FogBugz - Build a Help Desk in 5 Minutes



If you are a startup just gathering requests for access to your beta – or an established company with an existing customer base – you likely understand the importance of maintaining a positive relationship with customers.

Customer service and support requests can come in different forms and involve complicated processes. However, you can get a simple email-based customer service team setup with FogBugz in about 5 minutes.


Set up an account

To begin with, you will need a FogBugz On Demand account. If you haven’t set up an account yet – take 30 seconds and get started now.  This will create a free, 14 day, fully functional account where you can begin interacting with customers immediately.

What does FogBugz provide “out of the box”?

  • You have a working email address to receive emails. Just send an email to cases@<Your FogBugz URL>  (This address comes pre-baked into FogBugz – but you can add your own custom emails easily as well)
  • Your trial has two projects created – an Inbox project and a Sample Project. The Inbox project is set to sort inbound emails. That email you sent to your cases@  email address will appear in this project as a Case.
  • You have two initial users set up – one for you and an “Unassigned” Virtual User for the work queue.


Add your customer team

Go to the Avatar Icon and select Users.

Click “Add New User” at the bottom. Your team will generally consist of Normal or Admin users (more details here).


Add your custom “help” email address

Now that the team has been brought into FogBugz, set up the email address you’d like customers to use to reach out. One example is If you prefer, you can also stick with the preset cases@<your FogBugz URL>
Simply go to the Avatar Icon again, and select Mailboxes. (You’ll need to know your mail server connection information.)


Once you’ve added your mail configuration details, FogBugz will check this email account and convert these emails into FogBugz cases. Test this out by sending an email to your help address and watch the magic happen. More about POP3 and IMAP


Next up, more mail settings!

In addition to the basic connection settings needed to allow FogBugz to read in email, there are other settings that you may also want to adjust:

  • Reply Automatically

When “Reply Automatically” is set to “On”, FogBugz will send an automatic reply to all incoming emails. This lets your customer know their inquiry has been received. You can turn this notice off or update the reply’s message content.  Make sure to include “Case {case}” in your subject so that replies to the auto reply are automatically linked to the existing case.


  • Due

When an email is converted to a case, you can set a due date automatically. This ensures your customers receive timely responses. The default is set to leave the Due field blank but you can easily turn this on and set the value.

  • Auto-sort

Your Inbox project came pre-configured with three default Areas (Undecided, Spam, Not Spam). When an email arrives, FogBugz learns to automatically sort cases into these areas. FogBugz Autosort helps keep the focus on important customer emails.

The Autosort setting is enabled by default but can be disabled for each configured Mailbox.


Time to create your queue!

By default, the FogBugz account creator is the Primary Contact for the initial projects. With the updates we’ve made above, the account creator will be assigned ALL cases by default for customer emails. To avoid this, you can use the “Unassigned” Virtual User as the Primary Contact to create a queue.

Go to the Avatar Icon and select the Users item.  Next, edit the Virtual User named “Unassigned”. The Virtual User can receive email notifications so you could use a group email alias. Alternatively, you can edit the “Unassigned” user to disable email notifications.

Using this Virtual User, you can adjust Project Inbox to make the Virtual User the Primary Contact for the project. To do this, go to the Avatar Icon and select Projects. Next edit the “Inbox” project.

You’ll notice that the Primary Contact is set to your account (assuming you’re the one who created the FogBugz account). Change the Primary Contact field to the Virtual User you edited.

Scroll to the bottom of the Project page and select ‘OK’ to save.

Now give yourself a pat on the back – your Help Desk is ready to go! You’ve configured your custom email and set up a queue for your team members to pull cases from. When a case arrives, it will be assigned to your Virtual User. Your Help Desk team can begin responding to cases and delighting your customers.