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Video: Feb 16, 2023 Session: Unleash the Power of Autotask with Dustin Puryear’s Expert Office Hours

In this session, we answer your live Q&A about: Autotask Workflow Rules (WFRs) for auto-closing tickets; using Ticket Categories; New LiveReports; and mass updating Autotask Contracts.

Do you need assistance with a complex task in Autotask? Are you looking to enhance your reports or optimize your Workflow Rules? Look no further! Join Dustin Puryear, Autotask expert and founder of Giant Rocketship, for his weekly office hours. It’s a complimentary opportunity for you to pick the brain of an expert and get things done. All you need is your curiosity and a willingness to learn. So, don’t hesitate, sign up today!


00:08 Hello, everybody. My name is Dustin Peryer and welcome to my office hours. So I have been doing a lot of work with Autotask for many years, including being the founder of Giant Rockship. We offer an integration with Autotask to automate your dispatch, your escalation, and we provide macros and other abilities inside of Autotask.

00:33 And what we’re doing now is we’re offering the weekly office hours. I want to give you an agenda so you understand how this is going to work. So we’re dedicating 30 minutes per week for this process and it’s going to be open ended.

00:48 So ask whatever questions you want in the Q and A, and then I will tackle two to three of them every week. Just because of the way the time works, obviously I will not be able to address all questions.

01:00 And so just keep bringing your questions and over time, you will see how to solve these problems. One of the benefits here is after every office hour, you will get a copy of the video. So by all means, take notes, ask questions, but you will get a link to the video.

01:16 You can watch it again, share it with your team. We’ll also make sure we post this to YouTube. So what I would like to do now is move into the question and answer phase. Because we only have 30 minutes, we want to go through as much as possible.

01:35 And I will also share my screen. And one of the benefits here is going to be you’re going to see how this works. So let me make sure I am sharing my screen properly. So if somebody in the Q and A can just say, yes, I can in fact see your screen, I’d really appreciate it.

02:01 And let’s see here. Okay. I think I’m going to move this move this way. You can see it’s on a bigger screen. There we go. Okay, great. Yes. Thank you. Everybody can see my screen. It’s awesome. I just reshared it.

02:40 If I did the normal thing where I reshared it and then nobody can see it, let me know ASAP. All right, let me go with these questions. There’s a really good one about how you manually update your prices.

02:59 Okay. There’s actually a good amount of questions. Okay. So let me type these up, and then I will tackle these as I can go through each one. Okay. So this one actually just came in via DM. I know you could do that with this tool.

03:26 So sent a Q and A, but okay, cool. So a couple of questions about CRM and mailing list functionality. That’s really good. I think I’m going to tackle that one today and set priority of high. Okay, that’s cool trick.

03:42 So let’s tackle a couple of them. All right. Some of these are, like, very broad questions, and some are very in the trenches, so I’ll kind of escalate between the two. The first one that is going to be coming up here is let’s see.

03:55 Let’s do a workflow question, just because those are really interesting. It’s going to help you really get the most out of Autotask. So somebody is looking for an example of a workflow that closes a ticket if a customer doesn’t respond.

04:12 Actually, I just wrote a blog on this. So what we’re going to do here is I’m going to walk you through the right way and the wrong way to do this because there is, in fact a wrong way. So when you want to auto close a ticket with the customer, you have to generally give them a warning you’re going to do it because really the auto close, the purpose of the auto close is twofold.

04:36 One. Keep your KPI clean. Don’t be held accountable for something outside of your control. And then the second thing is prompting people to action. So you have to warn them. Otherwise you’re really just keeping your board clean and they’re going to reopen the ticket.

04:50 So let’s take a look at how I would do this. And so if you have a ticket, what we’re going to do is first we are going to look at features and settings. And this is important because you’re going to have certain ticket statuses dedicated to this.

05:06 And so this is my test tenant and I have a ticket status called pending Autocodes. And so, again, there’s actually a blog article. I think I did this last week or the week before. You want special statuses for that.

05:20 And by the way, you can make it where people can’t access these statuses manually or by hand so you don’t have a tech accidentally clicking on this status. That’s what ticket categories are for. Go edit your ticket categories because it really gives you the ability to control what people can do for each ticket.

