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Automate Notifications

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Summarize the benefits of notifications and auto acknowledgements.
  • Set up various workflows by using rules for automation.
  • Customize reply themes and signatures.

Introduction to Auto Acknowledgements and Notifications

When you’re setting up your support process, it’s important to let your customers know that you’re listening. Letting your customers know that you’ve received their questions and you’ll get back to them in a timely manner goes a long way. It’s also important to let your agents know when a question has come in. has two formats for sending automated messages using Rules. The format of your message depends on your intended recipient. Sending an auto acknowledgement lets your customers know you’ve received their message. You can alert your agents to incoming cases through Notifications. Let’s compare these two features:

Auto Acknowledgement Notification
Designed for external use; often used to send a response to your customer upon receipt of a case Designed for internal use; often used to send a message to notify agents that a case has been modified or assigned
Only available on an inbound interaction rule Available for all rule types
Sent out from the default mailbox Mailbox can be selected within the notification template
Threads into the message history so responses from customers remain part of the case Does not thread into the message history so responses from customers create new cases

Create Auto Acknowledgement Emails

With a preconfigured setting to send an auto acknowledgement, it’s as easy as a click of a button.

  1. Within the Admin console, in the top navigation, click Cases.
  2. In the side navigation, click Rules and then Inbound Interaction.
  3. A rule named Send Auto Acknowledgement Email is available by default. Move the toggle to On to activate it.

Send Auto Acknowledgement Email


This rule sends an auto acknowledgement to the customer if they have not received one in the past 24 hours. The rule condition for Hours since last Auto ack is necessary to prevent email wars, where two auto responders email each other infinitely.

All set—and what a simple way to gain customer service points!

Create Notification Emails

Let’s look at how we can use a preconfigured rule to notify your agents when a new interaction is received on a case. Every time your customer emails you, the rule will trigger and notify your agents.

  1. Within the Admin console, in the top navigation, click Cases.
  2. In the side navigation, click Rules and then select Inbound Interaction.
  3. A rule named New Interaction Notification is available by default. Move the toggle to On to activate it.

    New Interaction Notification


This rule sends a notification to your agents whenever a new email is received by the system. You’re all set, it really was that simple.

Time Rules

Time rules are a great way to set up workflows that trigger an action after a specified period of time. Let’s look at a scenario:

Service manager Andrej wants to ensure his service reps John and Alis keep on top of their cases. He knows that they handle a large number of case every day, so Andrej needs an automated workflow to help them follow up with the customer.

Andrej sets up a time rule that reopens cases that need a follow-up after a specified time period. It sends a notification email to Masamba and Alis to keep them informed.

There are three steps to this process:

  1. Create a custom case field.
  2. Create a custom notification.
  3. Create a time rule

Let’s set this up for Andrej!

Create a custom case field:

  1. Go to Admin > Cases > Cases and click Add Field
  2. Fill in the following values in the Add case Custom Field dialog:
    1. Name: Follow-up in
    2. Key: follow_up
    3. Data Type: List
    4. Data: Add the following options:
      1. Please Select…
      2. 1 day
      3. 2 days
      4. 1 week
      5. 2 weeks

      Add case Custom Field

All set with our custom field. Next we create a custom notification.

Create a custom notification:

  1. Go to Admin > Cases > Notifications > click Add Theme
  2. Enter name: Notification for Follow-up
  3. When the notification opens, change the Subject to: Follow-up needed on case #{{}}
  4. Click Update

Custom notification

We got our notification ready, our final step is the time rule to send this notification out.

Create a time rule:

  1. Go to Admin > Cases > Rules > Time Rule > click Add Rule.
  2. Name it Send Follow-up Notification 1 day.
  3. Set up the rule as follows:
    1. Case status is pending
    2. Hours since Pending is 24
    3. Case Follow-up in: is 1 day
    4. Set Case status Open
    5. Send Notification Email: Notification for Follow-up
    6. Set Case Follow-up in: Please select
      Follow up rules


This rule sets the case status to Open and sends out a notification. It also resets the follow-up in field value to Please select. You must create a one-time rule for each value in your custom field (1 day, 2 days, and so on). Then change the rule conditions to reflect the accurate number of hours.

Here’s what it looks like:

change rule conditions

This rule is best combined with a filter to create a quick view of all cases that were reopened and in need of a follow-up. You can learn more about filters in the Toolkit module.

Reply Themes

You can change the look and feel of the replies that you send from You do this with a reply theme. provides a standard reply theme for all outgoing emails. The theme is designed to keep all emails within a case thread organized, threaded, and ordered so your most recent response appears at the top. You can style your replies to better suit your organization’s font, color, and layout.

Here’s the standard reply theme:

standard reply theme

Let’s create a custom reply theme that better works for Andrej’s team. And then make our new theme the default theme to make sure that our custom reply is sent out for all replies.

Create a custom reply theme:

  1. Go to Admin > Channels > Email > Reply Themes > click Add theme
  2. Name: Reply theme
  3. The template editor opens so you can edit HTML and plaintext to create the look you need. Change the following:
    1. Within the div tag for section-header, change background-color:##efefef to background-color:#1798c1
    2. Right above {% if email.agent.signature %}, add: <img src="URL to any image">

The code will look like this:

template editor code

Fantastic job! We made two simple changes, but the results are powerful and custom for Andrej’s team:

custom changes

Congratulations, you’ve put together a custom reply theme.


We’ve learned how to set up a custom reply theme to change the look and feel of our replies. This can include any signatures you want to show within the replies you’re sending out. has a built-in signature function so you can use HTML. You can find it by clicking the arrow next to your name in the classic agent desktop. Then select Settings > Signature.

signature setting


Any text or HTML added within this signature section is added to every email interaction sent from

However, if you need a more custom setup for your signatures, beyond using only HTML, consider this scenario:

John and Alis each have their own signature setup in their agent desktop. They look vastly different! John went advanced and included detailed contact information, URLs, and a company logo. Alis choose a simple setup with only a company logo and “Best regards, Alis” signature. How can Andrej best consolidate his agents’ signatures to maintain one unified look for their signatures?

Reply themes can override the built-in signature function in Desk. To solve the dilemma described here, Andrej can use a custom reply theme to gain control over his agents’ signatures, rather than letting each one of them set their own style.

Let’s create a reply theme for a custom signature on a per-agent basis:

Reply theme for custom signatures:

  1. To find the public name of each agent, go to Admin > Team > Users.

    Admin Team Users
  2. Next, create a custom reply theme, or edit an existing one. Go to Admin > Channels > Email > Reply themes > Your theme.
  3. Open the reply theme, and find this code:
                {% if email.agent.signature %}
                    <div class="email-signature" style="margin-top:10px;"> {{email.agent.signature | newline_to_br}}</div>
                {% endif %}
  4. Delete it, and replace it with this sample code:
    {% case email.agent.name_public %}
    {% when 'Alis' %}
    {% if forloop.first %}
        Customer support specialist<br/>
        <img src="" alt="Alis">
    {% endif %}
    {% when 'Agent 2 public name here' %}
    Insert Agent 2 Signature Here
    {% else %}
        {% if forloop.first %}
            <br/><b>Customer support</b><br/>
            Customer support that software that makes customers happy<br/><br/>
            <a href=<""></a>
        {% endif %}
    {% endcase %}


Create a different When statement for each agent’s public name; you can use as many as needed. Use an Else statement at the end if you need a generic signature in the event that there were no matches.

Fantastic job; that was easy!

In the next units, you learn about automating actions with rules.