Brian Sheehan
As a Technical Writer and Blogger, Brian enjoys the challenge of bringing concepts to life via the written word. He is a big fan of project management, technology, and cheeseburgers.
November 03, 2012 · 2 min read

Using Planio Help Desk (Part 2)

Update: We’ve created a new video and text tutorial on the Planio Help Desk app that you can see by clicking here.

As you recall, in our last Planio Tricks post we enabled the Help Desk for use and demonstrated how Planio automatically created a new contact record (customer and company name) when an e-mail is received by a first-time sender.

Today we'll have a closer look at e-mail generated issues and explore how the Issue Detail interface can be used as your own Customer Communications Center. So, let's dive in...


Specifying a Custom Reply

  1. Use the techniques demonstrated in Part 1 to send an external e-mail to a Planio project and, consequently, create a new issue.
  2. Navigate to the issue's detail screen.
  3. Click Update.
  4. The Update section appears.
  5. In the Send this note via email field, below the Notes section, select the check box to indicate that your message should be sent to the e-mail sender (i.e., customer).

Using Automated Content

The Header & Footer

You will notice that, as soon as you select the check box, the Notes section expands to include header & footer text and a Select template... drop down list.

The header & footer is text that is defined in the Help Desk settings section (more details on how to do this in Part 3 of our series). This text is 100% configurable and is automatically placed at the beginning and end of all customer messages. Check out the graphic below to see an example -- note that a variable is used to automatically insert the customer's name (i.e., "Dear {{contact.name}}:" = "Dear Brian Sheehan:"). 

Selectable Templates

In addition to the header & footer, you can select a pre-defined Help Desk template to quickly answer common customer questions. Like the header & footer, Help Desk templates are defined in the Help Desk settings interface.

For the purpose of this walk-through, we'll select the "Forgot password" Help Desk template -- it explains how to create a new Planio password. As you can surmise, your imagination is the limit here when it comes to creating templates for use when replying to customers.


When done, click Submit to send the e-mail. Remember that you can also associate a file with the issue -- it will be attached to the customer's e-mail.

Here's an example of how the completed e-mail looks from the perspective of the recipient:


Using the Issue Tracker Link

You'll notice that the e-mail includes a tracking URI. When the recipient clicks this link, he/she will see a summary of the issue that includes your conversation history, its status, and the assignee (inclusion of status and assignee can be toggled on & off in the Help Desk settings). This provides a convenient way for a customer to keep track of the issue -- note that a Planio login is not required by the customer to see this content!


In our next post you'll learn how to define the Help Desk settings, including the ones referenced in this week's posts (auto reply, header & footer, Help Desk templates, and status/assignee toggles). We'll also look more closely at personalizing messages using variables.

Lastly, in Part 4, we'll talk about how Planio can use your custom e-mail address (e.g., support@yourcompany.com) to handle your Help Desk communications. We'll also touch on the Help Desk’s hidden persona... as a FAQ Management system!


Imagine handling all of your help desk requirements from a web-based interface... your organization can, feasibly, be anywhere in the world. How do you feel about a portable corporate entity? Share your thoughts and insights in a comment below. Also, feel free to send a Like and/or Tweet if you enjoyed today's blog post!