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Guide - 5 Min Read

Individual inbox productivity in Front

When we started Front, we took email as you know it and added a few game-changing improvements. With email that works more efficiently, you have more time to make an impact. Here we’ll walk you through the many ways you can organize your inbox and focus on work that matters.

Set your preferences

Control your notifications

That ping! sound from a notification can quickly snap you out of the zone.  Edit your notifications so you’re able to focus on work with only the most necessary interruptions, or so you can keep track of the important work you need to pay attention to across your inbox and team inboxes. You can have different notifications for your desktop, mobile, and email.

Add and edit signatures

Set up multiple personal signatures that you can toggle between when ending a message. They’ll be accessible whether you’re writing from your individual inbox or your team inbox, so you can save time and focus more on the customer message than your sign-off. 

Open, archive, & snooze

Open messages are your to-do list

The goal with Front is to achieve inbox zero every single day . To do this, start with your open messages in your personal inbox and treat it as your to-do list. Can you respond right away and be done with it? Go for it. If not, snooze it or assign it to someone else so it’s not left sitting there with no action.

Snooze to take action later

When you come across a message that you don’t have time for right now, you can snooze it for a time when you’re ready to handle it. Rather than writing down on a Post-It to check back later and letting the email gather dust in your inbox, the snoozed message will just reappear in your inbox when the time is right. You can snooze messages for later in the day, or months from now — choose the day and time that works best for you. 

snooze gif

Pro tip: when you’re sending a message and you want to make sure to follow up if it doesn’t receive a response, click “Send and Snooze” and choose a time to be reminded to check back in. 

Archive means no action is needed

Rather than leaving read messages that don’t require an immediate response left to clutter up your inbox, archive them. When you archive a message in Front, it means no more action is needed on it. If the customer replies, the message will resurface back into your Open view. You can easily go to the archive tab at any point and reopen a message if you need to. And because archived messages are saved forever, it’s simple to search for old messages at any time.

Follow conversations

Subscribe to read all updates to a thread

Want to follow a conversation to make sure you can read through or give input later? Hit Subscribe. This means the conversation will pop back up in your inbox with every new action that’s made — like a comment or a reply.

subscribe and mute image

Mute to only be notified if you’re mentioned

No longer need to be a part of a message? Cut the noise with Mute, so you can stay focused. Mute means you won’t get notified of new comments or replies on a message — unless you’re directly @mentioned.

Prioritize work with tags

Create new tags to categorize your work

Tags act similarly to folders in that they categorize your work. They’re especially useful in helping you prioritize your day and avoid context switching at every new email. For example, if you create a tag for a specific project, you can handle all related messages at once rather having them interspersed with support requests. Some other examples are:

  • Product launches 🚀

  • Marketing requests 🎥

  • Feedback 💙

tag gif

Personal tags are only seen by you, whereas team tags can be created for use by everyone.

Pin common tags to your workspace

You can pin your most commonly used tags to your workspace for easy reference. Is a project over, but you don’t want to delete the tag altogether in case you need to refer to it again later? Unpin it in your settings.

Star important emails 

Clicking the ️star button at the top right of an email immediately sends it to the ‘Starred’ tag, which is automatically pinned to your personal workspace in Front. This is a great tool for signaling to yourself which messages are most crucial for the day. And, it makes it easy to refer back to critical messages later — just click into the Starred section to see your top priority items. 

star gif

Eliminate busywork with personal message templates and rules

Reply to routine messages with message templates

You can save message templates for emails you find yourself typing up often. They allow you to respond faster and lessen the monotony of replying to frequently asked questions – and save time. You can save personal message templates that are visible to you, or create message templates to be used in a team inbox. This is great for keeping a unified voice across your whole team. 

canned response gif

Alternatively, ever been frustrated when family members keep using your work email rather than your personal? Save a message template like:

“I love you but please stop emailing me at work. Thank you.” 

Easy peasy. 

Automate admin work with personal rules

It’s an all too common feeling when you get to noon and feel like all you’ve done is organize and sort through your inbox. Rules do that for you. They’re easy to set up and very customizable, so you can work exactly the way you like.

Rules follow a “When _____, if _____, then _____.” For example:

When: there’s an inbound message
If: the inbox is [inbox name] and from an email address that contains [@domainname.com]
Then: Add tag [select tag]

You could make a rule that routes by keyword, so if a project name is included in it the email will be directly routed to your project tag. Or, maybe you make a rule that sends messages that you haven’t responded to within a day to an ‘Urgent’ tag. If your mom didn’t listen and keeps emailing you at work, make a rule that archives all messages from her (just kidding, don’t do that to moms – moms are great). 

