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Video: March 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: Our new list of industry Autotask consultants in our Community area on; automating New User Welcome emails via Autotask workflow rules; understanding the limitations of CRM vs ticket workflow rules.

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. This is Dustin. Thanks for joining my weekly office hours. And so as a reminder, I’m going to be remiss. I have been instructed to always have something on my screen. Let me share this real quick.

00:24 And so quick reminder. This is every Thursday, unless I’m on vacation, but every Thursday. And I will be providing office hours to talk about Autotask. Every Thursday, 10:00 a.m central. And so I have a couple of things on my agenda for today.

00:44 And as always, I like to make sure that I am technically set up. So if you can just make sure that you let me know you can see my screen and that you can hear me. That way I’m sure that everybody is ready to rock and roll.

01:00 That said, I have a couple of things I want to be going over today. I picked these up on Reddit and Facebook and I thought it would be good to go over them live. What I typically will do whenever I see a Facebook or a Reddit post is I’ll write like an extensive blog.

01:18 I always try to give back to community. So I’ll give an answer in Facebook or on Reddit and then I’ll link to a blog that provides a much more extensive how to. That way you can always kind of make a decision whether or not you want to click the link or not.

01:32 But also what I’ve decided is those are really good forms where I can just do things live. I can write the blog later, and then this way everybody gets really quick answers to their questions. But of course, always feel free to pose your questions in the Q and A.

01:47 So again, Dustin Perry or giant rocket ship? Let’s get this puppy going. Real quick. Notes and let me show it to everybody. And I just stopped sharing my screen on purpose because I’m flipping around.

02:05 But what I want to show everybody is that we do have a new community resource, and I always ask for support. So we’ve kind of consolidated. We had a bunch of links here that were community related, and one of these new links is going to be Autotask consultants.

02:25 So if you have somebody that you think needs to be on this list, let me know. You can see it’s already growing. In fact, there were consultants out there I wasn’t even aware of, and the only requirements are they have some type of specialty with Autotask consulting.

02:42 Maybe they’re certified, maybe not. Not everybody’s certified. And there’s still some pros out there. Better thing is make sure that they have something dedicated to the service. It can’t just be a generic website.

02:51 It needs to be clear so that when I see it, it’s obvious to me that they are a consultant. All right, great. So this is what that looks like. Again, you just go to our website and while I’m here, just a heads up.

03:04 As we build this out, there’s a ton. For example, instead of having to hop around, what we do is we actually dedicate somebody internally. They have a little KPI, in fact, and then they have to keep abreast of events.

03:20 And so this is a really good way to see what’s going on. And in fact, there’s some really cool events. If you’re not going to MSP. Con Geekcon, you should definitely get some tickets that’s coming up in just a few months.

03:31 Okay, let’s see here. It’s all I want to go over on that. Oh, and of course our blog. So just a heads up, I’ve been kind of focused on this. I’m going to break down to blogging, but we have a very extensive blog on Autotask probably I would argue they’re probably the most extensive blog out there on how to do things in Autotask.

03:51 Okay, cool. So let’s move forward here. So a couple of things that I want to tackle. This is done is there was a great question of how do you send out emails to new. Contacts in Autotask when they’re a new user.

04:10 And so a lot of MSPs do not actually do this, but you should, which is every time you have a new end user that you support, you should send them an automatic email that’s just an introduction to you and who you are, that services you provide and how to contact you.

04:33 It’s kind of a no brainer, but most people don’t do it and they’re just not quite sure how they’re confused. Do they integrate with mailchimp? Do they have a PowerShell script going on the background?

04:44 What do they do? And so Autotask actually can make this really easy on you. So go to admin. Well, let me back up. So what we’re going to do, we’re going to use a notification template and a workflow rule to automate this so that whenever you set up a new user, they automatically get the email.

05:00 And I’m going to kind of walk you through the right way and the wrong way to do this. And so what we’re going to do is we’re going to go to our notification templates and we’re going to pause and ponder.

