Main Configuration

Last modified by aheadWorks on Fri, May 22, 2009 07:48
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Help Desk Ultimate (HDU) is an integrated Magento ticketing and customer care solution by aheadWorks Co.

Main Configuration

In order to retrieve email messages by POP3 the extension needs to be launched by cron. If you have already configured cron jobs for your Magento installation then you can skip this step. Read the following instructions on setting cron job for your Magento store:

Generally it would be enough to run in SSH console of your server:

crontab -e

And insert the following line:

*/3 * * * * php /<path-to-your-installation/cron.php

Then exit confirming save request.

Main configuration interface of the extension is located under System > Configuration > aheadWorks Extensions > Help Desk. You need to define the options here thoroughly to ensure proper functioning of HDU.

POP3 Options

  • Email address - the address which is used in Reply to headers of emails sent by HDU, e.g.
  • Server address - your POP3 server address, e.g.
  • Port - the server port, 110 by default
  • Username - user name of the mailbox
  • Password - its password
  • Use SSL - select Yes if your server supports SSL
  • Auto assign departments on email reply - select Yes if you wish HDU to check from which support email address a reply comes and automatically (re)assign the ticket to this department. E.g. there is a ticket which has been sent to General department. A support person received email notification about the ticket and replied from the mail client. With “Auto assign” on, HDU would automatically change the ticket department to the one from which the email reply has been sent.

General Department Settings

General department is the default department of your help desk. In case you need to split tickets between departments you can always add more of them. Some of the fields are explained below:

  • Email - email address to which all notifications for the department would be sent
  • Sender - is used as From address in emails sent to department/customer. Normally it’s the same as Email. Email addresses for this select box are configured in Configuration > Store Email Addresses.
  • Use email notifications - set Yes if you wish to receive email notifications about new tickets and replies
  • Then you can define email templates for different actions. Go to System > Transactional Emails to edit a template or create your own.

Advanced Options

  • Show departments selector on frontend - allows you to choose whether to give your customers ability to select a department when creating a ticket. If set to No - your customers would never see you have different departments, whether you actually have them or no. This option allows you create hidden departments, e.g. for different languages or different stores.
  • Create new tickets from email - defines whether HDU should create a new ticket when a message with no ticket ID comes to Email address from POP3 options above.

Modules Integration

  • Product Questions - allows to create new tickets automatically from Product Questions by aheadWorks extension
  • Contact Form - automatically create ticket from the standard contact form submissions

Departments Configuration

By default you already have a general department configured above, read on if you need more. Departments of your Help Desk can be configured under Help Desk > Departments. Click “Add New” to create one. All fields are the same as in “General Department Settings” above plus the following:

  • Primary Store - assigns primary store for the department, all tickets created from the store would automatically be assigned to the department. E.g. if you have multilingual stores, you can set Show departments selector on frontend to ‘No’ and assign primary departments to your stores. This way your customers don’t even see other stores department, and their messages always go to the assigned primary department.

Making Tickets from Contact Form

This is very simple. Just go to System > Configuration > Contacts, and set Send Emails To to the address configured in POP3 Options above. Make sure Create new tickets from email in Advanced Options of HDU is set to Yes (default). Interfaces

As you probably already learned, from the admin/support staff side all tickets and configuration panels are located under Help Desk menu point. From the customer side Help Desk creates a new navigation entry Help Desk which presents interface of working with current tickets and creating new ones.

Email Communications and Parsing

POP3 engine

All email communications in HDU come through the gateway mailbox defined in POP3 settings of the extension. Emails sent by HDU always have this address in Reply to header, so when replying to a message it would always come to this address. Then the system fetches it and parses into a ticket. Please note the difference between From and Reply to email headers: normally recipient sees From header as a message sender. In out case it’s department email address. At the same time “Reply to” header contains HDU’s mailbox defined in POP3 settings. When HDU receives a new message it first checks whether the email subject contains a ticket ID. If there is an ID - the message content is added to the ticket and notification to other party is sent. If there is no ticket ID and Create new tickets from email is Yes - then a new ticket from this email is created. If Create new tickets from email is No - no actions undertaken. All parties who receive ticket notifications from HDU can reply to the email from any mail client - the message would be attached to the ticket and resent to the other party. Normally, ticket notifications look like

[#MHM-27570] Ticket replied: {ticket title}


[#KEJ-23730] New ticket created: {ticket title}

Templates and Variables

There are 4 email templates, located at app/locale/en_US/template/email/helpdeskultimate.

New ticket templates:

  • new_to_admin.html - notifications sent to admin when new ticket created.
  • new_to_customer.html - notification to customer about new ticket


var_ticket.content - ticket text var_ticket.uid - ticket id var_ticket.title - ticket title var_ticket.customer_name - customer name var_ticket.customer_email - customer email - ticket department

Ticket replied templates:

  • reply_to_admin.html - notification about reply in ticket sent to admin
  • reply_to_customer.html - notification about reply in ticket sent to customer

Variables the same as above and:

var_message.content - reply text

Ways to Create and Reply to a Ticket

A ticket can be created from admin or customer interface, contact form or any other form (see configuration above), or by email message. Interface

For administrator or support staff go to Help Desk > View Tickets and click “Add New” in the right upper corner. From there you can also assign the ticket to a department and a customer. As a customer go to your account, navigate to Help Desk menu and click Add ticket.


For anyone, inlcuding customers not registered in your Magento store, it’s enough to send a message to the address configured in POP3 settings. If Create new tickets from email option is Yes (default) then a new ticket would be created from the message and general department notified by email. Any ticket notification from HDU can be replied from any email client, the only requirement is to leave the ticket ID in subject intact. All replies will be attached to the ticket.