In NetHelpDesk, Workflows are essentially a way of restricting which actions are available at certain steps of a process. They can also be used to automatically take an action after a time limit is reached at that step.
Workflows will only have one start point, but the paths of the workflow can loop to previous steps and have multiple end points based on the path chosen in that process. It is best to use Workflows if you want to standardise a process, so that the same level of service is being provided in a particular area of your business.
Make sure you have thought your process through, from beginning to end, before starting to use the Workflows in NetHelpDesk, and what potential routes you require. You will naturally see improvements to processes as you add them to NetHelpDesk, but it is good to have a strong basis from which to work from.
Here are a few terms commonly used in this guide and in NetHelpDesk:
Steps – These are the different stages of a workflow, and can either be a start, a step or an end. They are represented by a Box in the Workflow screen.
Actions - These are used to record work carried out on tickets, and are essential to using NetHelpDesk. They are represented by a line between steps, and can be setup to be used on any step in the workflow, or are setup to be used on the current step as many times as needed.
If you have got as far as working on Workflows in NHD, you should be relatively familiar with the use of Actions throughout a life cycle of tickets, and their extensive customisable properties. If you are not familiar, or interested in how far you can take action buttons in NetHelpDesk, click HERE to read the guide.
To enable Workflows (if they are not enabled already), go to N > Setup > Main Configuration > Workflows, and slide the switch to On (blue).
Click the Workflows icon in this view, and click Add to create a new workflow.
Make sure to give the Workflow a name. This will help distinguish it from others, and help identify it in other areas of the program.
To explain the different elements of the Workflow Screens:
A) A blank workflow is displayed below this, with a “Start” step in the top left corner. This will be the part of the program where you mainly configure the Workflow itself.
B) On the left side of the screen there is a list that can have actions added that are available at any point in the workflow.
C) Below this is a box to store notes about the workflow.
D) At the top left corner of the screen are buttons to i) add a step, and ii) toggle "Edit Mode" on and off in the Workflow.
E) Right click on a Step box to toggle “Edit Mode” as well.
Edit Mode will need to be on the add new actions to the workflow. You can easily tell when Edit Mode is activated, as you will see Edit Mode button have a thicker blue box, say it is "on", and the black directional arrows on each square will appear.
It can be turned off as you need to, to make it a little easier to look at the workflow, and the steps you have implemented.
If you right click on a step inside the Workflow, the Edit Mode will automatically be toggled on.
Right clicking on the Workflow to the right of the Start step, select Add Step. To get used to the interface, feel free to trial adding a few steps. They can be deleted at any time should they not be used, by right clicking, and selecting Remove Step.
Right clicking on the step also has a Edit Step option. By selecting this, a window will appear with the Step's Name field, which can be populated to whatever you would like.
In this example, we have completed some of the items discussed above:
A) Workflow Name is Support Ticket Workflow
B) Two Action buttons have been selected to be available at all times; i) Add Time and ii) Internal Note. These fields will not progress the workflow forward, and can be used as much or as little as the Agent requires. They are flexible action buttons for the unforeseen variables in the workflow.
C) The Start step has been labled Support Ticket Received, as this is what will happen before the Step needs to be taken.
Once you have several steps, you can then link the steps together with an Action button. To link one step to another:
A) Click on the arrow on the step you want to move from first, and then
B) Its corresponding arrow on the step you want to move to.
This will display the Define Workflow Step screen, to select the Type of step, and the Action button to be used on the 1st step.
Action vs Timer
The Timer option should be used with actions that have the Do Not Show option enabled. When this is enabled, the action screen itself won't display to the Agent, and are configured to work in the background with the Agent's input.
The Action option will be when the Agent should see a screen, to record notes of what they did on that step, record time, change statuses and so on.
Here, we are adding a preset Action called Initial Analysis. It will be the first button that will appear on the Workflow when a ticket is created.
So, a ticket is created, either by email, web interface, from social media, or by an Agent, and the very first step is to analyse the ticket. The action button will have a list of presets, such as being a public action, assigning the ticket to the First Line Support Team, in their Unassigned queue, mark the SLA Response automatically, and so on.
The next step will be decision making step, and we can add different options, based on what the Agent has scope to do next. In this example, they can either escalate to Level 2, if they are unable to solve straight away, or ask the end-user for more information.
