Understanding Flow Actions

This section describes the actions you can use in flows. They include sending emails to either an entire audience or a specific individual, displaying web documents to a respondent, updating the database with information provided by the respondents, and defining the flow of the dialog.

The flow actions are listed in the Flow designer, and include the following:

  • Date/Time Trigger (including Repeating Date/Time Trigger)

  • External Event Trigger

  • Broadcast Email

  • Web Link Promo

  • Custom Action

  • Single Email

  • Standalone Web Page

  • Landing Page

  • Intermediate Page

  • Final Page

  • Decision Point

  • Update Profile

  • Single SMS

  • Broadcast SMS

  • Single Print Correspondence

  • Broadcast Print Correspondence

  • Push Lead

  • Create Case

The Date/Time Trigger is one way to start a section in the flow. Within a Date/Time Trigger, you add the actions that you want scheduled based on the date specified in the trigger. The actions attached to the trigger can be scheduled to occur on that date or a specified period (hours, days, weeks, months) following that date. The date associated with a Date/Time Trigger can be entered explicitly in the Date/Time Trigger builder.

All Broadcast Email actions must be attached to a Date/Time Trigger to execute. Date/Time Triggers can schedule the execution of any number of actions. Custom actions can be attached to Date/Time Triggers.

See Defining the Flow of the Dialog.

You can define repeating versions of Date/Time Triggers . Repeating Date/Time Triggers start a section in the flow. Following a Repeating Date/Time Trigger, you add the actions that you want executed on a repeating basis (hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly) based on the starting date specified in the trigger. You can schedule the repeating actions to begin on that date or on a given number of hours, days, weeks, or months following that date.

You can enter the date and time associated with the beginning of a Repeating Date/Time Triggers explicitly in the Date/Time Trigger builder.

Scheduling Repeating Date/Time Triggers (Broadcast Email Only)

Repeated actions occur as scheduled in the Repeating Date/Time Trigger, and mail jobs are sent out at the times and intervals specified when the trigger and action are defined. However, there are two special cases, illustrated in the following table, that you must consider when scheduling repeated actions.

Field or Control

Definition

Jobs that Continue Past Next Scheduled Interval

The smallest repeat unit for Repeating Date/Time Triggers and their actions is one hour. If you are sending broadcast email messages to a large number of people, the time required to process them all (remove duplicate contacts so each person only receives the email once) might be longer than one hour. If this occurs, the Dialog Server ignores any job that should begin during the time it is processing the first job (this is called overlapping), then resumes at the next hourly interval after the first job is completed.

For example, suppose you have three instances of a broadcast email job scheduled under a single Repeating Date/Time Trigger: Instances A, B, and C. Instance A is scheduled to start at 2:00 p.m., and instances are set to repeat hourly. Normally this would mean that Instance B would begin at 3:00, and Instance C at 4:00. However, Instance A is being sent to a large number of contacts, and does not finish processing until 3:20. In this case, the broadcast email will overlap Instance B, forcing Instance B to be skipped. Instance C will begin as scheduled at 4:00 (see illustration). You should take this behavior into account when planning and setting up your broadcast email jobs to avoid overlapping.

Pausing a Dialog During Repeating Date/Time Triggers

Online Marketing schedules repeated actions based on their triggers, not on the actions themselves. If you pause a dialog and then restart it, any actions that were scheduled to occur within the time the dialog was paused do not occur, with the exception of any actions that have already been queued prior to the pause.

For example, assume you have scheduled a Repeating Date/Time Trigger to start at noon today, with a series of actions set up to send broadcast email once every hour for the next six hours, starting at 1:00 p.m. The default interval for the Scheduler is one minute. The following examples describe what might occur depending on when the dialog is paused:

  • If you pause the dialog at 11:45 a.m. and restart it at 11:50, the scheduled actions proceed as planned. This is because the pause and restart of the actions both occurred prior to the Scheduler’s queuing of the Repeating Date/Time Trigger.

  • If you pause the dialog at 11:57 a.m. and resume it at 12:10 p.m., the scheduled actions will not proceed as planned. This is because the scheduler checks every minute to determine whether there are any actions that must be queued in the subsequent one-minute period, then queues those actions. Since the dialog was in a paused status at 11:59, the trigger has not been queued; therefore none of the actions associated with that trigger will occur.

  • If you pause the dialog at 1:30 and resume it at 1:45, all the actions proceed as planned. All the actions under the trigger have already been scheduled, and each action is not queued until approximately one minutes before it is scheduled to occur.