05:36 But you’re going to want to create a status called pending auto close. And I’m going to show you the workflow here. Whenever you have a pending auto close, that means it’s kicked over from some waiting status into the pending auto close and it’s going give them a day.

05:53 Now what you want to can you show us your ticket categories? Sure, if I can get the opportunity to do that. So what you want to do is you want to create a notification template that says, customer, we’re auto closing your ticket.

06:05 We’ve been waiting for you for three, five days, man. We don’t want to wait anymore. You have 24 hours to respond and engage with us or we’re going to close the ticket. Some people feel this is very heavy handed.

06:18 Too bad. Like, that is how you have to control your help desk. The struggle, and I guess I’m going to take a step back here is a lot of people let tickets linger. They just kind of sit around in the queues and they’re like, hey, look, let’s just keep calling the customer.

06:32 The problem is you’re training your staff to ignore or the age of tickets. When you do that, that’s bad. You don’t want to do that. You should get anxiety at night if you go to sleep and there’s tickets older than three to five days and your help destroyed a lot of particularly smaller Ms cruising, be like, well, that’s normal.

06:50 That is not normal. It’s not. That’s like saying it’s normal to have two week old meat in the fridge. It’s not normal. You’re just used to thinking, meat in the fridge. Don’t do that. And so you have to train your customers how to respond properly to you and think about your relationship with your vendors.

07:06 They don’t let you do that, right? And they don’t let you do that because there’s no way for them to control their numbers otherwise. And so what you want to do is you want to create a notification template, be a little start up, but you don’t be mean to say, look, we’re closing this.

07:18 We’ve been waiting for X days. You got 24 hours respond. And so we’re going to use that. We’re going to go into a ticket workflow to forgive me, but workflows take a couple of seconds to open up and that ticket workflow is going to use a very important status, which is how long has the ticket been in a status condition?

07:40 Right? So I think auto close. Yes, I do have this all queued up. All right, so notice that this is the name of it. It’s the trigger. The event is it’s been sitting in the status for this long, right?

07:58 And that’s a very important one, because you can’t just use idle. There is a condition here that lets you wait, lets you see how long it takes. Just been sitting there. But the problem is, let’s say you have some automation or you go put notes on a ticket while it’s in waiting status, then it’s going to delay the auto close.

08:16 You don’t want that. You want to use the current status form. This lets you go do whatever you want to do. The ticket just don’t have the status. So once it’s in waiting, then it will trigger after three business days.

08:28 Do not use calendar days for this. You will get very upset customers because they’re going to open ticket Friday morning and then it’s going to auto close Sunday, Monday morning, right? You don’t want that business days.

08:39 And then always control or filter which tickets are apply or part of the audience for this workflow rule. And so status equal to best practice at how the webinar and there’s a recording on the website.

08:58 Never have a workflow rule that doesn’t have a status as a condition. Never. And if you have to satisfy that need, status not equal to complete. That’s your defense. Because one day you’re going to go mass update tickets and then your customers will be like, why am I getting these automatic emails from your Autotask for a ticket you closed five years ago?

09:21 Right? Never let a workflow rule go uncontrolled. Always have a status in the condition. And if you don’t know what it should be, then it should be not equal complete. Okay? So it’s not time sensitive.

09:33 This is business. This is your internal hours and it knows what we do here. We’re going to flip the ticket into pending autoclose. And this is from the blog. I also have a UDF I created that is called the autoclose status.

09:50 So you can create reports showing you which customers calls your staff the most frustration. If you create a report that says show me all tickets in the past 30 days where auto close status is equal to warrant, then you instantly know you can.

10:07 Quickly create an Excel spreadsheet with a pivot table or a graph that says, here’s my top three clients that constantly make us wait to get responses. I need my account manager to go talk to them. So that’s what a UDF is for here.

10:22 And then what we’re going to do here is we are going to kick over this notification template. I didn’t create one, but you would select, let’s see, don’t have one. Let’s just act like this is it. This would be the email that would go to them and say, hey, look, customer, we’re autocad 24 hours.

10:43 Now, this isn’t sufficient, right? This puts it into the waiting status and let’s see if I need to create that or not. Oh, notice we need to pair this up. And so then the next workflow rule you would create would be and I like to name my thing something consistent.

