Handling Email Feedback Using YouTrack

Hello everyone!

Thanks to our users, we receive lots of feedback every day. You post questions in our forum, create issues in our bug tracker, and, of course, you send us emails.

If you get feedback emails on a regularly basis, like we do, and your support team or a member of your development team processes them, you’ve probably faced the tiny inconvenience of keeping track of the status of an email and the person responsible for it.

Faced with this challenge, we wanted to find the best way to track all of these things, so no precious question would be left unanswered.

In JetBrains, we practice the ‘eat-your-own-dogfood’ principle. So we decided to manage feedback using our own YouTrack – and we’re very happy with the results. We’d like to share our experience with you, so you can apply it to your projects as well.

Generally, there are two things you need to do in YouTrack in order to automate the process: a) set up integration with mailbox and b) create custom workflow.

Without digging into the details of the settings, the tracking of emailed feedback now looks as follows:

  1. YouTrack periodically checks the mailbox for new emails.
  2. Once one or more new emails are discovered, YouTrack fetches them and creates new issues in a dedicated project, one issue per unique email. New issues are created with the following parameters:
    • Issue summary and issue description generated from email’s subject and email’s body, respectively.
    • All the email attachments are attached to the new issue.
    • Issue Reporter is set to email author.
    • Issue is unassigned and its state is ‘Unanswered’.
  3. Our team receives notifications when an issue is created: a notification is sent to the project lead, while other team members are notified via ‘Unanswered feedback’ shared saved search.
  4. When a team member adds a reply to the user’s question as a comment to the issue, the original email sender receives an email notification containing that reply. So most of the time, we keep the conversation within an issue, via comments.

So far this process is implemented using Mailbox integration only. But to make our life even easier, we’ve designed a workflow to manage the life-cycle of created feedback issues. This workflow contains four rules covering the following processes:

  • Notifying about unanswered feedback. We use the scheduled rule, using which YouTrack daily checks the feedback project for ‘Unanswered’ issues and notifies the team if any such issues are left.
  • Setting the state of issue to ‘Answered’ or ‘Unanswered’ according to the latest comment: if a comment is from an external user, the issue becomes ‘Unanswered’; if the comment’s author is a team member, the issue becomes ‘Answered’.
  • Setting assignee on team’s comment. A team member who is the author of the latest comment containing the answer automatically becomes the issue’s assignee. This way we know who ‘owns’ the conversation at the moment.
  • Resolving issues automatically if the issue is marked as ‘Spam’. Of course quite a bit of this ‘feedback’ is actually spam, but we deal with it just like this: when an issue’s type is changed to ‘Spam’, its state automatically becomes ‘Answered’.

Please refer to How To guide for the detailed steps of setting up Mailbox integration and creating Workflow rules. You can also download the described workflow and attach it to your project as is. Keep in mind that you can always customize the process according to your specific needs.
Download YouTrack 3.0.4 along with YouTrack Workflow Editor 3.0.4 if you haven’t yet.

Manage your feedback with pleasure and make your users happy!

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