Question Outlook Rule to flag unanswered emails after a specific amount of time

RJoubert93

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Jan 14, 2016
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The company I work for is slowly trying to re-structure our email system, specifically how we respond to emails sent to our main support distro. Now instead of pretty much everyone responding to support emails as they come in, only our scheduling department (2 or 3 people) are supposed to be responding UNLESS they can't respond to the emails within 15 minutes. Obviously it's been pretty difficult to stay on top of that, especially considering the fact that at least 2 or 3 emails a week were slipping through the net unnoticed when there were a dozen people paying attention.

So my question is, does anyone have any brilliant way to automatically flag (tag) an email for follow-up if it hasn't been responded to by anyone in the organization after 15 minutes? I've been poking around rule configurations and haven't gotten close yet, but I definitely think this is possible.

We're using the latest version of Microsoft Exchange (or close to it) and the latest versions of Office 365.

Any ideas and/or answers are greatly appreciated, thanks in advanced for any help you guys can offer.
 

RJoubert93

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Jan 14, 2016
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That's exactly what I'm trying to do automatically with emails received after a certain period of time (preferably within an hour) that haven't been responded to by anyone in my organization.

I understand "automatically" is a pretty lofty expectation, so I would happily settle for a way to create a custom filter to find these "old" emails that have yet to be addressed. That way it would be easy for any of us to just press a button and see what needs to be handled and keep emails from slipping through the cracks.

I've been exploring custom filters and the Advanced Find tool, but so far I can only find options that will filter for exact dates and time. I'm trying to add variables to a system that only wants to work with constants. lol
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
I played around a bit with creating an environmental variable based on the System Time.

Idea being to use Powershell (Get-Date) and subtract 15 minutes to set/create a new environmental variable ("MailFlag15") that could be used as a comparison value via some rule in the mailbox. Perhaps comparing the value to Creation Time, Last Saved Time, or Edit Time.

The variable "MailFlag15" is fixed but its value would change with system time.

"Learning experience" which usually means I am/was going about it all the hard way.

A bit of googling found a variety of links such as:

https://devblogs.microsoft.com/premier-developer/outlook-email-automation-with-powershell/

Your requirement is only to find overlooked emails = no response within 15 minutes of receipt).

No reason that that search process needs to be within Outlook per se.

Maybe you or someone you have knows Powershell. Worth a look I think....
 
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Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
It occurred to me that another approach could be/would be to move emails older that 15 minutes to a specific email folder.

Led me to the following link:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/mail-flow/transport-logs/search-message-tracking-logs?view=exchserver-2019

Using the timestamp (date-time) field appears promising.

From the link:

"The date-time field in the message tracking log stores information in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). However, you need to enter your date-time search criteria for the Start or End parameters in the regional date-time format of the computer that you're using to perform the search."

Your date-time search criteria would be based on system time. Any emails with a timestamp 15 minutes older than system time would be moved.

Powershell still seems, to me anyway, as the applicable tool.
 

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