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Every time you perform the same support task over and over again, there’s a customer somewhere impatiently waiting to get help.

Customer service is about reliability and trust, but it’s also about being able to provide prompt answers without compromising the quality of your support. This is especially important during the times of the online shopping boom and a fierce e-commerce competition when switching brands is easier than it ever was.

Therefore, if you’re not employing automation rules to streamline your workflows within your help desk, there are only two possible answers why:

  1. You don’t know such an option exists
  2. Or you simply don’t know how to enable this feature.

In this article, you’ll learn what are automation rules, where you can find them, what are the benefits of help desk automation, and go through a step-by-step guide for setting up automated workflows.

What are help desk automation rules?

Automation rules are pre-made automatic workflows that are triggered by a specific pre-defined action. Or in other words, rules define each step that must be taken for the automation to be completed.

It generally consists of 3 conditions – WHEN, IF, and THEN.

  • WHEN – “when” refers to a trigger or under what circumstances the rule must be activated.
  • IF – “if” defines the conditions that must be met for the automation to be completed.
  • THEN – "then" is the result of specific automation or what happens when all the conditions defined before are met.

For example:

Help desk automation rules example

This rule is as simple as it looks. WHEN an email lands in your inbox and its subject contains (IF) the keywords you chose beforehand (in this case, “Item return"), THEN the system automatically sends an email to the customer with return instructions (you can prepare different templates yourself).

It means you don’t have to manually go through inquiries like these.

Automation rules will help you save some valuable time by eliminating repetitive tasks from your daily operations, thus allowing you to focus on more complex issues.

Benefits of help desk automation rules

If you’re still not sure why do you need, no – must – automate a part of your customer service, here are some other benefits that come with it:

  • Improved team productivity – support agents can use their skills more effectively when they don’t need to go over recurring tasks and inquiries every day.
  • Increase work efficiency –  agents won’t need to spend their time on admin drudgery; they will be able to pay better attention to direct assistance and problem solving instead.
  • Faster issue resolution – automating some of the basic tasks that would otherwise require a human touch first will reduce support response times and improve problem resolution.
  • Better customer satisfaction and increased trust – as you’ll be able to answer faster without losing the quality of support, it will improve customer experience with your brand.

What are some workflow automation examples?

Example #1: Assign tickets to responsible agents

Assigning agents to tickets (workflow automation example)

Rule: WHEN inbound email ticket IF inbox is [email protected] AND subject contains shipping THEN assign specific user.

Explanation: If the email that contains the word “Shipping” in its subject line lands in an [email protected] inbox, such a ticket will be assigned to the chosen support agent/user.

Example #2: Reply to inquiries during out-of-office hours

Out-of-office hours reply rule example

Rule: WHEN inbound email ticket IF ticket channel is email OR ticket channel is chat OR ticket channel is FB Messenger AND during close hours THEN send template, add tag Close hours.

Explanation: If a ticket from any of the chosen channels (email, live chat, or FB messenger) lands in your help desk out of office hours, the system will automatically reply with a pre-made template and add ticket tag Close hours.

Example #3: Prioritize your VIP customers

Prioritizing VIP customers - automation rules example

Rule: WHEN inbound email ticket IF received from email [email protected] THEN add tag VIP.

Explanation: If you receive an email from an important customer writing from [email protected] email, then the system will add a ticket tag VIP.

Example #4: Don’t let your customers wait too long

Email forward - automated workflow example

Rule: WHEN inbound email ticket IF inbox is [email protected] AND no response from agent longer than 1 hour THEN forward to [email protected], add tag Urgent.

Explanation: If an inquiry lands in an email inbox [email protected] and no one replies for longer than 1 hour, that specific email gets forwarded to a responsible person with a tag Urgent.

Example #5: Avoid spam

Reducing spam - automation rules

Rule: WHEN inbound email ticket IF received from email [email protected] THEN add tag SPAM, Archive.

Explanation: If you receive an email from [email protected], then the system will add a tag SPAM and archive the ticket.

Setting up automation rules with HelpCenter

Step 1

Open the HelpDesk ticketing system, click on your profile at the top left corner, and choose SETTINGS.

HelpCenter's HelpDesk dashboard

Step 2

On your profile settings page, you’ll see a variety of options, including your personal information, administration, and ticket-related settings. Under Tickets, find RULES and click on it.

HelpDesk ticketing profile page

Step 3

On the Rules page, you have two options – add a new custom rule or enable existing ones (if you've already created any) by clicking on a toggle switch next to each rule.

List of rules - HelpCenter

Note: you can click on each existing rule to analyze every step of automated workflow.

If you want to create a new rule, click a yellow ADD NEW RULE button at the top right corner.

Step 4

Start creating rule conditions.

First, type the title of your rule in the NAME field. We’ll call it Test rule.

Then, choose a condition under which your automation will be triggered. For example, inbound email ticket.

Creating rules conditions - WHEN

Step 5

Then, in the IF section, define the conditions that the inbound email ticket should meet for the rule to be triggered.

For instance, IF inbox is [email protected] and a Message contains keywords Order, Order status, THEN…

Creating rules conditions - IF

Step 6

In the last step, choose what will be the outcome if all the previous conditions are met.

So, IF inbox is [email protected] and a Message contains keywords Order, Order status, THEN, for example, Assign to specific user. In the field on the right, open a dropdown menu and choose the agent you want to assign to the task.

Creating rules conditions - THEN

So the rule we’ve just created looks like this:

WHEN inbound email ticket IF inbox is [email protected] AND a message contains keywords Order, Order status, THEN assign to specific user.

To save your newly created rule, click SAVE at the top right corner.

Step 7

Your new rule will be added to the rules list. To enable it, just slide a toggle switch to the right and your automation will be ready to work.

Enabling new rules - HelpCenter

Start taking advantage of automation rules

If there’s anything at all in your customer support process that can be automated, you should definitely do it. You will be able to quickly notice the benefits that come with it, including improved team and teamwork efficiency, followed by higher customer satisfaction levels.

If you have already tried automating your customer support using rules, share your experience in the comments section below.