Initial Response

When working cases in Clarify / Dovetail, an option available to agents is Initial Response. Initial Response allows an agent to mark that the initial response to a customer has occurred.


True to its name, an Initial Response can only occur once in the history of a case.


This Initial Response operation can be performed on either the Log Phone call or Log Email forms.

Initial Response button in the User Interfaces


Phone Log form in the Clarify Classic Client:




Email Log form in the Clarify Classic Client:




Phone Log form in DovetailAgent:




Email Log form in DovetailAgent:



Activity Log


When the Initial Response action occurs, it is logged to the case activity log:



Time Bomb


When the Initial Response action occurs, a time bomb is created. Once we have a time bomb – we can create business rules. And y’all know how much I love business rules!

Business Rules


One of the more common business rules that everyone talks about is that a case must be accepted from a queue within a certain period of time. This is OK – but a customer really doesn’t care that a case was accepted from a queue – they want a response and an answer. We can use the Initial Response activity in a business rule to accomplish just that.


Here’s a couple of examples (take note of the Initial Response as the cancel event for the rules):

Business Rule: Urgent severity cases should be responded to within 2 hours


Object Type: Case
Rule Name/Description: Urgent severity cases should be responded to within 2 hours
Start Events: Create
Cancel Events: Initial Response
Conditions: Severity = Urgent

Action 1:
Action Title:
 Notify Owner
Who to Notify: [Current Owner]
Start Action: 90 minutes
From: Event Creation
Using: Elapsed Time
Repeat : Never


RE: Urgent Severity Case SLA Warning
Case [Case ID Number] is nearing its initial response service level agreement.
The case has been opened for 90 minutes – It must be responded to within the next 30 minutes.
You are being notified because you are the owner of the [Object Type].
You can view the case at:[Case ID Number]


Action 2:
Action Title:
 Notify Owner & supervisor
Who to Notify: [Current Owner], [Current Owner Supvsr]
Start Action: 120 minutes
From: Event Creation
Using: Elapsed Time
Repeat : Never


RE: Urgent Severity Case SLA Expiration
Case [Case ID Number] has hit its initial response service level agreement time limit.
The case has been opened for 120 minutes.
The case owner is [Current Owner First Name] [Current Owner Last Name]
You can view the case at:[Case ID Number]

Business Rule: Notify case owner of support program response time commitment


This is a Clarify baseline rule that is similar to the one above. It uses Initial Response as a cancel event, and it uses the support program’s response time rather than a hard-coded time limit.


Object Type: Case
Rule Name/Description: Notify case owner of support program response time commitment
Start Events: Set Support Program
Cancel Events: Initial Response, Set Product
Action Title: CCN: Spt pgm response notification
Who to Notify: [Current Owner]
Start Action: 90 minutes
From: support pgm response
Using: Cust Spt Prog Hrs
Repeat : Never


Case [Object ID] is linked to support program [Spt Prog ID:50] on contract [Contract ID:50]. The response time guaranteed by this support program is about to expire, but no action has occurred against the case. Please escalate issue appropriately.



Another benefit of Initial Response is that we can use that activity to calculate the time from case create to initial response. This is a useful metric in some support organizations. We have the case creation timestamp, and the initial response timestamp – so a simple data calculation gives us the elapsed time. Using your favorite reporting software, you can start reporting and tracking trends on this value. It’s interesting to see how this initial response time varies over time, and how it varies depending on severity of the case, and/or the medium (phone, email, web, etc.)

Initial Response time based on other activities?


Why not just based the initial response time on other activities?


Well, as explained earlier – basing time to respond on the time that the case was accepted form a queue isn’t really right. The customer doesn’t care when the case was accepted – they want a response – which may be a much later time than when it was accepted.


What about doing it based on a log note, log email, or a log phone call? This might be OK, depending on your workflow. But I can log a note to the case without any communication with the customer. I may also email or call someone else on my team, or a vendor. These will get logged to the case – but they’re not direct communication with the customer.

Setting the Initial Response Automatically


There are some organizations and workflows that want the Initial Response to be set automatically. I’ve done in the past in a couple of different ways.



One way I’ve done this in the past it to customize the UI so that the user is asked if this is the Initial Response.


Something like this (on the Hang Up button of the Log Phone form in the Clarify Client):

Sub POST_Click()

Dim recCase As Record
Dim answer As Long


Set recCase = App.GetContext()
If recCase.RecordType = “case” Then
If recCase.GetField(“reply_state”) = 0 Then
answer = App.MsgBox (“Is this the initial response to the customer?”, cbYesNo, “Initial Response?”)
If answer = cbIdYes Then
ClickButtom ‘INIT_RESP’
End If
End If
End If




End Sub

Business Rule


Another way to do this is to have a business rule call the Initial Response API. Here’s an example:


Object Type: Case
Rule Name/Description: Set Initial Response on outgoing call
Start Event: Phone Log
Cancel Events: 
Phone Log Action Type = “Outgoing call”
Initial Response = 0
Action Title: Set Initial Response
Action Type: Command Line 
Start Action: 0 minutes
From: Event Creation
Using: Elapsed Time
Repeat: Never
Message: C:\dovetail\powershell\SetInitialResponse.bat [Case ID Number] [Logger]


The BAT file simply calls a Powershell script named SetInitialResponse.ps1, that calls the InitialResponse API within the Dovetail SDK. Here’s the core of the Powershell script:


param( [string] $caseId, [string] $userName)

#source other scripts
. .\DovetailCommonFunctions.ps1
$ClarifyApplication = create-clarify-application;
$ClarifySession = create-clarify-session $ClarifyApplication;

$supportToolkit= new-object FChoice.Toolkits.Clarify.Support.SupportToolkit( $ClarifySession )
$initialResponseSetup = new-object FChoice.Toolkits.Clarify.Support.InitialResponseSetup($caseId)
$initialResponseSetup.UserName  = $userName;
$initialResponseSetup.IsVIAPhone   = $TRUE;
$result = $supportToolkit.InitialResponse($initialResponseSetup);


The full Powershell script is available on github at

Business Rule – Log Email


You could also do a similar rule based on Log Email. The events and conditions would probably look different. Perhaps something like:


Start Event: Log Email
Email Log Action Type = “External Email”
Initial Response = 0
Log Email Recipients contains [Customer Email]





And there you have it – Initial Response. A useful piece of functionality available as part of your Clarify / Dovetail system.  Hope you found this useful.


Rock on.