Implement a simple email help desk inside Confluence

Submitting help requests via email is great for customers. It’s easy, everybody knows how to use email and nobody wants to sign up for some extra system just to ask a quick question. However, for your team delivering support managing a mailbox full of support requests can get quickly messy. A ticketing/help desk system that allows tagging requests, track state and search through existing issues to find a solution probably works best. Luckily you can have both, a modern Service Desk software coming with all these options and allowing customers to submit issues via email.

Atlassian has its own service Desk software called Jira Service Desk. It has all the bells and whistles. But if you already use Confluence and you are reluctant to install yet another software you might like to manage support requests inside of Confluence. This blog post will show you how you can do that with our add-on mailto.wiki – Email for Confluence.

Disclaimer: We are the developers of mailto.wiki – Email for Confluence.

The idea

We want customers to be able to submit their problems via email. We will use mailto.wiki to convert incoming emails into blog posts. Service employees will be able to reply to these requests by leaving a comment using the new Reply by Comment feature of mailto.wiki. Customers can reply to our answers by answering to that email. To the customer it will be just like if he/she is exchanging email with a service employee. For your side, everything will happen inside Confluence.

Setting up mailto.wiki

Maillto.wiki – Email for Confluence is a Confluence add-on that allows you to create Confluence pages and blog posts from emails. It provides you with a @mailto.wiki address that you can send emails to. You can read here how to install and configure it.

For our support channel we will create a new Confluence space called Support:

Screenshot showing how to create a new space in Confluence.

New help requests should get posted to this space as blog post. To do so we make the SUPPORT space the default space for mailto.wiki and we set the default content type to Blog in the configuration page:

Scrennshot of the mailto.wiki configuration page in Confluence, showing how to change the default space and content type.

After you have everything setup set the “How to handle replies” option to “Create comments” and  enable  the “Reply by comment” feature in the “Replies/Share” tab on the configuration page.

Screenshot of the Replies and Share settings of mailto.wiki.

Now every comment left on a page/blog post will generate a reply email and every reply email will generate a comment. In the following image you can see an example of a reply comment and the corresponding automatically generated email:

Screenshot showing an example of a reply comment and the corresponding automatically generated email

Categorize requests by adding labels

Labels are tags or keywords that can be added to a blog post or a page in Confluence. They can be used to categorize, identify or bookmark content. In the case of our helpdesk, we can use labels to categorize similar problems. This can be very handy if you have a great number of requests and need to find certain posts and topics again. For example, your employees can search for already existing solutions to problems in the same category. Confluence allows you to add labels to each post manually but with the help of mailto.wiki you can also create labels based on the subject of the incoming email.

In order to create labels based on the subject you need to add a space rule. You can read more about space rules in our documentation. Go to the space rules tab on the configuration page and add a new rule. Then choose Subject contains as a condition and enter the keyword you want in the subject as a value in the space rule dialog. Under Action choose move email to and select the space Help Desk we created above. Finally enter one or several lables to add to the page into the Labels textbox.

Screenshot of the mailto.wiki configuration page showing how to add default labels.

As a result every incoming email which includes your keyword in the subject will be automatically labeled for you.

If you click on a label on the page/ blog you will be redirected to the labeled content page that will list all posts labeled with this certain label. You can also search for certain labels.

Conclusion

With the help of the add-on mailto.wiki you are able to implement a simple Help Desk in Confluence with the possibility of using full bidirectional communication through Confluence and email. This allows your customers to submit their issues via email but still gives your employees the advantage of using a system which allows them to tag requests and search through existing issues.

If you experience any issues, have further questions or suggestions for improvement regarding our add-on please contact our support at support@mailto.wiki. We are always eager to hear from our customers.

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