Encouraging SelfService use

We use our Dovetail SelfService application for supporting our customers on a daily basis. It gives customers the power to access what they need, when they need it – quickly and easily.

Customers have access to:

  • knowledgebase
  • product downloads
  • product documentation
  • license keys

And of course, they can interact with our support staff using cases:

  • create new cases
  • update existing cases: add notes, upload files, change severity
  • close cases
  • reopen cases
  • etc.

When a case is created via SelfService, customers pick the severity of the issue, such as:

  • Low – I’ve just got a question
  • Medium – It’s minor and not significantly affecting production
  • High – Production is heavily degraded
  • Urgent – Production down

We use Rulemanager and business rules to notify our support staff. For Urgent cases, we send SMS messages and make a phone call to the on-call person. This allows us to be notified and respond appropriately.

For urgent, production down issues – we want to be notified, even if it’s the middle of the night. For low severity issues, such as a customer letting us know our documentation has a typo – that can wait until the next day.

If a customer simply sends us an email, it’s harder to determine the severity of the issue.

When a customer uses our SelfService site, we’re able to provide a higher level of service. And that’s good for the customer.

So how can we encourage SelfService usage?

Make it easy to find

On your corporate website – make the support link as easy to find as possible. This sounds like a no-brainer, but I’ve often seen corporate sites with lots of designer flair, but poor usability – causing users to have to hunt around to find what they’re looking for.






Use a good URL

A common URL scheme for support is, such as:

This is easy for users to remember, and it’s good for SEO.


Include a link in outgoing emails

Whenever we send an email out from a case using our Dovetail apps (Dovetail Agent, Dovetail Mobile), we include a footer in the email, like so:


Notice the footer of that email:

Check the status and update your case online at our SelfService site:

That text is added automatically, as part of the outgoing email template. This makes it easy for customers to get to SelfService – the link is right there! And once they’re in there, they’re exposed to other functions they have access to. This small change in the email template makes a big difference.

This template is used by Rulemanager when sending outgoing log emails. So whether you’re using Dovetail apps or Clarify apps – it’s all the same. That means this technique will work whether you’re using Dovetail Agent or the Clarify Classic Client.


Here’s how to update the outbound email template in your system.

1. Export your current template using dataex or DIET

diet.exe  -user_name gary –password password -db_server . -db_name dovetail -export email_com_template.dat -archive -dir email_com_template.dir

Here’s what my email_com_template.dir looks like:

This will create email_com_template.dat

2. Edit email_com_template.dat, adding in the footer

Here’s what mine looks like:

3. Import the template back into your database using dataex or DIET

diet.exe  -user_name gary –password password -db_server . -db_name dovetail -import email_com_template.dat

4. Restart Rulemanager

That’s it. Pretty easy.

Now, whenever a user sends an email out from a case, that footer and link to SelfService will automatically be included in the email, making it easy for your customers to access that case in SelfService, as well as all of the other capabilities of the app.

Hope you find this useful.