05:14 And what we’re going to do there is we’re going to go to service test. Now the struggle we’re going to have is the workflow rule engine for tickets and Autotask. Very powerful, the ones for CRM contract projects prelimited.

05:27 And so you may think, okay, well I want to create a workflow rule for new contacts but you cannot actually do that. That’s not an option for you. And so we have to resort to the service desk, which is fine, totally, we can do it there.

05:43 So the trick is create a notification template that says, hey, this is, we are your It provider. This is what it’s going to look like. This is the domain you’re going to get emails from and we set up your account.

05:58 And so let me mute my phone. I’m getting texted here. And so we’re going to create that template and then we’re going to trigger the workflow rule. Now what you don’t want to do is you don’t want to trigger the workflow role on a new ticket because if you have a new ticket for a new user, they probably don’t have an email.

06:14 So who are you going to email? Right? You have to think through what these workflow roles are going to do. Let’s create this new template, new user, welcome email, right? And so we’re not going to associate it with any of these events.

06:33 Whenever you click these trigger, whenever you do a certain event, like if you do a time entry, it would automatically trigger this. We don’t want that. And so email subject is welcome. We’re not going to write like an extensive one.

06:49 We’re going to keep it short. Welcome and should be filtering. But it’s not interesting. That’s a bug in Autotask. So let’s just say welcome and then we’re going to say welcome. Boom. Something’s going on with their notification template editor.

07:20 That’s fine. Let’s figure out if we can remember how to do it. Yeah, look at this. Interesting. There’s something crazy. Oh, it’s still loading. Okay, but I think you guys get what I’m trying to do here.

07:35 Let’s see if we can do it. Okay, now it’s working. New user, welcome email. All hello. This works. And hello. Name. Welcome to service by my MSP, right? And then you whatever and I put link that’s incorrect.

08:07 It would be name blah blah. And then you do your whole welcome text preferably in HTML. And the best way to do that generally is to use HTML email editor and then just copy and paste. And you can do that by am switching over here, dumping the source of the HTML and then going and tweaking it from there.

08:33 So let’s go ahead and save that. Now, the trick here is when you notify somebody that they’re a new user, you should do it exactly once because you can only be new once, right? And so the way you track state the state of something is through UDFs.

08:52 And so what we’re going to do here is we’re going to go create a UDF specific to this task and that’s generally what it’s going to look like. You will create UDFs that are specific to workflows or a specific process and they let you have up to 255 UDFs per.

09:08 And so let’s do this, let’s call this workflow role. Let’s just start naming things a little bit more clearly, right? So workflow role, new user, welcome and always single select. And then we want to put yes.

09:34 Now as we work through this, think about the other problem you’re going to have. How do you make sure it doesn’t email your existing contacts? And I hadn’t actually thought about that until just now.

09:44 And so we’re going to work through that and I think that’s going to be an experience for everybody of figuring out how should these things happen. But notice the naming. These are defaults that came with the Autotask that I have.

09:55 But naming is always important. But. Because sometimes UDFs are managed by people. And if you have a UDF specific to workflow rule, just code it as a workflow rule. That way people don’t edit that on accident.

10:08 Okay? So the next thing that we want to do is we have that flag is let’s create a service desk workflow rule and send out new user welcome email. It I’m in the wrong thing. And so we want to go here and then we want to click new workflow role and then again with the goal of sending that new welcome email to people.

10:33 So send new user welcome email. So let’s think through the logic of how this is going to work. So if it’s service desk workflow role, then we want to trigger when that new user is being created, right?

10:52 And we don’t want this email to go out when the ticket is first created because they don’t have an email address. So that means we only want to send the email at the end of the new ticket, of the new user ticket.

11:06 Correct. And it also requires something else, and this is very common, which is new user tickets. Typically you’re going to be assigned to the primary contact of the new user. Termination tickets will be assigned to the ticket contact of the h or manager.

11:22 Obviously never put the employee being terminated as a contact on a ticket, but it’s very logical to make the ticket contact, the primary contact on a new user ticket because that lets you track everything back to when you first created them.