  • If you pause the dialog at 1:45 and resume it at 2:10, the 2:00 instance of the action does not occur (in the Scheduler it will show a status of Skipped), but all the subsequent actions do.

Warning! Be aware that Repeating Date/Time Triggers do not behave in the same way as Date/Time Triggers. Date/Time Triggers that have already executed will never re-execute even if you change the scheduled time to a later time on the same day; you must add a new Date/Time Trigger to the flow. Repeating Date/Time Triggers, when stopped and restarted, will continue executing any actions that have already been scheduled with start times that have not yet passed. Also, Date/Time Triggers that are scheduled for dates past the date the dialog is set to Live will be executed immediately. In comparison, a Repeating Date/Time Trigger skips dates that have already occurred when the dialog is set to Live.

Further, when a dialog containing Repeating Date/Time Triggers is put into the Broadcast Hold or Paused state and then restarted, all prior iterations of the trigger will be sent to the Scheduler with a state of Skipped.

See Understanding Control Center.

An External Event Trigger is another way to start a process. It can link to the following items:

  • a Landing Page.

  • a Web Link Promo.

  • a Standalone Web Page.

  • a Single Email.

External Event Triggers and Landing Page

When the trigger connects to a Landing Page, the Dialog Link Report generates a URL associated with this trigger. Using this URL, external systems can invoke the trigger, which then activates the Landing Page action to serve the web page for the individual.

External Event Triggers and Web Link Promo

When the trigger connects to a Web Link Promo, the Dialog Link Report generates a URL for every audience that is specified in the web link promo action. A Web Link Promo allows users to enter the dialog from a banner ad or web link and metrics can keep track of the number of people accessing a particular link. This is useful for determining how much traffic is generated by banner ads located on different websites pointing to the same place in the dialog. Web Link Promos are typically followed by Landing Pages.

External Event Triggers and Single Email

External Event Triggers can connect to a Single Email (such as a survey email). Note that when integrating with a Case for sending surveys, it is required that the survey single email and the survey web pages reside in the same dialog. If they do not, then the case will not be able to access the survey report and score.

If a single email is specified to send to the respondent's email address, then the Individual ID must be passed in the URL for the external event trigger.

When the External Event Trigger is directly attached to a Single Email, the View URL hyperlink is not displayed, since there is no web page to view.

Note: Dialog authentication (specified by the Login Required check box in the Dialog Designer page) will not work in conjunction with a flow starting with an External Event Trigger directly connected to a Single Email activity. Dialog Check will check for this and report an error if this situation exists.

See the Java and PeopleCode API documentation delivered as part of your CRM Online Marketing installation.

The Broadcast Email action specifies an email message to be sent to one or more target audiences.

Broadcasting an email to an audience is a typical method of starting an Online Marketing dialog. You can broadcast an offer to your target audience that includes the URL(s) generated by Online Marketing, directing recipients to respond to a specific Standalone Web Page or a Landing Page.

When you add this action to your flow, you will need to specify the email document to send, the target audience to reach, and the timing of the action relative to the previous action in the flow. You also need to specify whether the action's queue management behavior will override the global options for frequency management (how many emails a given person should receive in a given time period).

Note the following:

  • If you are using the email document to publicize an URL, the document you broadcast must contain the generated URL for the appropriate Landing Page or Standalone Web Page.

  • To broadcast emails, Online Marketing requires that the email addresses for all recipients be stored in the Email or Email Alternative fields in the Individuals.People profile. You must specify one of these fields in the Broadcast Email task.

  • The email document you broadcast will not be sent to contacts with Do not email selected in the profile used to maintain their subscriptions. This can be either the Individuals system profile or your own custom permission profile attribute if this is specified as an exclude condition of the audience.

Broadcasting to Multiple Target Audiences

When sending a broadcast email, you can specify multiple target audiences, and the email will be broadcast to all contacts listed in each of the target audiences specified. However, since it is possible to have some of the same contacts included in more than one target audience, Online Marketing automatically ensures that duplicate emails will not be sent to the same contact for that specific email action.

Online Marketing sends the broadcast email to all unique individuals in the selected audiences. If the contact audience is in more than one audience, that contact is only listed once so the contact is not sent a duplicate broadcast email. For example, if a contact appears for the first time in the third target audience and again in subsequent audiences, then that contact will be dropped from the audience list from the fourth target audience on.

Therefore, the respondents will be identified as being part of the first target audience in which they are listed.

See Mailcasters.

