One of the more frequent head-scratchers for new users of Emailtopia Response (and quite a few long-terms users too) concerns the set up and use of outbound rules. For inbound emails, the use of rules is a little more intuitive: as we discussed in the last issue, rules can be set up to match incoming messages to particular criteria, and to categorize them, assign them, send an alert, or any of several other functions. But what of emails that are sent from within the Response system?

As with incoming rules, there are two main groups of outgoing rules to consider: system rules and mailbox rules. Also, in common with the inbound rules engine, an outgoing rule is made up of three sections: conditions that must be met to trigger the rule; actions to take if the rule is triggered, and exceptions that prevent the rule from triggering.

System outgoing message rules, as their name suggests, affect the behaviour of all messages sent using Response, across multiple mailboxes. Conditions for outgoing rules will look somewhat similar to the incoming side; actions, though, have a different set of options for outbound rules, including such actions as sending a notification or message to a particular user or address; rejecting the message before it is sent, or more familiar actions such as categorizing the message, or stopping subsequent rules from processing. For example, it may be that an organization does not wish to send “read receipts,” preferring instead to use Response’s more sophisticated standard responses tools to let correspondents know that their message has been received and is being dealt with. Here, the condition could be “subject begins with ‘read:’ or ‘received:’,” and the action may be something like “reject the message with the comment ‘prevented a read receipt being sent.’” This will ensure that the request for a read-receipt is logged in Response’s tracking system, along with the reason it was not actually sent.

Several Response users also use the Outgoing Rules engine within a specific mailbox, for example to assign outgoing email to a particular category and thus enable more detailed reporting. Rules here are typically set up on a per-mailbox basis using the same syntax as other elements of the Rules engine: a condition or conditions to be met, an action or actions to be taken, and any exemptions that prevent the rule from triggering. Let’s say that you want to track the volume of outbound email from the users in your Accounts Payable group mailbox. You could make a category “AP outbound emails” and then set up a rule to put the team’s outbound messages in that category. The condition might be “sender is <all usernames in the AP mailbox>” and an action could be “categorize as ‘AP outbound emails.’”  Then running any of the category reports on your new category will give you information about messages sent from the AP group mailbox.

Talk to your account manager today about setting up refresher training sessions if any of that is unclear!