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Improving email subject lines


#1

When a user submits a request via the portal, the email that gets send to them has subject line:

Information on Your Request {123456}

or

Update on Your Rquest {123456}

This is fairly un-helpful (especially if the user submits several requests).

In the Admin interface, this same request appears in the inbox with a subject that contains the first sentence(s) from the posted form.

Is there any way to provide a better default description in the email subject? I see that we can manually adjust the subject before we send an update, but it seems like this is going to be difficult to remember to do - plus, that doesn’t handle the initial email that goes out saying that we’ve received the request.

As a case in point, we’ve had a number of requests with UserScape as we’ve been getting our system going, and every one of them has a generic ‘Update on Your Request’ subject line (I have 5 of these in my inbox now, and I can’t possibly hope to know which one to look at without clicking on each one and reading the body content).

It seems like what I’m talking about isn’t really something that can be done using email templates (I was originally looking for some alternative to ##EMAIL_SUBJECT##). Any thoughts?

##EMAIL_SUBJECT##


#2

There is partially a way around this limitation. You could create a “title” custom field you display on the form. Then, modify the email template to use that custom field value rather than the email subject placeholder.

However, that will only change the initial email and not any follow ups. You’d have to use javascript or perhaps a database trigger (if you want to be fancy) to set this to the subject line in the request UI (that would be the HS_Request.sTitle column).


#3

So where is the description column (‘Initial Request’) that displays in the inbox coming from? It seems like that must be stored somewhere… Or is this some clever algorithm (I say clever b/c it’s smart enough to exclude the headings from the 3 question version of the request form)?

Was there a design decision made in the architecture to not have a summary line for each request? Just kind of curious about the evolution of the design (most other case management systems I’ve worked with have a Description field in addition to details). I guess the ‘Email Subject’ takes the place of that, in which case, getting it populated as early as possible in the process would be ideal…

Is there anything we could do with triggers to get this behavior (I’m not seeing a way to change the email subject without actually sending an email, and presumably, the client would have already received the Information On Your Request email…) I hesitate to come up with some external solution for this - how do other firms handle this?


#4

The initial request column is not stored, it’s created on the fly from the first 500 characters or so of the initial note. It does attempt to strip the 3 question headings, yes.

Yes, not having a subject is intentional. Subject lines tend to be of little value over time as they nearly always contain random short text like “printer broken” and “login”, etc. So we decided to not require the customer to go through creating such a summary by default and instead generate one. Most times the truly relevant info is in the categorization, tags, CF’s etc.

We do not intend the email subject to take the place of it. The email subject is referenced for emails and stores it for replies but isn’t intended to be a summary as a more traditional CRM would use a subject field.

The only way currently would be as above to create a custom field and then use a database trigger or very often running DB script to update the email subject column with the value of your custom field subject. As I said we don’t intend it as a general subject field and so there is no built in mechanism for it.

We’ve never actually had a request for the ability to set that outbound subject due to duplicative subject lines but it is a good point. It’s something we’ll definitely give some more consideration to.


#5

ok - good response. It wouldn’t make sense for me to try to work at cross-purposes to the design of the system. We’ll include the original request in the body of all of our email correspondence, and wait for a future enhancement that sets the default email subject a bit more elegantly.

Thanks.