Keep learning

One Pager - 6 Min ReadUsing Front like a pro: 5 tips for taking your inbox to the next level
You’re assigning and snoozing messages like there’s no tomorrow, leaving comments left and right, maybe even tagging messages to stay organized…sounds like you’re on your way to being a Front pro! Now that you’ve had some time to get your bearings, take your productivity to the next level with these more advanced tips for using Front. We recommend you check these out after you’ve had a chance to work in Front for a few weeks — or if you’re feeling super comfortable with it. If you’ve just started using Front, check out these seven tips for getting started for an overview of the basics before reading on. 1. Automate your work with rules In Front, you can make “rules” to boost your productivity. Rules let you automate workflows you often repeat by using “if, then” statements — guidelines that tell your inbox what to do with certain messages. For instance, “if an inbound message contains "urgent support", then add the tag "Urgent". Individual Rules vs. Team Rules Everyone can make rules for their individual inbox. Depending on the level of permission you have in Front, you might also be able to create Team Rules, as well. Individual rules only work for messages to your individual work email, while team rules can apply to your shared inboxes. Make your own rules Here’s a popular rule you can try setting up for your individual inbox: For any message you receive that’s unreplied for a certain time period, say 2 days, then tag that message as Needs Reply❗️ so you can easily see what you need to prioritize. Want to see some other interesting rules teams have set up in Front? Check out our Rules Directory for a few of our favorites, and read more tips on building rules. 2. Get all the context you need When you’re responding to customers, you usually need to open other apps to get the information you need to reply. Good news! Whether you need to view a project timeline in Asana or grab some customer data from Salesforce, you can access all that information without ever leaving Front. Integrations & Plugins Click the circular button in the top right corner of Front to access your integrations and plugins, right next to your messages. Most often, your Team Admin will choose which integrations to set up for your whole team. Check out the whole list of Front integrations, and if you see one that might be useful for your team, ask your Team Admin about getting it set up. Contact Details Along with integrations and plugins, you’ll also see a section called “Contact Details”. Here you can access every conversation you’ve had with a contact — emails, tweets, live chats, or any other communication channel you have set up in Front. You can also leave notes in your Contact Details, so you don’t forget important information about certain customers. 3. Take control of your work schedule Front has a few different features that allow you to break free from constant email notifications, so you can get time for deep focus, or a little relaxation. You can set up vacation responders like you would with traditional email, but you can also change your status in Front, and specify “Do not Disturb” times for peace and quiet from notifications. Create a vacation responder Under “Settings”, “My responses”, and “Vacation responders”, you can create and save as many vacation responders as you need. Front allows you to get more granular with your responder than you can with Gmail or Outlook: Choose specific channels you want to send to, set a schedule, and attach files. Keep in mind, your vacation responder only works for messages that come to your individual inbox. If you’re looking to create an auto-reply for team inboxes, you can do that using rules. Set your status in Front Find your status in Front by clicking your icon and “Available.” From there, you can choose from three options: Out of Office: When you’re OOO, any shared inbox messages that are assigned to you will be automatically unassigned, so the rest of your team knows to work on them instead. Mute: This will prevent you from receiving any of the notifications you usually get from Front. Mute can be useful for times when you really need to buckle down and focus on your work. Do Not Disturb: Specify a daily time when you won’t receive notifications. When this is switched on, it applies every day. Do Not Disturb is great for building some quiet time into your schedule, whether it’s to get work done notification-free, or just to relax and recharge outside work hours. 4. Work through your messages faster You’re likely already collaborating with your team using comments and @mentions in Front — and maybe you’re snoozing messages and setting reminders too! Here are a few more ways you can breeze through your inbox and never miss a conversation: Share drafts: Work on a reply with a teammate by typing a reply in your composer, then clicking the “Share draft” icon next to the “Send” button. This will allow your team to see a message you’ve typed up, and if they have something to add, they can edit in real time and send. Send options: Click the drop down arrow next to your “Send” button to choose from three different ways to send a message: “Send”, “Send + Archive”, and “Send Later”. To help you work through your messages faster, set a default send preference for all your messages under “Settings” and “My preferences”. Send: When you send a reply, the thread will stay in your “Open” folder, until you archive it. Send + Archive: When your send a reply, the thread will automatically move to your “All” folder, so you know it’s been worked on, and you don’t need to reply. Send later: You can specify an exact date and time you want the message to send. Once you specify a time to send, the message will remain as a draft until that time (so you can go back and edit it if you need.) Search: Front has an Advanced Search bar to help you find messages faster. You can easily access messages using the Quick Filters: Unread, Attachments, or Snoozed. Click the gray arrow at the bottom to view all the properties you can search by, like typing "from:" to search by sender. 