Automatic Message Assignment

Automatic message assignment provides for the automatic distribution of incoming group mailbox messages among users. This section describes how the two automatic assignment methods—round robin and load balanced—work.

When Automatic Assignment Occurs

Messages arriving in Response Manager may be assigned to users by the “Assign customer replies to previous owner” option (see Creating or Modifying a Group Mailbox) or by system or group mailbox rules. If neither of these possibilities results in a message being assigned, and if the group mailbox has an assignment method of round robin or load balanced, Response Manager tries to assign the message automatically.

Ineligible Users

Common to both auto-assignment methods are some rules removing a user from consideration. A user is ineligible for automatic assignment of a message if any one of the following is true:

Round Robin

The round robin assignment method is very simple. Messages arriving in a group mailbox are assigned to eligible users in turn. The internal user ID, which corresponds to the order in which users were created, determines the order of assignment.

Round robin assignment does not guarantee that each user in a group mailbox will have an equal number of messages. Factors that could result in uneven distribution of messages include assignment of message by rules, assignment by the Assign customer replies to previous owner option (see Creating or Modifying a Group Mailbox), and the speed at which each user handles messages.

Load Balanced

This assignment method operates just like the round robin method except that instead of assignment rotating among all eligible group mailbox users, the eligible user with the lowest number of assigned messages in the group mailbox is assigned each message. When two or more users are tied for fewest messages, assignment occurs as it would under the round robin method, with only the tied users eligible.

Behavior When Automatic Assignment Is Impossible

Auto-assignment may not be possible when a message first arrives, due to there being no users eligible to receive messages at that time. If this is the case, the message is put into the Unassigned folder for the mailbox. Then, every minute, the system reattempts auto-assignment of the message. If there are multiple messages in the Unassigned folder, messages are selected for auto-assignment is in order of their receipt, so the oldest message will be the first to be assigned.

Message Reassignment

The Automatically reassign messages option for group mailboxes lets you improve customer service by automatically taking messages away from users who haven’t closed them in a timely fashion, and reassigning them to another user.

The “Reassignment timeout” group mailbox setting is measured from when a message is assigned to a user and aged according to the group mailbox schedule (i.e., non-working hours for the group mailbox are not counted). When this time expires, the message will be reassigned. On Hold messages are never reassigned.

Example: Assume a group mailbox schedule of 9 AM – 5 PM and a reassignment timeout of 4 hours.

  1. Message arrives at 8 AM and is automatically assigned to Joe.

  2. At 1 PM, the Joe has had the message for four hours according to the group mailbox schedule (9 AM – 1 PM). It is therefore reassigned according to the group mailbox assignment method. Mary is the new owner.

  3. At 5 PM, Mary has had the message for four hours, so it is reassigned again. Sarah gets the message, who closes it before another four hours pass.

About the Postmaster Group Mailbox

All internet mail servers are required to have a postmaster account. It is a standard address for any enquiries about the operation of the server itself. It also receives bounces and other notifications that can’t be delivered to normal user accounts. The postmaster group mailbox is created automatically by Response Manager to meet this requirement.

It is important that someone be responsible for checking the mail in this mailbox periodically. In addition to receiving messages from other mail servers, the postmaster group mailbox is also the destination of any Response Manager error messages that can’t be delivered to group mailbox administrators.

→ Next: Setting Up Users

This documentation looks best when viewed with Internet Explorer 9 or greater or the current version of Google Chrome.