See Setting Global Options.

The Web Link Promo action allows you to generate a URL that the dialog will use to direct respondents to a Landing Page or Standalone Web Page of the dialog. Typically you generate Web Link actions for events such as placing a web banner ad, placing a print ad, sending direct mail, sending broadcast email through another source, and so forth.

Usually, a Web Link action is used to reach people who are not in your profile database. However, it is also possible to send a generated Web Link to an audience of contacts in your database (for example, to test the effectiveness of a direct mail offer against a broadcast email offer to the same audience).

By including a Web Link action in your flow, Online Marketing will generate a special URL (through the Link Report) to be used as the Web Link so Online Marketing can track the respondents as an audience. This special URL specifies the entry point to the dialog (a Landing Page or a Standalone Web Page) and also incorporates a code (called the tracking number) that is used to track the respondents. This code allows Online Marketing to know the audience that the respondent belongs to.

You must provide the generated URL to the people directing the development of the banner ad, direct mail, and so on so respondents can access the appropriate web page.

When defining target audiences for your dialog, you should create a different target audience for each Web Link you want to track separately. For example, you may want to track the effectiveness of two different banner ads. By identifying each with its own audience, you will be able to easily distinguish between the two. In this case, you would include both audiences in your Web Link. Online Marketing would then generate two separate URLs; one for each target audience.

When you add this action to your flow, you will need to specify a unique name and a description, the target audience for the respondents, and the Standalone Web Page or Landing Page entry point to the dialog.

Custom action extensions enable you to extend actions in the dialog flow. Custom actions are custom Java servlets and PeopleCode functions that can execute business logic, update or retrieve profile information, and even retrieve or post information to external systems.

Examples of custom actions include:

  • A servlet to push a sales lead to a Sales Force Automation application.

  • Custom rules for lead scoring or distribution.

  • Updating Case with the latest survey score for a particular individual. Online Marketing provides a built-in custom action called Update Case Score to be used in a survey dialog flow for updating the Case component with survey scores.

Note: Unlike custom content extensions included in documents, custom actions in the dialog flow ignore any data returned. Their purpose is to simply perform an action, and not to act upon data that might be returned. You should be aware of this fact when you select custom actions from the list of available choices.

See Understanding Extensions.

The Standalone Web Page action specifies a web page as an entry point to the dialog, without any follow-up action to be performed. A Standalone Web Page action uses a web document without a Submit button. This type of page is useful to simply display information to a respondent. To include an entry point to the dialog where the respondent is to enter some information, you must use a Landing Page.

Although there is no submit button on a Standalone Web Page, you can include a web link in the web document to take respondents to another part of the dialog, or to another dialog. You do this using Web Link command in the Documents Designer.

See Understanding Web Documents.

The Landing Page action specifies a web document to be displayed as an entry point to the dialog. This action starts a section in the flow. Once a dialog is entered, the flow executes the actions in the section, in order.

To use the Landing Page, a respondent enters data in the web page and then clicks the Submit button on the page. Based on the respondent’s input, you can have the flow make a decision on the next action to take.

When you add this action to your flow, an icon labeled On Submit is added below the Landing Page icon, indicating that the steps below it will occur as a result of a submit from a respondent.

The Intermediate Page specifies a web document where a respondent enters information and then submits the information. This action works similarly to the Landing Page except that it is not an entry point into the dialog.

The Intermediate Page specifies that the respondent is to enter data in the web page and then click the Submit button on the page. Based on the respondent’s input, you can have the flow make a decision on the next action to take. When you add this action to your flow, an icon labeled On Submit is added below the Intermediate Page icon, indicating that the steps below it will occur as a result of a submit from a respondent.

The Final Page action specifies a web document to be displayed to a respondent during the dialog. This action works like a Standalone Web Page as it does not accept input from the user, except that this page always follows an On Submit in the dialog flow.

Although there is no submit button on a Final Page, you can include a web link in the web document to take respondents to another part of the dialog, or another dialog. You do this by inserting a Web Link into the document in the Documents Designer.

There is one tab in the Final Page builder. The General tab is where you select the web document to be displayed. You should also provide an appropriate unique name for the action and a description.

Using Final Pages in Flows

Normal execution of actions are as follows:

  • Actions in each section of a flow are executed in sequence based on the respondent’s input.

  • Actions are executed as soon as they are reached in the flow.