10:59 Auto close pending close to complete. What’s nice is if you come up with some consistent naming, it doesn’t have to be perfect, but you can just start searching, hey, what’s my auto close rules, right?

11:12 And then here you got it. I’m going to wait one business day for my ticket status equals pending close. And then when this happens, you would go ahead and update this to complete. And then a notification.

11:32 You would kick out your normal complete ticket notification that includes whatever the resolution is. Now, here’s one of the tricks. When you are kicking something into the status, I’m going to show you an even cooler trick.

11:47 Document what’s happening here inside the ticket and you can make it where if they have access to your portal, they can see why this ticket was auto closed. So what I’m doing here, in this original rule, is published to all add to the resolution auto closing ticket due to non.

12:06 Response. You cannot get better in your ticket note. In your resolution, this ticket was auto closed because of right. So customer waited. We auto notified them. And this is beautiful because this will go out in the email when it closes.

12:25 And it’s a notification of, hey, we resolved your ticket. Here it is, the resolution. We auto close it. You never respond on it to us. It’s in the ticket. Notes can’t be disputed. Logs of time inside the ticket really uses this option.

12:38 Almost nobody actually uses this. And I don’t know why. Probably just not aware of it. But you can create ticket notes. Former workflow rules is great for documenting stuff. Sometimes you just want it to be internal.

12:48 This is how we do it. Look goes into resolution. That’s a beautiful ticket and that’s a beautiful outcome for that process. Okay, document fast only because we only have so much time. I hope you found that helpful.

13:02 Let’s see. Can’t you show us your stories? Okay. I promise I would go from in the trenches technical to more business. Let’s do that. Reminder, this is every week. So you almost definitely am not going to get your questions answered today just because there’s more questions than time.

13:21 That’s okay. I will be here every single week because I actually really enjoy doing this stuff. So let’s look at ticket categories. Now this is my test dev tenant that we use whenever we’re testing out rocket ship.

13:34 But let’s go through ticket categories. It comes with the default. This is pretty lame. This is not what you want, really. The ticket categories you’re typically going to have are your help desk. You’re going to have a ticket category for help.

13:47 Help desk. Here’s the minimum. Three you want or really? Four you want one for help desk. You want one for your alerts. You want one for recurring tickets, your little knock tickets. And you want one for your sales and sales engineering tickets.

14:06 And the beauty of ticket categories is it constrains your team on what they can, cannot see and do. This is why it’s important to understand why you’re going to break this up. You’re going to create a category called Helpdesk.

14:22 Right? And so we’re going to leave all this by the way, I’m going on tangents here. I do not like the quick time entry. The problem is it creates time entries without using the work type. If you use a work type, let’s say you have your role set up and use work types for remote on site travel time, whatever.

14:47 Disable this and it just takes it away from them. Also not a fan of text click and complete on a ticket. It lets them bypass putting resolutions. Then that’s insane. Turn that off. Right? And then here the real power here is you can control what status they see.

15:07 For example, in a holiday commitment, you should have a ticket to see process. So tech should not be able to complete tickets. That’s a no no. A tech should send a ticket to a quality control status.

15:21 Call it quality control, like keep it simple. And the benefit of that, you can even auto close it from there, it’s okay. But the benefit of that is, one, you ensure they put a resolution in. Two, what a great place for your service manager to verify all the charges are billed.

15:39 We’re not missing any parts. We have all of our labor on there correctly. Instead of them having to constantly scan tickets and looking through all million reports, they should just look at status where the status is equal to quality control.

15:53 And then whenever they’re done with that, have a speed code or something that sends up the next phase which auto closes. That’s how I do it. And so but what? What I’m going to show you here is like, you can remove the ability you can’t see complete anymore.

16:08 For example, or maybe in help desk, you have certain statuses specific to your alerts. Take them out, right? Don’t let your tech see those. And then when you do that, man, you have so much power here.

16:23 You completely control the whole billing cycle. And what your staff sees all those times, your staff is always entering the wrong information. And it’s so frustrating because you have to go correct their labor charges and they didn’t do this.

16:38 And why are they clicking that button? Ticket category solve that problem. Ticket default must be for the ticket type. Okay, I don’t feel like going through all that, but that’s how I would do it. And I would fine tune it.

16:50 I would have one for help desk, I would have one for alerts, and then I would have one for sales engineering, which is its own universe, usually a non billable activity and one for recurring tickets.

