Case History enhancements in Dovetail Agent

We’ve done a lot of work recently to improve case (and subcase) history within Dovetail Agent 5.

It feels much cleaner, is easier to read, and just feels pleasant. Plus there’s some cool new features.

Here’s a few highlights.





Avatars for users, applications, and customers are shown.

Notice that there is an avatar for Annie (who is a employee/user), Scott (who is a contact), and for Dovetail SelfService (an application).

And the avatars are clickable links. If the avatar is for a user/employee, the link goes to the employee page. If it’s a contact, it goes to the contact page.

Reverse Chronological Order

Notice that the history shows the newest entries at the top, similar to many current social apps (facebook, twitter, etc.)

More context – via Application

When an entry happens via an application, we show that application, which provides more context for these activities.

In the image above, we can see that Scott created this case using Dovetail SelfService.

What’s really happening here is that we’ve created a user named Dovetail SelfService, and set that user as the application user for the application (in the Dovetail SelfService app config file). Then, when Dovetail SelfService performs an action (create case, log note, etc.) it relates the act_entry to the user and to the contact, allowing more context for these activities.

We do a similar technique in Dovetail Carrier when processing incoming emails. Here we can see that we received an email from Valerie via Dovetail Carrier:



Show Original Email Messages in a collapsed state

Notice in the above image that there’s an original message as part of the received email. Notice that it’s collapsed. This keeps the history from being cluttered with chains of email replies.

But if you want that information, simply click the Original Message text, and it expands to show the original message content:



Email Header Information

Notice that in the received email above, it shows the Date, From, To, and Subject information.

Dovetail Carrier is saving this information to the email_log table. And if the email_log.x_subject column exists, it will save the subject into that field (which is what’s happening in this example)

We also do this for outgoing (sent) emails:



Time Ago + Actual Timestamp

Notice that next to every activity is says approximately when it happened (a few minutes ago, 3 months ago, etc.)

For the most part, this is sufficient when reading the history. But if you really want the exact date and time, simply mouse over the time ago text, and it will show the exact time:



Auto-updating timestamps

If you’re on a case page, you’ll see the time ago text (a few minutes ago, 3 months ago, etc.) displayed for each activity. Every minute or so, those will automatically update.

So if you have a history item that says “Note logged 3 minutes ago”, and you leave your browser on that page, you’ll see it change to “Note logged 4 minutes ago”, “Note logged 5 minutes ago”, etc.

This happens automatically for all timestamps on the page.  Really useful when you walk away for a while and come back to the same page – and it’s current.

Auto-updating history content

If you’re on a case page, and something happens on the case from elsewhere, you’ll see a notification and the history will automatically show the new activities.

For example, say you’re on a case page and the customer logs a note by SelfService. Or they send in an email that is picked up by Dovetail Carrier. Or your boss logs an internal note to the case.

What will happen is that a notification will be displayed at the top of the page (saying “The history has been updated”), and the new history items will be automatically shown in the history.

Very cool!

Links where you expect them

This is a web app, so links are prevalent throughout the app.

I already mentioned that the avatars are links, which take you to either the employee page or to the contact page.

The names within the activity headers are links (such as Annie Agent in the image below)

Attachments are clickable, and will download the attachment locally.




Subcase ID numbers are clickable, which will take you to the subcase page.



Any http links within the history are automatically turned into clickable links, such as this one within a note log:




We’ve been using these features internally for quite a while now, and they make the app much nicer to use. Hopefully you dig them as well.

Have some other ideas of how we could improve? Leave a comment below or drop me an email.