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… is an information distribution coordinator. He is specialized in
technical issues and optimizing processes.
Nowadays, most people have a mobile phone, and all mobile phones
can receive SMS messages. This is why SMS is the perfect way to
reach operators outside ofce hours, or to alert them to urgent calls,
or to reach operators outside ofce hours. Such messages are also a
good way to keep callers up to date on the status of their call.
TOPdesk’s Event Management module lets you send
HTTP requests to SMS service providers. For this
article, we will use MessageBird as our example.
You send TOPdesk data from a card, such as the
brief description or the caller’s telephone number,
using an HTTP request. The SMS supplier sends the
actual SMS message and processes any responses.
MessageBird divides messages longer than 160
characters into several SMS messages, and charges
The following technical steps are required:
1. Create a MesssageBird account: https://www.messagebird.com/en/user/create. The
frst three SMS messages are free. Use TOPdesk’s Action Explorer to create one or more
HTTP requests for your desired card. Enter the following data: server: api.messagebird.
com, port: 80, frst line: POST, URL and HTTP/1.1. (Test the URL in a web browser before
flling it in.)
2. Indicate where the action should be active: Self Service Desk and/or the Operator’s
3. Activate the action by clicking Active.
4. Create one or more events to trigger sending a message.
5. Link the event(s) to the action(s).
6. Refresh the TOPdesk system settings and reopen a card to apply the change.
24 WORKING SMARTER
Photography: Robin Kuijs
Controlling MessageBird via HTTP request
The HTTP request URL comprises the following elements:
• MessageBird account login name and password
• Recipient (or recipients’) telephone number
• Message content
• Message sender (can be a name or a telephone number)
• Reaction type (for status information for the operator)
• Method of sending (standard SMS, business SMS or text to speech)
You can try the following URL:
To use the URL in TOPdesk, replace the values with TOPdesk insertion
felds, remove ‘http://api.messagebird.com’ and enclose the URL within
\U and \u. The HTTP request will then look as follows:
In this example, TOPdesk sends an SMS message to the operator’s
mobile phone number. Other commonly used places in TOPdesk to
register relevant telephone numbers are:
• Operator Group
• Contact for linked object
If necessary, create optional felds on the cards listed above to register
the recipient’s number.
TOPdesk displays response codes if you select Show response in
the HTTP request. It is possible to only display a reaction when the
response code is not equal to 01|OK (Are not present). This means
that you will only receive a response when a message is not delivered.
It may be worth keeping an eye on this during testing when you
manually send SMS messages from the Operator’s Section. After
adjusting the HTTP request, it is not necessary to refresh the TOPdesk
system settings or reopen the card.
Sending an SMS to a group
You can send an SMS message straight to several recipients by adding
the telephone numbers, separated by commas. It is also possible to
create a group within MessageBird and enter this as the recipient. You
can determine which recipients are in a group. MessageBird is working
on a functionality allowing people to add or remove themselves from
a group by sending an SMS message. This lets operators log in at the
start of their shift, and log out when they are off duty.
Processing message responses
You can assign &inbox=true instead of &sender. If you do this, the
responses to the SMS message will be sent to a general MessageBird
mobile number, after which it can be automatically forwarded. An
example: if a call is sent to an Operator Group via SMS, the frst
response from an operator can be automatically sent to the caller or
the Operator Group. You can forward responses to an email address,
URL or mobile number. If desired, you can adjust the set up so that the
sender immediately receives a response. This lets them know that their
message was received.
TIP: you can manually send an SMS message from a card
in TOPdesk. To do this, create HTTP requests and indicate
the context menus for which they are available under
Special events. This is a useful step to verify whether
or not the action works, even if you automate the
trigger. When testing, you can include the &test=true
parameter. The API will respond, but MessageBird will not
send the message – and will not charge any credits.
WORKING SMARTER 25
26 WORKING SMARTER
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that are topical in the world of
professional service desks in IT, facilities
and other service providing organizations.
TOPdesk Magazine is intended for
managers, service desk employees,
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city councils – anyone who is involved
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This concerns both the processes and the
technology behind these services.
TOPdesk Magazine is a TOPdesk
Tel: +44 (0) 207 803 4200
Editor-in-chief: Milou Snaterse
Editors: Nienke Deuss, Timme Hos,
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Translators: Leah Clarke, Nicola van der
Contributors: Nienke Best, Ron van
Haasteren, Fiona IJkema, Patrick Mackaaij,
Layout: Louise van der Laak
Photography: Menno van der Bijl, Aad
Hoogendoorn, Robin Kuijs
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A print run of 7,500
Languages: Dutch, English
Sending callers SMS alerts
You can enable callers to send an SMS message to operators. To do this, create an event that
triggers on the Call type feld. Add an entry such as ‘Urgent call via SMS’ to the drop-down list.
You can add more information to the form using an additional comment on the frst line Call
Card via Module Settings > Self Service Desk > Call Management.
Business SMS for improved reception
If you pay a surcharge of 20 per cent, you can be even more confdent that the SMS message
reaches the receiver’s mobile phone. Change gateway_id to 1 in order to have MessageBird
send the message straight to the recipient’s telecom provider. To send the SMS as a spoken
message, change gateway_id to 8. MessageBird sends the message using computerized text-
to-speech. Soon recipients will be able to choose to listen to the message again. Until then, you
can send (short) messages twice in &body.
MessageBird’s prices incorporate incremented discount: if you purchase more messages,
the price per credit drops from 13 to 6.5 eurocents. MessageBird can automatically send a
notifcation and create a new invoice once your credits drop below a specifc threshold.
If you wish to screen off your server communication, or check whether a message was
sent by MessageBird, you can whitelist MessageBird. For more information, please consult
MessageBird’s HTTP SMS API Technical Specifcation document. You can use your own
MessageBird mobile number (VMN) to further automate the processing of received messages.
You can fnd more examples at www.messagebird.com/en/sms-explore.
In practice: Spar Netherlands
Spar Netherlands uses the SMS integration between the telephone exchange and the telecom
provider to send SMS messages. Instead of sending SMS messages directly from TOPdesk, Spar
Netherlands has incorporated an extra step for more fexibility. TOPdesk creates a task fle for
an SMS message for a specifc form or card feld. If a specifc fle exists, the server triggers a
script. This script sends an SMS message to a group of recipients, based on the name of the fle.
The recipient can be a caller who has requested a password reset, but the message can also be
sent to one or more branches in the event of a malfunction or recall. The lists of the recipients’
mobile numbers are exported from the CRM system on a daily basis.
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