Getting the Right Notifications to the Right People: A Tutorial

Are you struggling to get the right notifications to the right people at the right time?

Every organization has its experts. When your customers and users reach out, you want them to land with the person or department that best suits their needs. When an important lead or information that needs to be acted on fast comes through, you want it to go straight to the person or people that can act on it. This sounds like a no brainer, but a good notification system can appear difficult to implement.

You may have tried having a single person monitor incoming communications. That ties up a person that could be more productive elsewhere and is subject to human error.

You may have tried listing out individual or department contact info on your website and letting users pick who they need to contact. Probably not the best idea 🙂

You may even have tried setting up different contact forms that each route notifications to different departments. Even that is more maintenance and overhead than you need to be worrying with.

A smart form is the solution you’re looking for

Customers and users will usually know what they need before they know who in your organization to reach out to. Even when they don’t know what they need yet, carefully guided questions can let you identify what they need based on their answers.

You don’t need someone dedicated to parsing their answers and routing requests.

You just need a smart form. A form that identifies who in your organization they need to connect with, and then notifies that party.

It’s easy to set up conditional email and other notifications, and we can walk you through it in about five minutes!

How to build a smart form that sends conditional email to people and departments

There’s only two general steps to the process. One is building out a single form to gather user information. The other is setting up that form to send a conditional email to the specific department that the user needs to connect with. First let’s look at the tools you need to have in place.

Tools to get the job done

  1. Ninja Forms
  2. Ninja Forms’ Conditional Logic extension

Step 1: Build out a single smart form to learn what the user needs

Depending on what YOU need, this form may be considerably more or less complex. We’ll use the Ninja Forms prebuilt Quote Request form as an example below. As you can see, it simply asks the user what service they need from the company, and the urgency of that need:

If you require something more complex, the form doesn’t have to look more complex (and more intimidating) to the user on first contact. You can set your form up to hide extra fields initially, and show them only when they become relevant based on your users’ choices.

For example, if you have multiple products that a user may need support with, you can display a list of those products if and only if the user clicks the Support option from the list. These are called dynamic fields, and you can learn how to set them up at that link!

Now that we have a form set up, lets look at creating conditional email notifications for it.

Step 2: Setting up conditional email notifications to be sent to specific people or departments

Setting up email to fire out when the form submits is as simple as adding an email action to your form. First you’ll want one email action for each person or department that may need to be notified:

  1. Click the Emails and Actions tab in the form builder
  2. Add one email action for each department (click the little blue circle in the bottom right of your screen to slide open the actions menu window to add additional email actions)
  3. Name each action and configure it appropriately. Most importantly you’ll want the To address to be set for the department that needs to receive the email if and only if this option has been selected by the user.

Next, and finally, we’ll configure the conditional logic that turns each email action into a conditional email. Click on any email action and expand the Conditional Logic settings of that action:

I’ve chosen the Consultation option for this example, and we’ll set it up to send only when this option has been chosen by the user. Here is the logic you want to apply:

[Process This] action WHEN [What Services May We Assist You With]  [Has Selected] the [Consultation] radio list option.

This action will now fire only when the user has selected the Consultation option from the form’s radio list. Now apply the same logic to each email action, subbing out [Consultation] for the relevant department in each.

BONUS: Conditional sms/text notifications and more!

In Step 1 above we built out the form to allow the user to indicate the urgency of the request. If a user reports a high urgency support situation, you might want to have a key individual like department head notified immediately. Email works, but you can also send notifications through other more personal channels.

Twilio and Clicksend will both trigger sms/text notifications to an individual’s cell number. Each extension adds an action to your form that can have the same conditional logic as described above applied to them. In this scenario, a high urgency request or lead submission can ping an individual’s phone directly.

You can even ping channels in Slack or create Trello cards! 🙂

If you’ve followed the steps above, getting form notifications to just the right people will never be an issue again

Time is money. Your employee’s time is money. Never waste time and resources dedicated to filtering and routing form submissions again. If you’ve followed the steps outlined above, you now have a form that will collect input from a user and send conditional email (or other notifications) to just the people that need to handle that request.

We’d love to hear how you’re using Ninja Forms for getting information to the people that need it. Even more, we’d love to hear what else we can do to help you. Let us know by sounding off in the comments below, or drop us a line in our support queue with a feature request! General questions about this process? Ask ’em below!