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This can't be an uncommon problem for any help desk implementing Service Cloud... but the best practice/solution eludes us.

Once mail to case is setup, there is nothing out of the box preventing a customer from emailing us back after a Case is closed. Their response is essentially lost/buried in the case without anyone knowing.

From what I've gathered thus far, it seems a custom trigger must be created to detect such a reply.

Anyone else faced this issue?

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You don't need a trigger you could use a standard workflow rule on EmailMessage to re-open the Case.

For example: enter image description here

With a field update to set the Case status to whatever you wish.

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