Scheduling reminders about anything using Virtual Attendants
We've had many requests for the ability to leave previously read notifications open as a crude reminder. Reminders are necessary, but notifications should remain disposable so workers click on them when they pop up, instead of becoming desensitized to their novelty by always leaving a few open.
Mail conversations have had the ability for quite some time to enter a 'waiting for reply' status until a specific future date (usually with an accompanying comment about what to do when it is revived). If you mark a conversation as 'waiting until Monday' on a Friday then it serves as a reminder; however, this functionality is limited to mail when it would also be useful for records like tasks, calls, and opportunities. It also requires conversations to be returned to 'open' status to serve as the reminder, which grabs the attention of all the watchers or group members instead of reminding a specific worker to do something.
Tasks have also filled in for reminders in earlier versions; but without reminders about those tasks themselves you have to remember to look at your tasks all the time, and they have no way of getting your attention if you aren't logged in. On some tasks you may want multiple reminders before the due date, and on others you may not want any. Some tasks may be important enough you want an SMS reminder to your mobile phone -- but not about everything.
Scheduled behavior in Virtual Attendants provides an elegant solution to these requirements. You can instruct your Virtual Attendant how and when you want to be reminded about anything, and you can make these decisions for each individual record.
In this example we're going to create a reusable behavior that sends a notification reminder about tasks at a future date. The knowledge you gain from this tutorial can be applied to countless situations.
NOTE: This functionality requires Cerb5 version 5.5 or later.
Building reminder behavior using Virtual Attendants
Creating custom behavior
The first thing we want to do is to create a custom task behavior that generates a notification as the only action. At this point we're not concerned about a specific task or particular time to be notified. Once we're done we'll be able to use this custom behavior for any task and schedule it to take place at any time.
Open your personal Virtual Attendant by clicking on your name in the top right of the page and selecting Virtual Attendant from the menu.
Click on the Create Behavior button. Enter the following details and click the Save Changes button.
Click on the new event node and select Add Actions from the menu. Enter the following details and click the Save Changes button. Be sure to choose yourself in the "Notify:" section.
Scheduling a reminder
Now that you have a custom behavior that creates a task notification, let's take a look at the two most common places where you'll want to use it.
When viewing a task
Click the Virtual Attendant button when viewing a task page and select the new Task reminder behavior.
Specify when you want to schedule your reminder and then click the OK button.
If you schedule a reminder for "now" then it will run immediately. Otherwise you will see a new entry in the Scheduled behavior section, like so:
From bulk update on a task worklist
You can also schedule behavior from bulk update.
- Select your desired tasks in a worklist, or leave nothing selected to select all the tasks.
- Click the bulk update button at the bottom of the worklist.
- Choose your reminder custom behavior in Behavior, and schedule the behavior in When.
- Click the Save Changes button.
Scheduled behavior that is initiated from bulk update will run in a background queue to reduce the impact on performance. For this reason, it may take a few minutes for your changes to take effect if they are applied to a long worklist.
Where to go from here
You can use our Twilio or Clickatell plugins to send reminders directly to your mobile devices through SMS. This is useful for high priority reminders -- like important phone calls that must take place at a specific time. You can create multiple custom behaviors with different methods of getting your attention and then schedule the most appropriate one.
Task due date escalation
You can create custom behavior to notify you once per day leading up to a task's due date -- perhaps with notifications only starting three days prior to the final due date. If the due date is reached without the task being marked as completed then you can escalated to a higher priority reminder like an SMS message. This is easy to do if you have custom behavior reschedule itself with a time like "tomorrow 8am". You can add conditions to the custom behavior to check if the task is completed already, and if the due date has elapsed.