Automatically processing stale discussions with Activity Filters
Activity Filters allow you to automatically process old or outdated discussions by closing, re-pending, queueing, or marking them private.
Sometimes a discussion comes in that requires research. We usually let the customer know we’re looking at it and then immediately re-pend the discussion so we don’t lose it while we go dig up the answers. Occasionally we forget to mark pending and someone forgets to follow up with the customer right away, causing us to lose track of the discussion until we go looking for it or until it gets bumped by a customer. If this happens to us, we bet it happens to you too. By creating an activity filter that automatically re-pends stale discussions, there’s now a safety net in case any correspondence ever falls through the cracks.
You choose a timeout period (minimum one hour) and an action to be performed. The timeout represents the amount of time that has passed since the last customer-visible activity. The action is what happens to the discussion once this timeout has been reached. Each action has its own separate timer for each discussion, so that two different filters can still act on the same discussion without interfering.
A complication you may encounter with this feature is the issue of existing discussions. We made a choice not to ignore old discussions when creating a new filter, and instead provide some visibility into how this filter will affect your backlog of existing, stale discussions.
For sites with a very large number of old discussions, we recommend queueing them first to deal with the backlog (you can use an activity filter for this), and close those before attempting to add a new filter that automatically re-pends all old discussions. If your support staff already close all old/stale discussions this obviously won’t be an issue.