Having a voicemail create a case in our Dovetail/Clarify system

We recently moved into new offices here at Dovetail, and with our new offices came a new phone system.

One of the features of the phone system is that we can get an email whenever we get a voicemail. The email contains a WAV file of the actual voicemail recording. This allows us to easily be notified of, and receive voicemails, even when we’re out of the office.

The same rule applies to voicemails left on our support mailbox. So, if one of our customers calls our support line and leaves a voicemail message, we can get an email alerting us, along with the WAV file of the message.

This is all well and good.

But many of us are not on email all the time, and we have other notifications setup using Rulemanager, such as notifications to our mobile devices, and notifications via Campfire.

So we would prefer to have these voicemails automatically create a case in our Dovetail/Clarify system.

I met with the phone guy to find out what the capabilities of the phone system were. I wanted to know what our options were when a voicemail is received. Can the phone system invoke a program or a script? No. Can it call a web service? No. Can it create a file? No. Can it send an email? Yes.

Integration via email

Email isn’t my first choice for system integrations, but sometimes you’re handcuffed by the capabilities of the other system.

We already use our Email Agent product for easily logging notes to a case, so I just had to tell the phone guy what email address to send to when a voicemail arrives on our support line.

Now, Email Agent will get these emails, automatically create a case, and the WAV file will be added as an attachment to the case.


Email Agent uses auto-destination rules to dispatch the case to the correct queue.

Rulemanager fires a business rule which notifies the members of that queue based on the user’s individual preferences.

Another rule fires which posts a notification to our Campfire room.

The activity log shows the Create activity, along with the Dispatch, Adding of an Attachment, and the business rule notifications:


Who’s the customer?

One piece that is missing is correctly identifying the customer (contact).

Notice that the case is created for the contact  "Dovetail Software Voicemail". So, at this point, we’ll have to listen to the WAV file, and then manually do a Change Contact operation to relate the case to the correct contact.

The phone number of the caller is actually part of the email subject and body. So it would be possible to extract the phone number, format it properly, look for a contact with that phone number, and then use that contact for the case.

We’ve made a decision not to move forward with that piece of  integration work at this time. We get very few voicemails (most customers create cases through our SelfService site), so the number of times we would need to manually change the contact is low. Of course, if the number of voicemails received does become large, then we’ll deal with it then. This is the Optimize for now strategy as described by the guys at 37signals.


It’s actually taken me longer to write this blog post than it did to make this integration work.

Hope this helps