Automatic request actions

Your attention may not always be required for processing customer requests, because Helpdesk app can process some of them automatically.

When can this be useful? For example, if you want to have old requests marked as archived so that your clients are not tempted to re-open them and ask non-related questions. For new questions, it is always better to send a new request.

To avoid re-opening of old discussions, set up automatic archiving for such closed requests using auto actions as described below.

  1. In your workflow settings, add a new state for archived requests; e.g., "Archive". Make this state visible in the Customer Portal, if you want that your clients can view their requests and your replies to them. Do not add any other actions to this state, at least those available to clients, so that it remains a deadlock state, i. e. the one which a request can never leave once it enters it.

  2. In the state corresponding to a closed request in your workflow settings, (it might be named "Closed", "Replied", or "Processed") add a new action using "Add action" link.
  3. In the action-adding dialog select option "Create a new action to be performed automatically".

    The automatic action adding screen slightly differs from that used for adding an ordinary action. In this case, there is no option to enable a text-editing or file uploading field; e.g., there is no user in case of an auto action who would edit text or upload a file.

  4. Enter a name for the new action and edit the auto-suggested ID if necessary.
  5. The most important difference between an auto action and an ordinary action is the necessity to specify a timeout for auto actions. Timeout is the period after the execution of any last action on a request, upon whose expiration the auto action must be executed. In this example, specify a timeout of 30 days. Thus, a closed/processed request will be moved to archive upon 30 days of the execution of any last action.
  6. In section "After this action is submitted" select "Forward request to state: Archive" — here select the deadlock state which you have created for storing archived requests.
  7. Specify other settings at your discretion:
    • Assignment: Whether assigned user selection must be saved or removed. It is reasonable to select removal of the assignment selection so that archived requests no longer remained assigned to any users.
    • Availability to clients: Whether clients should see that this auto action was executed on their requests. If the archive state is already visible to clients in the Customer Portal, then there is usually no necessity to additionally notify them of the auto-action, too.
    • Email notifications: For more control, you may set up sending of email notifications on auto-archiving of old requests. Email notifications in this case can also be sent to clients as follow-ups to provide them with some useful information or to make an extra proposal.

      After you save auto action properties, the new action will appear in the workflow setup screen.

  8. To make the auto action be executed without user input, setup of a server scheduler (cron) job is required, the very one which is required for retrieving email requests from a mailbox. If you already have that cron job set up, there is no need to set it up again, it should be working for auto actions, too. Instructions for cron job setup are available via the "Cron Job" link in the Helpdesk backend sidebar.

    In most cases, execution of a cron job every 10 minutes is enough. You may also select higher execution frequency, if you want to more promptly respond to customer requests received by email.
    In Webasyst Cloud, you do not have to set up a cron job for Helpdesk, because it is automatically executed for all Cloud users.

Done! Save auto action properties to activate the new action. An auto action is executed only on requests which were received by Helpdesk after the auto action had been set up. Requests received prior to auto action setup are ignored by the auto action.

In the same fashion you can set up other auto actions for your workflow. Note that you can set up only auto action per state. This limitation was introduced to avoid conflicts between auto actions.

More examples of auto actions

  1. A request has not been processed during a long period of time. Helpdesk will automatically notify the client that his request requires more attention than usual and that the request is still being worked on. Any information is better than making a client silently wait for the unknown.
  2. A request has stuck in some state "X" and will not proceed to any other state. The head of customer service will want to get to know about such "forgotten" requests or to have them automatically forwarded to a specially assigned specialist.


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