If the Action button you wish to use has not been created yet, then new Action buttons can be added in the Workflow screen. In this example, we have added a new step to the right of the End step, clicked the right pointing arrow on the End step, and then the left pointing arrow on the new step.
Click Create new action button to enter some basics for a new Action button. These can be edited later in N > Setup > Main Configuration > Actions.
Action Description - The name that will be added to the ticket's action log for this action.
Default Status - Set a status, to be set after action is used.
Default Section - The team who will be selected if the Reassign function is added to the Action button.
Default Agent - The support person who will be selected if the Reassign function is added to the Action button.
Default Ticket Type - Changes the form of the ticket, to another form.
Default Text - Adds canned text data to the action button for the Agent automatically.
Send Email - Will set the action button to use email functionality by default.
Email Template - The email template to be used with this action button (if not set, uses ID 11 by default, but this can be overriden).
Do Not Show Screen - The action button will be added automatically when clicked, with the above information. It does not show the action screen to the Agent (see Timer previously in this guide.
Button Image - Select a graphical representation of this action on the ticket.
Click Save to store the button, or go to the Action area of the Main Configuration to add/edit/delete as applicable. Here we have filled in some of the action presets, to show how it could be used.
The Workflow is now starting to take shape. The action button will be added to the step. By hovering over the Step, you will see to the left of the screen, the action made available on this step, is the Escalate to Level 2 action button we have just created. This list will not include action buttons that will always be there. They will appear by default. Here we are not in Edit Mode.
Lets add a few more actions, so the Level 1 Support Team have some options available to them, which will allow them to resolve tickets efficiently. If the Level 1 Support Team do not want to escalate, they can now either:
A) Ask the end-user for more information, which may help them analyse and/or resolve the ticket further...
B) ... or Close the ticket if they have resolved the issue.
As you will see, NetHelpDesk starts colour coding options, to help you separate the action that can be taken, and where they lead to in the Workflow. It also now has two End steps. A Workflow can have as many of these as needed. However, you do not need to add multiples if you do not wish to. All paths can lead to the one End step, if you prefer.
Add in similar steps for the Level 2 team, and a few for the Level 3 team, and your Workflow can, at this stage, be complete.
Example 1 Summary
To recap, the procedure starts with a Support Ticket being received, and an action button will appear allowing the Agent to store their initial analysis of the ticket. They can then either Escalate to Level 2, if it is not something that Level 1 can deal with, ask the end-user for more information, or close the ticket if resolved.
If the ticket is escalated to Level 2 Support Team, they can Escalate to Level 3, if it is not something that Level 1 or Level 2 can deal with, ask the end-user for more information, or close the ticket if resolved.
If the ticket is escalated to Level 3 Support Team, they cannot escalate it any higher, as they are the highest in the procedure. They can ask the end-user for more information, or close the ticket.
At all times, all Agents will be able to use the "Add Time" button and "Internal Note" button.
The screen where the Workflow steps are added, allows for the workflow steps to be moved by drag and drop. The screen has been designed to maximise the white space given to create the workflow, and a scroll bar added in both directions, so the Workflow(s) can grow, as needed.
You can also add actions that are available to be used as many times as needed at a specific step. TSimply right click the step, and choose “Edit Step”. These are actions available at just this step, but will not progress the workflow.
The workflow can be as simple or as complex as needed. However, we recommend starting with simpler workflows or multi-option steps first. Once in place, a Workflow can be quite restrictive, and in our experience, some Support teams will not respond well to a sharp introduction of a workflow, which sets the path for a "hypothetically perfect" scenario, with no scope to deal with anomolies. Ask our team for details on our professional services suite, to maximise your use of NetHelpDesk effectively.
Applying Workflows to tickets is done at the Ticket Type level. Go to N > Setup > Main Configuration > Tickets > Ticket Types > Edit > Default Values.
In this example, the "Example Workflow" will begin at the beginning of every Incident ticket life cycle. This is an example, and not necessarily something that we endorse as a useful path of action.
Inside of a ticket, if you have visibility rights to the Advanced System Fields tab, you will be able to manually start a workflow at any time, or remove it from the ticket, shouid it be less helpful in that unqiue situation.
Speak with anyone at NetHelpDesk should you need any further assistance, by clicking on contact in the main menu of our website.