgp,

thanks again for the feedback. You’re right, it’s hard to build a system that fits all needs. I wanted to dig into customization anyway, so maybe I can adapt things to my requirements. Unfortunately my time is short, so I hoped to find everything ready-to-eat :wink:

You said that

But just now I noticed that the variable “$acase_case_number” inside the mail subject is correctly replaced, while it is not processed in the mail body. So the previous design is probably not the problem.

No. 2: Waiting for the fix.
No. 5: Unfortunately the “Account” field is not listed in Studio / Cases / Fields.
No. 6: Done that :slight_smile:

Alex

1 Like

I just got a nice tip about one of your issues. There’s a config property you can edit:

/var/www/html/config.php:385:  'require_accounts' => true,

But if you change that, it affects other modules also: Cases, Opportunities, Contacts, Contracts.

But you can trace the use of that variable to easily discover where you can customize it only for Cases:

/var/www/html/modules/Cases/Case.php:136:        if (!$sugar_config['require_accounts']) {

Make you sure you learn how to make upgrade-safe customizations.

You can just hack that “if”… but the best-practices option there would be to extend the class to make that value false inside Cases.

1 Like

Thanks a lot, I’ll try that. :slight_smile:

Hi axs

just found your topic because I am struggling with a similar problem.
Did you solve yours in the meantime?
I have a fresh test setup of the current suitecrm release (7.11.15).
Inbound and outbound mail are configured and the case creation is working.

In the config file I set require_accounts = false

When I send a mail from a mail address of an existing contact, I get a mail notification for updates to the created case.
When I use an address not used by an existing contact I still get no information on updates.

Is there any solution for sending updates to cases without contacts or maybe auto-create contacts upon case creation?

Hi quarron,

I’m sorry, but I cannot help you with that. I stopped dealing with SuiteCRM soon after writing my last comment. It was just too inconvenient and I had no time or nerves to dive deeper into customization.
And to get ahead of your next question: We haven’t found a better free/open-source self-hosted CRM yet. And as a help desk we’re now using Jira, but it has its own flaws.

Thank you for your reply.
That’s a bit sad. I also haven’t any other crm that is free at least for startups with 4 users and offers a feature like that.
Luckily I currently do not have the preassure to introduce a crm now.
So I will wait for suitecrm 8 and try it again. Maybe there are changes to our pain point.