External Access allows people not registered in your smartQ account to add tickets (through email or an external form). Those external users (also called here Clients) can access those tickets through a simplified interface, and track their progress, without going through any registration process. This allows you to use smartQ in areas like help desk, online support, etc.
You can enable External Access through the "options" menu on the top (available to Account Administrators only) by picking the project that the external tickets will be posted into.
The project the External tickets will be posted into is marked with an "E" icon in the projects dropdown and is placed on very top of the list:
When a client submits a ticket through email or external form, he/she gets an email notification with access to the simplified smartQ interface where the ticket progress can be tracked. Registered smartQ users can see this ticket in their full-featured smartQ interface.
Below are the description of all the steps. Let's say a client sends an email to create a ticket:
The ticket appears in smartQ, inside the project you specified to "catch" those emails:
The Client (External User, not registered in your smartQ account) gets an email notification confirming that the ticket was created:
The email contains the link to this ticket - to a simplified smartQ interface designed for Clients. To access this interface, there is no need to go through any registration. The ticket page contains only the ticket name, description and an area for comments on the right:
Below is the same ticket viewed by smartQ users in the full-featured interface. smartQ user is posting a message into the ticket - notice that the email notification is enabled by default and the Client is automatically selected as a recipient:
The Client can see all the communication through the simplified interface:
Clients can post his/her own messages through the simplified interface or by simply replying to the email notifications (and just manage the communication through emails). Clients can not see the workflow setup for their tickets - all the stages it goes through. They can only see the tickets either as Opened or Closed. A ticket is considered closed when it is moved to the last column in the main interface - the Client gets an email notification about it. A Client can also close the ticket at any time (but he/she can not delete a ticket already submitted). The ticket can be also re-opened - an email notification will be sent to the Client about that too.
External Tickets can be submitted also through an external form (and this form can be embedded into your own website):
After a ticket is created, the Client gets access to the ticket simplified view. smartQ detects that this Client has multiple tickets created (using the same email) and offers the Client to create a smartQ Client Account:
The registration (which is optional) gives the Client the possibility to track all his/her tickets through one interface, instead of a separate screen for each of them - through the Registered Client simplified interface:
Once the tickets are closed (moved to the last column in the main interface, or simply closed by the Client), they are moved to the "Closed Tickets" tab:
Registered Clients can also open new tickets directly through this interface, using the "add ticket" button on the top right - that gives them a third way to create tickets.
To sum it up:
External Access allows you to use smartQ as a platform for managing a support desk (issue management, bug tracking, etc).