Time Based Actions - Zoho Desk Knowledgebase

Creating Time-based Automations

Time-based rules are similar to Workflow rules for the reason that both define actions that will trigger alerts, create tasks and update fields in Zoho Desk. However, time-based rules are triggered when a timed event occurs, and not immediately after a ticket is created or updated.

Note:
  • Time-based rules are applicable only for the Tickets module.
  • Users with Profile permission to manage Help Desk Automation can access this feature.
  • Time-based rules are available on all paid plans of Zoho Desk.
  • You can create a maximum of 5 rules/15 rules/30 rules per department in the Standard, Professional, and Enterprise editions, respectively.
  • You can associate each rule with up to three time-based actions (1 alert, 1 task & 1 field update).

Here are some ways you can use time-based rules in your help desk:
  • Notify agents when their tickets stay unresolved for x hours. 
  • Notify Queue Managers when tickets remain unassigned for x hours.
  • Notify agents of their tickets after x hours since they received a new response.
  • Notify and assign re-opened tickets after x hours of receiving them.
  • Notify Support Managers when agents reassign their tickets.
  • Notify Support Managers, the no. of hours (approx.) it took for agents to respond since assignment.

Time-based Conditions
Since time-based rules are triggered when a timed event occurs, Zoho Desk provides the following time-based condition to supervise your tickets:
  • Hours since status updated
  • Hours since closed
  • Hours since re-opened
  • Hours since assigned
  • Hours since first assigned
  • Hours since requestor responded
  • Hours since agent responded
  • Hours since due date
  • Hours to due date
  • Hours since modified
  • Hours since created
  • Hours since first response pending
  • Hours since agent response pending
  • Hours since requestor response pending

Notes:
  • The time-based rules run once every hour on tickets that received a customer response in the past 30 days.
  • The values for time-based conditions should be a whole number. Decimals (like 1.5) are not supported.
  • The time-based conditions can be built using the following criteria options:
    • <is>
    • <is less than>
    • <is greater than>
  • For example, let's assume the current time is '08:00:00 AM' and the supervise rule is triggered. The rule criteria work as follows:



    • Case 1: hours since due date <is greater than> 2
      <is greater than> will impact tickets whose due time is older than 06:00 AM.
    • Case 2: hours since due date <is less than> 2
      <is less than> will impact tickets whose due time is between 06:00 AM and 08:00 AM.
    • Case 3: hours since due date <is> 2
      <is> will impact tickets whose due time is between 05:00 AM and 06:00 AM.
      Note: The <is> condition is applied based on the hour, not the minutes.

Creating Time-based Rules
You must create time-based rules from scratch according to your help desk requirements. The steps to create a time-based rule is divided into 3 parts. 

To create a time-based rule:

Part 1: Basic Information
  1. Click the Setup icon (  ) in the top bar.
  2. In the Setup Landing page, click Supervise under Automation.
  3. In the Supervisor Rules List page, select the Department from the drop-down menu.
  4. Click Create Rule in the upper right area.
  5. In the New Time-based Rule page, do the following:
    • Enter the Rule Name.
    • Select the Active check box if you want the rule to be activated.
    • Specify whether the elapsed time should be measured in business or calendar hours.
    • Optionally, enter a description in the Description field.



  6. Click Next.

Part 2: Rule Criteria
  1. In the Criteria section, build your time-based criteria statements.
  2. Select an operator between AND / OR to add multiple criteria.
  3. Click Next.
Note:
  • You must specify at least one rule criteria to create a time-based rule.

Part 3: Actions
Time-based rules are meaningful only if an alert, task, or field update is associated with it. You must associate one or all of the actions, which are triggered when a timed event occurs. Also, you can associate the existing time-based actions or create new actions to be associated with your rules.

Action 1: Time-based Alerts
Time-based alerts are automated, predefined e-mail notifications that are triggered when certain conditions are met. These conditions are specified while creating the time-based rules.
To create a time-based alert:
  1. In the New Time-based Rule page and under Actions, do the following:
    • Click the Add icon  ) and select New from the drop-down list corresponding to Alerts.
    • In the New Alert window, specify a Name for the Alert.
    • Choose an Email Template from the drop-down list.
      The selected email template will be used to send emails when the time-based rule is triggered.
    • Specify who should be receiving this Alert. 
      You can choose between GroupsRolesRoles and Subordinates or Agents.
    • Enable the following options if you will like to notify other users:
      • Record Owner:  Owner of the record
      • Record Creator: User who created the record
      • Notify Contact:  Requestor who submitted the ticket
      • Additional Recipients: Enter e-mail addresses, separated by a comma

  2. Click Save.

Action 2: Time-based Tasks
Assign tasks to users automatically when certain conditions are met. These conditions are specified while creating the time-based rules.
To create a time-based task:
  1. In the New Time-based Rule page and under Actions, do the following:
    • Click the Add icon  ) and select New from the drop-down list corresponding to Tasks.
    • In the New Task window, specify the task related details like SubjectStatusPriorityAssigneeDue Date, etc.
  2. Click Save.
A new time-based task is created, which will be associated with the rule.

Note:
  • When you enable 'Assign ticket owner as task owner', the task will be assigned to the specified owner only when its corresponding ticket is unassigned.

Action 3: Time-based Field Updates
The Field Update option helps you to automatically update certain field values in the tickets when the associated time-based rule is triggered.
To create field updates:
  1. In the New Time-based Rule page and under Actions, do the following:
    • Click the Add icon ) and select New from the drop-down list corresponding to Field Updates.
    • In the Create Assignment Value window, specify a Name for the Assignment Value.
    • Optionally, enter a description in the Description field.
    • Select the field from the Assignment Values drop-down list that needs to be updated.
    • Specify the value for the field that you want to be updated.



  2. Click Save.
The fields will be updated with the specified values when the time-based rule is triggered.

Associating Existing Actions to Rules
When you create a time-based rule, you must add certain actions (like alerts, tasks, field updates, etc.,) to it. These actions once created, can be associated with many rules.
To associate an existing action:
  1. Click the Setup icon (  ) in the top bar.
  2. In the Setup Landing page, click Supervise under Automation.
  3. In the Supervisor Rules List page, click the Edit icon (  ) corresponding to a time-based rule.
  4. In the Edit Time-based Rule page and under Actions, do the following:
    • Click the Add icon  ) and select Existing from the drop-down list corresponding to an Action (like alerts, tasks, field updates, etc.,).
    • In the Associate Existing <Action> page, select an existing Action and associate it to the rule.
  5. Click Save.

Deactivating Time-based Rules
You can activate or deactivate the time-based rules at any time. When you deactivate a rule, it will be removed from the Active Rule list. Time-based rules can be reactivated, when needed.
To deactivate time-based rules:
  1. Click the Setup icon (  ) in the top bar.
  2. In the Setup Landing page, click Supervise under Automation.
  3. In the Supervisor Rules List page, click the Deactivate icon (  ) for the corresponding rule.


The time-based rule will be deactivated instantly. You can head over to the Inactive Rules List and click the Activate icon (  ) to re-activate the rule. Alternatively, you can click the Schedulers toggle to activate or deactivate all the time-based rules in one go.

Deleting Time-based Rules
Time-based rules can be deleted when not in use. When you delete a rule, it will be permanently removed from your help desk and cannot be recovered.
To delete time-based rules:
  1. Click the Setup icon (  ) in the top bar.
  2. In the Setup Landing page, click Supervise under Automation.
  3. In the Supervisor Rules List page, click the Delete icon  ) for the corresponding rule.
  4. Click Ok to confirm.


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