Automation Type: Timer

Textline has a special type of Automation known as Timer.  They are an Automation that can trigger actions based on the time passed since an event.  This means that, unlike normal Automations, Timer type Automations can trigger an action at some defined point in the future.  It can be a bit confusing, so let's get into a quick example:

 

Adam would like to set up an Automation to send a CSAT survey 3 days after a conversation has been resolved.

Adam heads to the Automation section in his Textline account and builds an Automation using:

Type: Conversation Resolved

Condition: Last outbound message more than 3 days ago

Action: Send CSAT Survey

Adam then heads to his account, creates a new conversation, sends a few messages, and then resolves it.  Three days later the survey hasn’t fired.

Why?  Well in the above example, the Automation type is Conversation Resolved, meaning the Automation runs when Adam resolves the conversation.  It then checks to see if the conversation last had an outbound message 3 days before being resolved.  Because Adam had messaged right before resolving the conversation, it doesn’t fire.

This is where the new Timer Automation type comes in.

Adam heads back to the Automation section in his Textline account and builds a new Automation using:

Type: Timer

Timer Condition: Conversation has been resolved for 3 days

Action: Send CSAT Survey

Adam again heads to his account, creates a new conversation, sends a few messages, and then resolves it.  Three days later the survey sends.

 

Because of this “clock” trigger, Timer type Automations can be quite powerful and we cannot wait to see what type of new Automations you all come up with.  If you are interested in learning more about Timer type Automations, continue reading below.  We also have a list of possible use cases (and how to build them) belowOne thing to note is that the Timer type is only available to those on Pro plans.

 

Details

When building an Automation and you select Timer as your type, you will see a new section appear called Timer Condition.

Image_2020-11-10_at_11.21.09_AM.png

The Timer Condition is what the clock is measuring against.  To help you understand each condition, we have expanded on them below:

Waiting for an agent response for

This option allows you to set the timer to count from the last inbound message.  This means if a contact has messaged in and an agent hasn’t sent an outbound message in the time you set, the Automation will be triggered.  Note: This condition will also trigger for any conversation that is greater than the time period you set.  This means that when you create an Automation using this condition, it will also apply to older conversations.

This Timer Condition will continue if the contact messages in more than once without an agent responding in between.  For example, if you create an Automation with a Timer Condition of waiting for an agent response for 30 minutes, a contact messages in, and then messages in again 15 minutes later, the Automation will fire 15 minutes after the second message as it is 30 minutes after the first message.

Image_2020-11-10_at_4.29.16_PM.png

This Timer Condition can also be stopped by another Automation.  If you have another Automation (Timer or another type) that has an action for Send a Message and the option for Suppress agent notifications and wait time warnings is checked and it goes off before a Timer type Automation with this condition, then it will stop the clock for this Timer Condition.

Waiting for a contact response for

This option allows you to set the timer to count from the last outbound message.  This means if an agent has sent a message out and a contact hasn’t responded in the time you set, the Automation will be triggered.  This can also start counting from system messages (Automation, Announcement, and Scheduled Messages).  Note: This condition will also trigger for any conversation that is greater than the time period you set.  This means that when you create an Automation using this condition, it will also apply to older conversations.

Has been resolved for

This option allows you to set the timer to count from when a conversation was resolved.  This means if a conversation has been resolved and not reopened in the time you set, the Automation will be triggered.

 

Use cases

We understand that the concept of Automations based on Timers can be a bit confusing, so we have a few use cases that every Textline customers could take advantage of.

Sending a reminder message to a contact that you are waiting on their response 3 days after the last outbound message

This use case helps you automatically ping a contact when you’re waiting on them to respond.  When used in conjunction with Contact tags (e.g. waiting_on_vendor) to prevent messaging a contact where you’re waiting on a part to fix their car, you can make sure that a contact’s conversation does not go forgotten.  This Automation setup could fire multiple times in a row though, so make sure to pair it with tags, so that it does not bombard the contact with messages:

Type: Timer

Timer Condition: waiting for a contact response for 3 days

Condition: Contact’s tags must not include Waiting_on_Vendor and followup_sent

Actions

    • Send a Message “Hi {{conact.name}}, We are still waiting to hear back from you on the above note.  Please make sure to get back to us so that we can help you better!”
    • Tag the contact with followup_sent

Resolving any conversation that hasn’t had an outbound message in 7 days

This is a great use case where you can clear our stale conversations.  When used in conjunction with Contact tags (e.g. VIP) to prevent the closing of sensitive conversations, you can ensure that your Conversation List is nice and trim:

Type: Timer

Timer Condition: waiting for a contact response for 7 days

Condition: Contact’s tags must not include VIP

Action: Resolve the conversation

You can even pair this Automation with the above Timer example for an automatic followup, to strip the followup tag:

Type: Timer

Timer Condition: waiting for a contact response for 7 days

Condition: Contact’s tags must not include VIP

Actions

    • Resolve the conversation
    • Remove the contact tag followup_sent

Sending a busy message when an agent hasn’t responded to a contact message in 30 minutes and it’s within business hours

This is a common message you will hear when waiting on hold on a telephone and it also applies to SMS! Think about adding tags to the contact so that you’re aware that they were on hold for quite a while (and perhaps work diligently to resolve it quickly):

Type: Timer

Timer Condition: waiting for an agent response for 30 minutes

Actions

    • Send a Message “Hi {{conact.name}}, We are a little busy at the moment, but one of our technicians will be right with you.  Thank you for being so patient!”
    • Tag the contact with waited_on_hold

Send a CSAT survey 3 days after closing a conversation

This is from the example above, but it is a great opportunity to send a survey after a contact has had some time to think about the conversation you had with them and to perhaps allow for a conversation to re-open if not quite fully finished.

Type: Timer

Timer Condition: conversation has been resolved for 3 days

Action: Send survey CSAT

 

We hope this article helps!  If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Textline support at +1 (415) 849-4349 or support@textline.com

Need more help?