11:41 Right? And so what we’re going to do now is that means that we don’t want to do it when it’s created, only when it’s edited and when the status changes to. Complete. What I’m doing here. One of my previous webinars that was exclusively on workflow rules was very clear.

12:07 If you have a workflow rule that doesn’t have the status in there, you’re taking a huge risk. Every workflow rule, even if it doesn’t touch the status, should have a status filter. And the most common status filter is not complete.

12:21 That way, if you make a mass change to tickets, it won’t retrigger all those workflow rules on accident, on closed tickets. Okay, so the next thing we want to do is we want to make sure we only send this to contacts that haven’t gotten this email before.

12:38 Right? Not equal to yes. Now, why do I do not equal to and I’ve mentioned this several times before. Let me see where we are on questions. You cannot guarantee that this value will be set. It could be yes, no or null.

12:59 Right? Empty. And so if you say, so long as the new user welcome done. UDF is equal to no. But in fact, right now in your database, 99.9% of your contacts are going to have it set to null or empty, right.

13:14 So rarely will you ever say equal to no. Almost always you will say not equal to yes. So let’s go and do it. And whenever this email goes out, what do we want to happen? We want to flag this person as contacted right now.

13:29 What would be nice is if I could know how to use a mouse. I’m going to click this and we’re going to flag it as yes. So now we change it from either no to yes or to null or empty to yes. We still have more work to do, but let’s come back here and we want to send it not to ticket creator to the primary contact.

13:57 Ticket contact. There it is. Sometimes I just can’t find these things. All right, so next we want to send it usually from your support email address. And we want that new user welcome email. Let’s see how nice it is.

14:10 So at this point, it will send it automatically to that new contact. The struggle you’re going to have here is this is going to break against your existing contacts because it’s going to set only start sending these welcome emails to all of your existing contacts that you’ve been working with for years.

14:28 Probably going to confuse them, right? And so this is where process becomes important. Maybe you narrow this down where it’s only and I don’t have that sub issue here, but we’re going to act like I do, maybe it only applies to a ticket of type new user set up, right?

14:48 And so here, let’s just call this onboarding activate. And so it would only apply to an onboarding activate or new user set up ticket, right? And so this really protects all of your other users or your other contacts from getting this.

15:05 And that’s it. That is literally it. At this point, you do not have to integrate with the mailing list. You don’t have to integrate mailchimp or HubSpot or do powershell or anything else. This is sufficient to send welcome emails automatically every time you set up a new user.

15:22 Boom. Done. Okay, so another question that was asked, and I think by the way, next week we’re going to focus on some billing rules because we’ve been kind of harping on workflow rules, but really workflow rules is how you automate things and Autotask it’s.

15:40 Where all the juices? So showing which tickets are in progress. Okay, so one person had the question of how do I know what my ticks were working on? I’m going to tell you what rocket ship does. So you can understand how the thinking on this.

16:00 So in rocket ship we embed here in the board and we track everything, right? And one of the things that we track is when somebody starts and cancels work or they decline it or they reschedule it or whatever, right?

16:14 So you can get some data. But basically we’re going to steal this idea from rocket ship and then we’re going to implement it inside of Autotask directly, right? So in a rocket ship, let’s pull this ticket open and again we’re going to look at this just so we can kind of steal the idea.

16:33 Hopefully this dev tenant is all set up properly. We’re going to find out real quick. And so we’re going to click start and so look, it starts the activity. Let’s see it should. Rocket ship went ahead and coded the status as green and we encode the calendar in green.

16:57 And the little S means start it in case we have some colorblind users. We did that and then we log in in here. So how do you do that directly in Autotask? Not to do it in rocket ship. So what you can do is you can do a workflow rule is one option, but backing up the idea here is you need a special status to indicate it’s being actively worked.

17:24 If I remember correctly, in progress comes with the Autotask. Even if it doesn’t. There’s a problem with this status which is people tend to use in progress incorrectly, particularly at smaller MSPs.