The exception to the normal dialog flow is the Final Page action. When the flow reaches a Final Page action, rather than simply displaying the specified web document, Online Marketing marks the web document to be shown, and then continues processing subsequent actions until it reaches the end of the flow. If another Final Page exists, only the document associated with the last Final Page action Online Marketing encounters in the flow without additional input from the respondent is then shown.

The Single Email action specifies an email message to be sent to a specific individual. A single email can be sent as a reply to a respondent, or to notify a specific individual that a certain event has occurred (such as a respondent’s request for a representative to call).

You can specify recipient options, timing options (when to send the email) and queue management options for single emails.

The Decision Point action allows Online Marketing to check for a specific condition and perform an action based on the result. A typical use of this action is to check whether the respondent has filled in a particular value in a field of the web document. For example, you can specify that if a certain selection is made from a multiple choice list on a web page, a certain web page is to be shown.

A Decision Point action can only be placed in a flow following a web page with a submit button (Landing Page or Intermediate Page). You can place just about any type of action after this action (except a Landing Page or Standalone Web Page). Actions under the Yes branch are performed when the condition is met, and actions under the No branch are performed when the condition is not met.

The Update Profile action allows you to update the value of any profile attribute with data from an element in a web document, data from another profile attribute, or data that you explicitly specify.

Online Marketing keeps track of all data entered in web documents in order to display the data in CRM Analytics or Dialog Performance Reports. However, no profile attributes are modified unless they are explicitly used in a web document, or you use the Update Profile action.

The Update Profile action serves four basic uses:

  • Conditional Update. It allows you to conditionally update a value in the database. When you use a profile attribute as a question in a web document, that attribute is automatically updated whenever respondent enters a value for the attribute. However, you may want a profile attribute to be updated only if certain other criteria are met.

    One way of doing this is to use a Decision Point to check for the condition, and if it is met, use the Update Profile action to update the profile attribute.

  • Explicit Update. It allows you to update a profile attribute when the attribute is not marked as a profile question. Attributes that are not profile questions cannot be used as questions in a web document, and therefore cannot be automatically updated.

  • Interpreted Update. It allows you to update a value with interpreted data. Sometimes you may want to update an attribute in a profile based on information you have learned from the respondent, such as indicating the respondent as a “hot lead” based on other selections made in the web document.

  • Increment/Decrement an attribute. It allows you to increase by one or decrease by one a numeric profile attribute.

Note: The Basic Organization profile attributes cannot be modified using Update Profile.

The Single SMS Message action specifies an SMS message to be sent to a specific individual.The Single SMS Message action can be placed in the External Event Trigger flow anywhere that a Custom Action can be placed.

The Template Name field must be specified in order for the SMS action to function. You can select a message template from the available list. Note that Online Marketing can only use a predefined message template in the SMS action; you cannot enter a message.

The Broadcast SMS action specifies an SMS message to be sent to one or more target audiences. You can place a Broadcast SMS message in the Date/Time Event Trigger flow in the same positions as the Broadcast Email action

You must specify a Template Name and a language in which to send the SMS message. You select the template from a list of predefined SMS message template; you cannot enter a message. The system sends send the template in the language specified to the mobile handset. If no version of the template exists in the language specified, the system uses the base language version. If you do not specify a language, the system uses the language of the currently signed in user. Only system installed languages are available to choose.

Finally, you must specify an audience. The Audience section content and functions for the Broadcast SMS action are the same as those for the Broadcast Email action’s Audience section.

You can schedule a delay time in the Date/Time trigger to execute the Broadcast SMS action. The Time Option section content and functions are same as the Broadcast Email action’s time option.

The Single Email action specifies a print correspondence message to be sent to a specific individual. The Single Correspondence action can be placed in the External Event Trigger flow same as the Custom Action. After you have selected a Language Code, you will be able to select from the correspondence template packages defined under that language.

When the Single Correspondence action is executed in the Dialog flow, a Correspondence Request is sent and a letter is generated and printed for the current individual. No correspondence is generated if the individual's DO_NOT_CONTACT or DO_NOT MAIL values are set to 'Y,' or if the system cannot identify the individual. You can send correspondence to the roles of Worker, Consumer, and Contacts for Company. The dialog must be in the Live or Staging state in order to send correspondence.

The Single Correspondence action is run asynchronously from other actions at the same level. Thus, actions following Single Correspondence action cannot be dependent upon the outcome of the Single Correspondence action's result.

See Understanding Correspondence and Notification Settings.

