Get Started With Workflows

Workflows in Help Scout are similar to Gmail filters or rules in other email clients. Workflows are composed of conditions (what you’re looking for) and actions (what you want to happen). In this article we will introduce you to the wonderful world of workflows! 

Workflows are included with Standard, Plus, and Pro plans.

In this article

Workflow Basics

Workflows contain conditions, operators, and actions. Use those to create if-then statements to perform actions on conversations. For example, if the subject line contains "Order Confirmation", then add a tag, send an email to the customer, and copy the email to a folder. Workflows can be either manual or automatic, and condition values are not case-sensitive.

  • Automatic workflows are always on, running in the background. They check new and existing conversations for matching conditions, then carry out one or more specified actions automatically. An automatic workflow will only run on a conversation one time to avoid the workflow running based on its own actions. Automatic Workflows has more information on how to manage your automatic workflows and some inspirational ideas for their use. 
  • Manual workflows run on your command. When you apply a manual workflow, Help Scout performs all actions in one fell swoop. Look for the lightning bolt icon to run a manual workflow. A manual workflow will apply any time it is run, even if it has been applied previously. See Manual Workflows for the specifics on managing these and inspiration for how they can be useful for your team. 

Create a Workflow

Note: By default, only Administrators and Account Owners can create and manage workflows. If you want all of your Users to manage workflows as well, change that permission from the Company settings page. 

Head to Manage > Inbox(es) > Your Inbox > Workflows or open your inbox and click the gear icon to open Settings and select Workflows. Click New Workflow

Give your workflow a name and select Manual or Automatic. In our example, we're creating an automatic workflow. Click Next Step.

Select the criteria and operator (Is equal to, Contains, etc.) for your conditions. A manual workflow will skip this step. Click Next Step

Choose the actions you want your workflow to apply when a conversation matches the conditions you specified. Click Next Step.

Review your workflow on the summary page and toggle Apply to Previous on if you want the actions to apply to existing conversations. Apply to Previous is not an option for manual workflows. Click Activate Workflow when you’re ready for the workflow to start. 

Note: If no previous conversations match your conditions on an automatic workflow, you will see a note as pictured above. If you believe you should see matching conversations here, click Conditions at the top of the page to review and edit your conditions before you activate. For more on the Apply to Previous setting, see Automatic Workflows: Apply to Previous

Manage Workflows

You can edit, delete, and copy workflows, or create a copy of your workflow in another inbox. Head to Manage > Inbox(es) > Your Inbox > Workflows or open your inbox, click the gear icon to open Settings, and select Workflows.

Delete a Workflow 

Simply click the trashcan icon next to the workflow name in the list. 

Note: If you accidentally delete a workflow, there is no option in your account to restore it. You can create a new workflow with the same conditions and actions to replace it. If you don't remember what those settings were, get in touch with us for an assist.

Edit or Copy a Workflow

Click on the workflow name from the list to open the workflow editor. From this screen you can choose to turn the workflow off by clicking the toggle in the top right corner. 

The + dropdown menu next to the toggle contains the copying options. Choose Copy Workflow to duplicate the workflow in its current inbox. Copy to Inbox... will allow you to copy the same workflow to a different inbox. 

Edit conditions and actions by clicking Edit in the top right corner of each section. 

More on Workflows

Workflows are tools with great power to level up your support, and with that power comes great responsibility complexity as well. Take a look at some of our other articles about workflows for even more help! 

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