iService Forms Drives Product Direction

Posted on 9/9/2011 by Landlord Administrator in forms iservice scripting language customization

The iService forms interface is a relatively new component of iService that was introduced last year. We still struggle with calling this component “Forms”, because it is much more powerful than a traditional web form. In fact, it represents a significant part of the future product road map for iService.

The forms interface allows users to very quickly build customized web forms that interact directly with the iService system. These forms can be as simple as an HTML page with no actions, or as complex as a complete question submission and workflow process. The forms are based on HTML, so you have complete control of the layout and design of the user experience. Predefined iService variables allow you to easily retrieve information from iService, such as:

  • Logged In User Details (User Name, User ID, Session ID)
  • Topic Tree Details
  • Find Answers Article Details
  • Subscription Details (Mailing lists, Campaigns, Find Answers Aricle Subscriptions)
You can also capture an extensive amount of information and use it to update your iService database or create interactions (tickets, customer emails, agent emails, etc.). Some of this information includes:

  • Contact Properties (Name, Address, Phone, or any Custom Property you create)
  • Interaction Properties (Severity of Issue, Browser Type, or any Custom Interaction Property you create)
  • Updates to Subscriptions (Mailings lists, Campaigns, etc.)

Better Input = Better Response

The initial versions of iService forms provided the ability to quickly make web forms to capture customer information and create new interactions (tickets, ask a question forms, outgoing agent email, etc.). There are several advantages to capturing questions this way, including unlimited flexibility with formatting, branding, and content. And with the ability to make certain fields required, you can ensure you capture all of the information you need to provide a quality response.

Email Preferences Portals

We then added the ability to pull information from iService, starting with the mailing list and campaign subscriptions. This feature allows you to create a custom email preferences page, and enables your contacts to view and update their subscriptions using your custom form. An example of this type of form is shown below.

 

Customizable Find Answer Pages

Beginning with release 5.12, the ability to pull information from your iService database is extended to interactions. You’ll be able to create custom help pages that display Find Answers knowledge base articles in any desired format. This will also allow you to integrate your help articles in a variety of ways, including directly into your question submission forms as shown below.

 

In the example above, clicking the article link can open the article within the current page, within a light box on top of the page, or any other behavior that fits you site to create a good user experience.

You will continue to see a variety of enhancements in the forms area over the next several releases with more emphasis on allowing you to fully customize the user interface. This will ultimately provide you the ability to change the behavior of certain pages within iService, or redesign them to fit your particular business need. If you want to learn more about Forms, we suggest taking a look at the Forms User Guide.

Stay tuned ... much more to come in this area!

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