A year in review: What we built at Front in 2017

As we jump into 2018 with gusto here at Front, we wanted to take a moment to step back and reflect on our progress over the last year.

Customer input is very important to us, so we use a public Trello board where you can upvote the features you want most. When we’re putting together our product roadmap, we look at the top requested features and use those to shape what we take on next.

Here’s what we built in 2017 to bring you new ways to communicate in Front, enable you to write better, faster replies, and help your team work better together.

Powering new communication channels

Front Chat

Live website chat was one of our top requested features, so this year, we launched our own live chat solution, Front Chat. With Front Chat, you can message customers from your website instantly, right from Front. It allows you to get the full picture of customer conversations because you can see every support ticket, email, and live chat you’ve exchanged with them, all in one place. Front Chat has flexible add-on pricing so your whole team can either see or send Front Chat conversations, and managing billing is easy from a single Front invoice.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/0n7mvah8nf58f1n/6%20-%20Front%20Chat.png?dl=0

Office 365 shared inboxes

We built Office 365 shared mailboxes as a channel, so even more people can enjoy using Front to manage their group email. Admins can easily create an Office 365 inbox in Front, and teams can collaborate and reply to messages there just like their other shared inboxes.

Talkdesk

We made “voice” a channel in Front to bring even more of your communications into one place. Using Talkdesk’s custom automations, you can sync call history and data in Front. With email, live chat, social media, and call activity in Front, you can get the full picture of every conversation you’ve had with a customer.

Google Play Store

Customer reviews are an important way your customers communicate with you, so we brought those reviews into your inbox, too. With the Google Play Store integration in Front, you can read and reply to your Android app’s reviews. Since your reviews are in one place with your other messages, you can access the full scope of your reviewers to monitor their experience and give better replies.

Helping your team work like a team

Front Teams

A top voted feature on our Trello board, we built Front Teams to give you the flexibility and admin controls you need to use Front across your entire company. Rather than juggling multiple Front accounts for separate user groups, Admins can manage multiple Teams in one account, with billing and access controls all in one place. Each Team has its own separate inboxes, tags, canned responses, rules, analytics, and more.

Teams in Front

Custom roles and permissions

To give you more control over your team’s Front inboxes, we made it possible for you to create customizable permission roles for your team beyond default Team Admin and Team Member. Limit access for new hires or less experienced teammates while they ramp up, prevent people from seeing messages they don’t need, and keep your messages on-brand with custom roles. Everyone on your team can see and do exactly what they need in Front — no more, no less.

Team signatures

Team Admins can create and customize standard team signatures, so everyone can send more consistent, professional messages every time. Toggle settings to make team signatures available to individual channels. Though it's a team signature, you can still use variables like {{user.name}} and {{user.email}} so that the personal info of each teammate will be displayed.

Teammate notifications in rules

Add another layer of automation to your rules in Front with the “notify teammate” action. Choose to notify a specific teammate — or multiple teammates — for any message that meet certain conditions. For instance, if a support message hasn't been replied to in 24 hours, notify Cori, your support lead.

Enabling you to write better responses, faster

New message composer

A new message composer in Front brings an intuitive design and better customization to your messages. Access your canned responses, tag a message, add a calendar event, share a draft, and format your message easily from the bar at the bottom of the composer. You can also save your preferred default options to work faster in the future.

Quick reply messaging

Your message composer switches to “quick reply” mode to help you respond better to real-time conversations. Specifically built to manage live chat, “quick reply” lets you respond faster to messages from Front Chat, Intercom, Smooch, Twilio SMS, and Facebook. “Quick reply” lets you hit “enter” to send messages, so you can easily send multiple messages in a row when you’re replying.

You can also use keyboard shortcuts to navigate your inbox faster in “quick reply”: up and down arrows move between message threads. Hitting “r” opens the composer, and “esc” closes it.

Mail merging and sequences

We built mail merge and sequence functionality so you can personalize your mass messages to customers and create a series of automatic follow ups. Set up a sequence for specific Front contacts or contact groups, or upload a CSV of recipients. When you’re writing, use variables to insert customer data from their contact record into the message. Just type “{{“ to see a list of all available contact fields, and click one to insert it. Choose from options like recipient first name, last name, phone number, city, Twitter handle, job title, and more.

Customizing your workspace to fit your team

Integrations

Integrations in Front allow you to work even faster by bringing all the apps you use every day into your Front inbox. We worked on building and enhancing dozens of new integrations, so you can manage even more tools from one place.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ck68gjxey4lspvr/4%20-%20Salesforce%20integration.png?dl=0

These are just a few additions from 2017:

Salesforce: Create and convert Salesforce leads, accounts, contacts, opportunities, and cases – right from Front.

Shopify: We improved our Shopify integration so you can connect as many stores as you need with Front.

JIRA: Create a JIRA task directly in Front and work faster. Front reopens conversations when you resolve JIRA issues linked to them, so you can close the loop with customers.

GitHub: Create new GitHub issues or link messages with open issues from Front. When a GitHub issue is closed, linked conversations will automatically reopen in Front.

Asana: Manage your projects straight from the source. Link Front messages with open Asana tasks or create new tasks right in Front.

Clearbit: Enrich your Front contacts with Clearbit data like job title, company size, industry, or more. Respond to customer emails with the context you need in Front.

Tagging customization

Organize your inbox with team tags that are available to everyone, or private tags, that are visible only to you. Customize your workspace by pinning tags you use often, so your inbox stays clean and you can find the tags you need faster. Tag messages with colors or emojis to locate messages easily as you scroll through your inbox.

Wondering what we’re working on next at Front? Scope out our product roadmap, and don’t hesitate to upvote the features you want most. We love hearing your feedback!💪

P.S. Our last, but not least, big change from 2017? We raised our Series B round. Read more on why we raised the funds on our blog, and in this Medium post from Mathilde Collin, our co-founder and CEO.