The Broadcast Correspondence action specifies a print correspondence message to be sent to one or more target audiences. You can place a Broadcast Correspondence message in the Date/Time Event Trigger flow in the same positions as the Broadcast Email action. After you have selected a Language Code, you will be able to select from the correspondence template packages defined under that language.

You must select an audience to which to send the broadcast correspondence. The dialog must be in the Live or Staging status.

You can schedule a delay time for the Date/Time trigger to execute the Broadcast Correspondence action. The Time Option section content and functions are the same as the Broadcast Email action’s Time Option.

If an audience type associated with the Broadcast Correspondence action is dynamic, the system regenerates the audience before performing the action. If the audience type is static, the system retrieves the recipient’s BO_ID from the existing fixed audience table. No correspondence is generated if the individual's DO_NOT_CONTACT or DO_NOT MAIL values are set to 'Y.' If a recipient appears in more than one audience, the system will generate a copy of the correspondence for each instance of the recipient in an audience. No deduplication is performed.

See Understanding Correspondence and Notification Settings.

The Push Lead action creates Sales leads when a web form is filled out and submitted by a prospect when a prospect submits favorable responses in an online dialog. The Push Lead action can be placed in the External Event Trigger flow in the same places as a Custom Action.

When defining a Push Lead action, you choose a lead rating value (Hot, Cold or Warm), which is defined in the dialog's business unit related SetID. The lead rating values are defined within the Sales application. (Setup CRM > Product Related > Sales > Lead and Opportunities). You can optionally choose a Product ID to be added to the lead. The Product SetID is determined by the business unit of the dialog. If a product ID is chosen, the product is included on the lead when the lead is created.

When it is run, the Push Lead creates a lead in the Lead component with rating and product information. It does not pass dialog questions and answers to the lead table, except to add them in the Push Lead action note. Only new leads are inserted; the action does not update existing leads, nor does it do any duplicate checking. The action sets the Lead Note summary field to “Online Lead from dialog:”+ the current dialog name

Note that because PeopleSoft Sales only supports the Consumer and Contact for Company roles, leads are only created for these roles.

The dialog must be in the Live state.

Leads are automatically assigned to a sales representative only if the ONLINEMARKETING lead source has been configured in the Sales Manage Territory page. Otherwise, the Sales Manager must manually assign the lead to a representative in the Sales component.

The Push Lead action is run asynchronously from other actions at the same level. Thus, actions following it cannot be dependent upon the outcome of the Push Lead action.

Online Marketing is currently used to obtain dialog or survey responses from respondents. The survey response information is used to determine whether further follow-up is required to track issues captured from the survey. In such scenarios, a Case is automatically created. This is useful for Higher Education customers to create Student Retention surveys designed to take appropriate follow-up action if a Student provides negative responses to the survey.

When an Audience member responds to the survey, a Case is created and the member is associated to the case. If the Audience member is an invalid Business Object, the Case is not created. All errors encountered during the Case Creation action are logged.

To create a Case, Quick Code information needs to be captured. Choosing Quick Code is mandatory. The Quick Codes available for selection are defined by the Call Center Business Unit. You can setup Quick Codes by navigating to Setup CRM > Product Related > Call Center > Quick Code. Quick Codes also determine the Provider Group and Agent to whom the Case is assigned to. Quick codes can be selected using a prompt field. There is also a transfer to page button next to the prompt button, which transfers the user to the Quick code page.

The Call Center Business Unit is a display only field that is shown based on the definition in the Online Marketing Business Unit page. You can set up Call Center Business Units by navigating to Setup CRM > Business Unit Related > Online Marketing Definition.

The elements that are captured when a Case is created are:

Field or Control

Definition

Name and Description

Used to display Create Case action information on the dialog flow screen.

Call Center Business Unit

Display only field that is shown based on the Call Center Business Unit associated to the Online Marketing Business Unit definition.

Quick Code

Quick Codes that are available for selection. Quick Codes are defined by the Call Center Business Unit.

Problem Summary

Short description of the problem. This is mapped to Case Summary when a Case is created.

Description

Long description of the problem summary. This is mapped to Case Details when a Case is created.

Note Summary

Short description of the note. This is mapped to Case Note Subject.

Note Description

Long description of Note Summary. This is mapped to Case Note Details.

Cases created from Online Marketing Dialogs will be captured with the Source as ‘Online Marketing’. The Case that is created against the Call Center Business Unit inherits details such as Provider Group, Assigned To and Display Template from the Quick Code. The Display Templates available for selection in Quick Code are derived from the corresponding Display Templates in the Call Center Business Unit definition.