17:02 And the reason is, generally recurring tickets are going to be non billable. Sometimes help desk tickets are so you can really fine tune how people work recurring tickets. By the way, quick sales item rocket ship does come with a much superior recurring ticket engine than Autotask.

17:18 It’s easy. You just set it up and you point it at some CRM searches that we build out, and you can build out for it, and then you let it run. It creates the tickets the day that they should be created, not beforehand.

17:32 And as you add and lose customers, it adapts to it. You don’t ever have to go edit them again. It’s just automatic. All right, so I have wow, time goes quick and this is exciting. Let us see questions still coming in.

17:46 By all means, keep asking. We are working on a price increase. That is a good one. Okay, so here’s the question. We have two questions. One, we are working on a price increase. Across the entire customer base and oh, I see.

18:06 That’s the second one. And it seems that it’s a very manual process. It is kind of manual process. Right there is. I met this guy, he’s great. He’s out of some Scandinavian companies. Not Finland or Norway.

18:20 I think it was Denmark. He owns a company and they integrate with Autotask. And they automate a lot of, like, bulk adjustments that you would make into Autotask. And it’s an interesting model. So, look, rocket ship is per user per month.

18:37 Nobody likes that model. It’s okay. This guy doesn’t use that model. He’s like a per operation. He says, look, if you need to go update 17 contracts, I’m going to bill you for those 17 operations. Won’t bill you next month.

18:50 You need me next month, come use the product, I’m going to bill you for those operations. It’s a very pay exactly for the time you need from his software, I forget the name. I’ll have to find it. I’ve seen this same question of Facebook groups before, but that’s how I would do it.

19:08 I would use that software. I’m positive. They are on the partner page for data. If you can’t find them, just email me on the website and say, dustin, you promise you’d find the company for me, but you can automate contract updates.

19:23 His software does all that, does bulk updates. The contracts and billing. It will solve it for you. I hope that helped. Even though it was super vague. Nothing to your second question. Ask that next week.

19:37 And real quick, live reports. Let’s do live reports. And Matt? Yeah, just email me afterwards. Honestly, I’m happy just to log in, screen, share, and do it for free. Like, not the full setup. So one of the people asking me, hey, can we bring you in to help us set up Autotask?

19:57 Look, I love this stuff. It’s fun. So I can’t give you my whole life. But man, you invite me with the virtual coffee and I’ll spend 30 minutes screen sharing and walking through your Autotask. Give you my suggestions and what I’ve seen works and doesn’t work.

20:13 And we’ve seen a lot of Autotask installed and happy to help you with that. And if we can’t solve it for you, we’ll point you where you need to be. Yeah, smuggle me. Let’s be nice to each other. So live reports.

20:31 Let’s talk about live reports. Live reports is so powerful and people really struggle with it. The thing you got to know, there’s a question here about live reports. I’m going to tangent off of that and talk about time entries because I just wrote a blog on that.

20:48 People struggle with live reports. I’m going to show you why. And once you get it, you get it. So Live reports wants you to create or define a primary category or entity that it reports off of. And the second you pick that category, your universe collapses like Schroder’s report into just that category.

21:12 And what’s related to that category, that’s the key thing to understand. And it makes sense, right? So CRM is connected to everything, but configuration items aren’t connected to everything. And so if you choose configuration items at the core of your report, then that doesn’t apply.

21:28 You can go report on everything else because how do you connect configuration items that’s not connected to it. And so that’s the key thing to understand. I’m going to show you real quick how to do a quick live report because they will change your life.

21:45 Autotask actually comes with a lot of reports out of the box. And one thing people don’t realize is you can steal their beautiful ideas. See all these system reports? Notice you can’t edit them. What they want you to do is clone them.

21:59 Don’t clone the reports. Tweak them for yourself. We’re going to create one from hand, but not as intense. I see people trying to create reports, asking for help. And I look and I’m like, dude, there’s literally a report for it right now.

22:14 There’s just a copy that clone that report and fine tune it. You don’t have to create reports by hand. That said, we’re going to do it. So I’m going to duplicate how I did this time entry report so that you can really see how to do live reports.

22:28 And so again, the main thing is you got to understand the categories. People, if they want to do time entries, what do they think service does? Oh, my tickets. And then I go look at my work entries and then they find out they’re missing all kind of data.