17:38 So what happens is when they assign tickets to a tech, that tech will look at it and start working it, maybe set it in progress, come back a day later, it’s still in progress. And in their head they’re like, in progress just means I’m working it.

17:51 Maybe it’s in progress for two weeks. That is not what that status is for. Absolutely not in progress means I’m literally working on it right now. I’m actively working this thing because if in progress means it’s everything from when it’s been dispatched.

18:06 And again, everybody dispatches. You may just dispatch to yourself, but you dispatch every It company, even with one person dispatches tickets. So from the dispatch to the close, if it’s in progress the whole time, there was the point of ticket statuses.

18:22 Really, it’s not giving you any information whatsoever. So in progress is not a good status for a ticket to sit in for too long because you can’t tell what the heck is going on. You have to go read the notes you’re micromanaging at that point.

18:35 So generally a ticket should be in a status like scheduled remote. Like, okay, I’m going to do some work. It’s scheduled, but I haven’t done the work yet. Right? And again, it’s like in rocket ship. When you market the next activity, it’s going to put into some kind of scheduled state.

18:58 You click start, it, starts it, and you want to mimic that behavior because it is correct behavior. It is the correct behavior to use an Autotask or manage or any other PSA, which is the status is denoting the state of the ticket, not some broad sweeping generalization.

19:14 And so for this person manually, what they could do is if they construct their staff, hey, look, if you are working the ticket in progress and then when you’re done with it or you’re done with that particular task, you need to put it into a to be dispatch or to be scheduled or complete or waiting status.

19:34 Right? And so that’s one way to do it manually. Now let’s see if we can automate that, right? So if you start a timer and then you save the entry or a service call, let’s see what our options are in workflow rules.

19:53 And this is something I intentionally did not prepare the solution for, so we could see what that would look like. Flag ticket as being worked. What would that look like? Right? So one option is if time has been added to the ticket, we know it’s in progress, right?

20:19 Or it’s in some kind of state. And the struggle you’re going to have with this is that it’s backward looking, right? So if you want to be able to see what tickets are being actively worked by your staff right now, then this doesn’t work.

20:37 But really looking through this, you’re going to have a little bit of a struggle. Let’s see, there’s some service calls scheduled that’s not going to work. And let’s see if we can automate this. So there’s going to be a struggle here that you really are not going to be able to automate this very well because this is backwards looking, right?

21:06 I o current status overdue. No. And so workflow rules are not going to be your friend here. So what I would recommend you do instead is you would just train your staff to put potentially a note. Nobody likes to do the edit stuff.

21:29 It’s kind of a pain. And so in that situation, you want to do a form template again, quick plus one for rocket ship. Obviously, we fully manage all this. You just have to click a button. Boom, done. That’s why there’s third party apps, right?

21:48 So if you want to do this inside the primary app. Then starting work, flag as work starting. So this is really your only option. Again, we’re always figuring out how to code things so it’s more obvious.

22:02 So this is a ticket note maybe and then start work and share it with the whole thing and then you would say it’s in progress. I think we have a working issue now, which is actually a Paxate Academy status.

22:21 And so starting work and typically you don’t want everybody to see that. And then okay. And so, honestly, the only way you’re going to be able to do this without having to edit statuses and all that is you have to train your staff to just use this.

22:48 All right, well you want to pre fill that out. You don’t want your tech to have to do all kind of extra work here. And so if they do that and you have everything filled out, I think my mouse just died.

22:59 And you don’t want the tech to have to do any work. Others then click that button. Then what you need to do there is just to fully fill out that speed code or that form and then you have to train them to do that.

23:12 That’s the only way you can do it inside of Autotask without external automation. Okay, good. I kind of enjoy doing that walk through. Let’s just see if we have any relevant questions. Okay? If you have any more questions, shoot me.

23:24 Emails, that’s where I get a lot of them. And again, I think next week we’re going to look at some billing and billing rule items. But if or something that’s 911, let me know ahead of time and maybe I’ll tackle that.

23:36 So I really appreciate it. And again I will be back here next week, thursday, 10:00 A.m. Central. You all have a good one.


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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