Setting up workflow notifications

Updated on 20-October-2016 at 10:16 AM

Business Catalyst End of life announcement - find out more details.

As a part of managing your website, set up rules to be notified by email or SMS message when certain events occur. For example, when a client submits an online booking form, you can receive a notification. These rules are known as workflows. A workflow consists of one or more steps triggered by an event.

Workflows can also be configured as a reminder system with escalation rules to ensure that important work items are completed.

The basics of creating a workflow

  1. Select Site Settings > Manage Workflows and then click New Workflow.
  2. Enter a workflow name and click Save.

Note: If your site plan includes an online shop, the Orders checkbox allows you to use this workflow for any new customer orders.

Adding steps to a workflow

  1. Select Site Settings > Manage Workflows and then click the name of a workflow.

  2. Select Add Steps to this Workflow.
  3. Enter the properties of the workflow step and click Save Step.

    For details, see the tool tips next to the options.

    Note: A Role is a logical grouping of users with certain permissions. See Manage user roles .

  4. Click New Step to create more workflow steps.

Associating a workflow to an event

To trigger a workflow when somebody submits a form:

  1. Open the form settings by selecting Site Manager > Web Forms and clicking the name of the form.
  2. Click the Edit Properties button.
  3. Select the workflow from the Use Workflow menu.
  4. Click Save.

Launch different workflows based on the enquiry type

Every web form you create can be configured to use a workflow. A workflow is a business process that is launched when the web form is submitted. For example if you are a Cleaning Company and a customer fills in your Get-a-Quote web form, you may want to notify the service department via SMS and Email, and also notify management by email. You may also want to escalate this to management should the enquiry not be completed in a timely manner. This is a typical workflow that you would attach to this web form. Keep in mind that workflows are completely customizable.

Now imagine the same cleaning company growing to great heights where now they have 100s of franchisees. It becomes unrealistic for all enquiries made from the same Get-a-Quote web form to be sent to the service department at the head office. It makes much more sense to send enquiries to the relevant franchisees depending on where the customer is located and which franchisee services that location.

Implementing this type of functionality is relatively easy and will significantly improve the way your business operates. To get started:

  • Create a number of Workflows via Admin -> Manage Workflows. Each workflow should notify the relevant staff at each franchisee. Each workflow may also include a step to notify the head office.
  • Write down the system ID of each workflow (this is displayed in the blue bar when creating or editing a workflow)
  • Go to the web page that contains a web form that you wish to implement this functionality for
  • View the source of the web form and add the following code to your web form:
<select name="WorkflowList"><br /><option value=ID1>Workflow 1 Name</option> 
<option value=ID2>Workflow 2 Name</option>
<option value=ID3>Workflow 3 Name</option>

In this example you would replace Workflow 1 Name and alike to the locations services by franchisees. ID1 through to ID3 must be replaced with the system ID that you collected earlier:

<select name="WorkflowList"><br /><option value=123>City Center</option> <br /><option value=124>City North</option> <br /><option value=125>City South</option> 

In the above implementation when a customer fills in a web form, they will also be presented with a drop down that will ask them to choose where they are located. When the web form is submitted depending on the location the customer chose, the relevant workflow will be launched. This will only notify the franchisee that services that location.

Customize the content of workflow emails

To customize content of the emails triggered by a workflow, see customizing system emails .


Creating an approval mechanism using workflows

For a better understanding of the utility of workflows, let's assume that on your website, you can allow users to submit files to be reviewed for, let's say, a credit card approval.

The customer will submit the files through a form. Once the case is created, someone in your staff will start some administrative tasks regarding the crm entry (gather bank history, etc), without having any impact on the approval process itself. An initial reviewer will analyze the request, and if passed, will submit it to the final reviewer in charge of establishing the credit limit. It would be great to automatically notify the customer that his request is at the final approving stage. Once the credit limit is set, the workflow completes, the customer being notified that his request has been approved.

This is easily carried out with Business Catalyst. It would assume a 3-step workflow, where the first task auto advances to the 2nd (possibly after a pre-set period of time), the last 2 steps requiring approval in order to advance (complete). For step #2 and #3, "Send message to customer" can be configured.

  1. Make sure you build the user roles for each step in the workflow (Administrative, Level 1 Approval, Level2 (final) Approval )
  2. Go to Admin > Site Settings > Manage Workflwos and create a new webform, assigning 3 steps to it:
    1. Configure Step#1 to auto advance after a determined period of time
    2. Configure Step#2 to "Require approval". Configure the message to customer, notifying him that the request is submitted to the final approval
    3. Configure Step#3 to "Require approval". Configure the message to customer, notifying him that the request is approved.
  3. Create a webform, assign the above workflow to it, place it on a page.

Note You can actually add as many steps as necesarry in such a workflow.
Some can auto-advance after a specified period of time, some seamlessly, some only after approval.
The User responsible for a specific step can decide that the workflow needs to return to the previous step. In that case, he just assigns the case to the respective user, without approving the task, leaving a note in the assignment.