22:43 They can’t figure out. No, time entries are not necessarily related to tickets. Take an example of what if you have a PTO that’s effectively a time entry, right? It’s a time entry for that day, but it’s not associated with one of your customers.

23:01 It’s a block of time. Has nothing to do with service test. So that’s why I’m saying you have to pull yourself out of this fixation. We all have some service tests. Everybody goes here to create reports is incorrect.

23:12 Now, I don’t like their naming this Profitability. You can actually access the same data elsewhere. I like profitability because it’s like the big bucket of data. And so what you do is you create your primary category, time entries or revenue cost items, right.

23:28 If you have somebody working for 2 hours, that’s a cost item. And so I’m going to relate it to my account and then got to get real cozy with work entries. And there’s cozy with, what is it, billing? Billing codes.

23:47 Billing codes is how you fine tune these things. Sort by we’re not going to worry about, oh, this is important. Remember that your text. Can choose when they put dates on their work entries. So you can either sort by that or like so if you click over to work entry, which is the time entry map to that cost item, then what you can do is you can select either when the tech created the entry.

24:17 But keep in mind I might be on site somewhere. It might be Friday day and I’m backdating my time to yesterday to Thursday. Thursday. So let’s say I’m on site, I came back today, I’m backdating my work to yesterday.

24:32 So don’t choose create date time, choose work date. That gives you more accurate numbers for the work of a month. It’s not create because you can backdate work right, which is normal and filter by. I’m going to show you the other trick, which is work date the between.

24:54 So you want to do it between, right? I don’t want to see everything. Use my function. Show me everything from today -30 days. I’m getting a 30 day window. To today. And every time I write the report, have me updated, defaulted to the past 30 days, but give me the ability to change it.

25:15 I don’t actually usually care for this. I usually do it by hand. We’ve got three minutes. But you see where I’m going with this. Then you’re going to dump your fields in here and you’re going to print it out.

25:26 I have stopped creating footers and summations at the end of my reports and Autotask. Here’s why man dump it out as a grid view and run pivot tables on that puppy. Like you cannot beat Excel for making data easy to work with.

25:45 Ultimately, this is a very powerful tool. It’s very crystal reports like. But honestly, I just like getting really good data here. And then pumping it out. So I can use an Excel and you can’t export directly as an Excel file just because you cannot beat pivot tables or pivot graphs.

26:01 They’re just incredible. The benefit of this is you don’t have to update a spreadsheet with new data. You can delegate via the publishing feature of live reports to other people. And so, heads up. I’ll dig more into this in the future ones.

26:14 Remember, we have once a week. We have plenty of these. So we’re going to do some deep dives here. Let’s see. This is a good one. I’m going to jump on this one, and I’m going to circle back is the waiting.

26:27 What happens when you have a ticket waiting and then it goes orphan, right? Waiting for 50 years now in rocket ship. Just a heads up, we do have a tool that if the ticket is waiting for too long or the tech doesn’t update it after they’ve worked it, it will slam it over to the service manager.

26:46 It just does it automatically. But if you’re doing it manually, that’s workflow rules. In fact, I just showed it to you so you would have a workflow rule that’s waiting parts orphan or idle. And then what’s the most you’re willing to wait on parts before somebody has to update the ticket and set it back?

27:03 Waiting parts with their notes. I would say seven days for waiting parts, right? You got to wait for shipment. Have it wait for seven calendar days. Not business days, because that’s nine calendar days, but seven days or one week.

27:18 And then it should change status to some kind of notification help me status. It could be like that needs help or alert. Alert status with some status your service coordinator looks at every day and tack it.

27:34 And that’s how I would handle these rating ticket statuses. Alright, so we are out of time again. I’m going to end this. We will be back here same time, same place. Next week you will get a copy of this.

27:48 Thank you for the little claps. It’s very cool. You will get a copy of this via email. If you don’t get one, email me. I may have set this up wrong. This is my first one and I am talking fast because I try to cram information to these.

28:00 Alright, see you guys next week. Thank you.


In this webinar, Dustin Puryear, Autotask expert and MSP industry veteran, will show you how to set up Kanban boards in Autotask, integrate them with your workflow rules, and how to get the most out of them.

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