How to create custom actions in Helpdesk

In Helpdesk, you can perform various actions with customer requests. The most important of those actions is “reply to customer”!

However, for convenient collaboration in processing customer requests, you may need to perform other actions with, for example:

  • add comment: any information related to the specific request; e.g., preliminary response text or a tip for your colleague
  • discuss: request additional information from your colleague in order to write a complete response text for the customer
  • reopen: restore a previously closed request to send additional information to the customer

Each action is represented by a colorful button on the request-viewing page:

Actions do not exist separately; each action may be accessible at least for one (or more) request states. For example, action “reopen” may be available only for state “Closed”, and action “reply” — in states “New” and “Discussion”.

Therefore, if you need to add a new action, you must add it for a certain request state only. Let us add a new action called “notify customer” as an example, this action will send a notification of the form “Please wait, we are working hard to provide a response to your request as soon as possible” to customer and will not change the request state.

It is logical to add action “notify customer” for a state in which a customer request is pending response from the support team; e.g., “New”. To add a new action, open backend section “Workflow” and click on “Add action” in the area of the ”New” state; this will open the action setup dialog, select “Create a new action” and proceed to the next to step:

Specify the following options for the new action.

Name

Text which will be displayed on the action button.

Note that if you select any option except for “Not available” in the action visibility settings (see below), then the specified action name will also be visible to your clients in the Customer Portal.

ID

Identifier containing only Latin letters, digits, and underscore characters; this id is not user anywhere in the user interface so you can leave what Helpdesk automatically generates when you enter the action name.

Text

If you need to be able to enter arbitrary text when executing the action; e.g., notification for the customer or a comment for your colleagues, then enable option “Allow to add a text message” and the ability to attach files if necessary.

The text users will enter when executing the action will be visible in the backend and, sometimes, to customers in the Customer Portal depending to the action access settings in section “Customer Portal” below.

You may want to save some default text (template) in the provided area, this text will be offered as the default contents of the text area to users executing this action. Below is an example of such default text for action “notify customer”:

“To provide a detailed reply to your support request, we have requested additional details from our specialists. It may take us several days to receive the requested information. After that we will contact you again.”

You may include special variables in the default template in order to add dynamically generated data related to the customer, their support request, or the backend user; e.g., customer name, Helpdesk user name, URL of the link to customer's request in the Customer Portal, etc.

After a click on action button “notify customer” a user will see this default text, which he can edit before clicking on the confirmation button. This default text is editable standard comment to avoid entering it multiple times when executing the a frequently repeated action.

Below you can see how such default text may appear when an action is executed:

Anything entered (or left unchanged) in this text area will later be accessible in the {ACTION_TEXT} variable for setting up email notifications (see below).

Assignment

User assigned by default: specify whether, and how, the request's assignment should change when the action is executed. Helpdesk offers the following assignment options:

  • Keep previous assignment: The assignment will not change. If a request is assigned to a user or a user group, it will remain assigned to the same user or group after the action is executed. If a request was not assigned to anyone before the execution of the action, then it will remain so after that, too.
  • No assignment: Clear request assignment. After the execution of the action, the request will not be assigned to any user or group.
  • Selected user or group: After the action is executed, the request will be assigned to the selected user or user group.

Allow to select assigned user: If you enable this option, user are able to select an assigned user or group when executing the action. If this option disabled, then the request assignment does not change, so as if option “Keep previous assignment” were selected.

Assignment is required: This option is available with “Allow to select assigned user” enabled and makes the selection of an assigned user/group mandatory during the execution of the action. With this option enabled, you cannot execute the action without specifying an assignment.

Customer Portal

Choose action visibility for customers visiting your Customer Portal using hints provided in Helpdesk:

  • Not available
  • Only personal
  • Read-only
  • Available for viewing and execution by clients

For action “notify customer” you will probably want to select “Read-only”, this means that customers will see your comments sent to them but will not be able to execute the action in their Customer Portal. Note that users of the Helpdesk backend can always access all actions regardless of the visibility setup for the Customer Portal.

Messages

When an action is executed, email notifications can be sent to the following recipients:

  • Author of the request, i.e. your client.
  • Assigned user, if a request is assigned to someone; otherwise this notification will not be sent.
  • All group members, if a request is assigned to a group rather than a user.

The subject and the body of an email notification can be specified in plain text or with the use of variables. A variable is a special tag which is replaced by a corresponding value before a message is sent.

You can use available variables to insert various information such as customer name, link to their request in the Customer Portal, the text of the original request received from the client, and other details which cannot be specified in a common template as they may be different for different recipients.

Transition

Change the request state: Enable this option if you need that the request state is changed to the selected one upon execution of the action.

For example, for action “notify customer” this option is not required to keep the request state unchanged.

Button

Select the desired color for the action's button which will be displayed in the request-viewing page.

Done!

After you save these options, the new action will become available for requests in the state for which you added the action. Should you need to make this new action also available for other states, click on “Add action” for such other states and select the newly added action in the popup dialog; e.g., “notify customer”:

1 comment

  • 0
    David joohs David joohs March 2, 2014 10:10 #
    Its been nice to go through your post.
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