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Get notified of urgent support issues with IFTTT

Get notified of urgent support issues with IFTTT

Managing support issues for your clients is no easy task, especially when it’s an emergency. Occasionally I get a frantic late night call, but most of our clients reach out to us via an email containing the word “Emergency” or “Urgent” somewhere in their distress message. The problem is I can only answer this urgent issue if I know it’s in my inbox.

In this post I’m going to show you how IFTTT helped solve our problem of getting notified. We’re still working on that problem of what’s an emergency and what’s not.

What is IFTTT?

For those of you not familiar with IFTTT (pronounced like “gift” without the “g”), it is a service that lets you create powerful connections with one simple statement: ifttt-recipe

The statement is what we call a Recipe. Each Recipe is made of Channels that contain a Trigger (This) and an Action (That). Each Channel has a different set of Triggers and Actions available so that you can build a multitude of various recipes. Trust me, people have shared tons of recipes.

Why I use IFTTT?

Now that we know a little about IFTTT, lets look at how we used it to solve our support notification issue. It all started with a question, “Wouldn’t it be great if you could get a call when we got an urgent email?” That’s when I remembered that IFTTT had a “Phone Call” channel. We were already using Google Apps for our email which is also a channel so it seemed like a no brainer. We needed a recipe that would give me a call when an urgent email arrived.

Boom! Problem solved. No really… it was that simple.

Setting it up

I’m going to walk you through how we setup our Recipe so from here on out I’m going to assume you have already created your IFTTT account and are logged in. If you haven’t yet you can sign up here. Creating a recipe is a seven step process. To get started, in the top left corner there is a blue button that says “Create a Recipe”, press it! ifttt-this

1. Choose Trigger Channel

We start by selecting the “This” portion of our statement. Since we are wanting something to happen when we receive an email we are going to select “Gmail” as our our Trigger Channel.

2. Choose a Trigger

Gmail has five specific Triggers available; Any new email, New email from, New starred email, New email labeled and New email from search. Since we are wanting our recipe to run anytime we receive an email containing the word “Urgent” we are going to use New email from search. This trigger fires every time a new email arrives in your inbox that matches the search query you specify.

3. Complete Trigger Fields

Since we selected New email from search, we are prompted to enter the term we want to search for. In this example we are going to use “Urgent”. After entering the text, create the trigger. ifttt-that

4. Choose Action Channel

Now we are ready to set the “That” portion of our statement. Though we could have elected to receive a text message we opted to get a phone call so lets select “Phone Call” as our Action Channel.

5. Choose an Action

Alright… not a lot of options here. Select Call my phone.

6. Complete Action Fields.

This is where we’re going to tell the phone call what to say. Gmail has several ingredients that we can pull from; From Address, Email Subject, Email Body Plain and Received Date. Since we are only using this as a notification we’re going to keep it simple. Paste the text below into text area and create the action.

A new urgent support request from {{FromAddress}}, has been submitted.

7. Create and Activate

Here we get a chance to review our Recipe. Once you’re comfortable with it’s configuration and you’ve filled out the description you can create the Recipe Now that wasn’t that hard was it?


So there you have it.  Now you can be notified anytime you get an “urgent” email.  We have actually created several versions of this recipe with different words for the search values and different numbers to call. Once you’ve completed setting up the Recipe you will also have the ability to turn it on and off. That way if you’re on vacation or not on call you can turn it off.  Another note is that all the calls come from the same phone number so you can save it in your contacts. Mine is saved as “This is going to suck”.

On a lighter note, that’s my first tutorial on how to create a Recipe in IFTTT.  I would love to hear your feedback and ideas for other Recipes.

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