5. Keyboard shortcuts Front has keyboard shortcuts so you can work through your inbox faster. To make it easy for you to remember, we always stick to Gmail conventions where possible. Find them directly in Front, all the way at the bottom of your integrations and plugins. Below are a few commonly used shortcuts to get you started moving around Front mouse-free. Basic Front keyboard shortcuts J / Up Arrow - Move to a previous conversation K / Down Arrow - Move to the next conversation / - Navigate to the search bar G + A - Go to all unassigned conversations Shift + X - Force the conversation list to refresh R - Reply to the most recent message Command + Enter - Send & Archive W - Assign conversation to a team member E- Archive the conversation L - Tag a conversation + Delete - Trash the conversation S - Set a snooze/reminder on a conversation Shift + I - See information about current conversation M - Navigate to the comment bar @ - Pulls a list of available team members to mention You can also access the full list of keyboard shortcuts on our Community Page.
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Customer Story - 3 Min ReadBetter Mortgage uses Front to make their loan officers 1200% more productive
Learn how Better.com, a mortgage company reimagining the industry, has used shared drafts, message templates, and analytics to improve their workflow, scale personal customer communication, and ultimately make their loan officers 1200% more productive than the industry average. Better.com is an online mortgage startup that takes a very team-based approach to selling and processing. Because the mortgage business relies on incredibly personal, high-touch customer communication with mortgage seekers, Better.com puts in a lot of thought into how to retain a human connection with customers while online (and growing so rapidly). They use Front to collaborate, provide personal communication that scales, and improve efficiency to meet their rising demand.  They have 3 favorite features in Front that have helped them close deals faster and build strong, more personal relationships with clients as they grow without turning to a robotic solution that sacrifices human communication in an industry that relies so much on customer trust: Analytics provides visibility into impact by allowing managers to gain an intimate understanding of customer needs, team performance, and handle time.  Shared inboxes and shared drafts make hand-offs seamless, so that any teammate can have visibility into what’s going on with a client, and make high-touch communication a team sport.  Message templates save time and keep the brand voice consistent. Better saves a variety of email templates that their team can use and then personalize.  Analytics has been the bible for my managers as they're working with their teams and they're looking to understand not only how their agents are working, but what impact they’re having. So it's an integral part of our workflow. It's something that we're checking every day.”—Sarah Pierce, Head of Sales, Better.com Analytics, shared inboxes and shared drafts, as well as message templates are now the backbone of their workflow. They’ve also been able to automate their workflow with rules, giving the team even more time back to focus on the quality of their communication with customers. After using these features in Front, their loan officers are on average 1200% more productive than the average industry loan officer, Pierce says. Curious how improve efficiency and teamwork for your own team? Check out the inspiration below.  Do it yourself Shared drafts When there’s a complex customer need or a highly important opportunity, it can be beneficial to write an email as a team. Share a draft with as many people as you want to leverage the expertise and knowledge of a variety of people.  Message templates Create a variety of message templates to help train your team how to respond, keep tone and voice consistent, and save time. Teammates can then go find the message template that fits their need and spend more time personalizing the message. This ensures that the quality of customer communication doesn’t dwindle as your team becomes busy, and lets the emphasis always be on personalizing the message.  Analytics Better.com uses their Analytics tab to get insights into employee performance, customer needs, and more so they can constantly be improving their workflow.  They’re able to anticipate when it’s time to hire by evaluating when their team is overwhelmed, see who’s equipped to handle the largest deals, and their busiest hours. 
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Guide - 6 Min ReadManage customer messages with ease
When it comes to managing customer messages, our approach is to save time sorting through, escalating, and assigning messages and spend it instead on improving the quality of the engagement with your customers. This is a guide on how to adopt that philosophy and make it simple to manage customer messages. #Setup Set your team up for success Make it easy on yourself and your team by doing some quick work on the backend that’ll make it simple for them to handle incoming messages.  Roles and permissions As you add new teammates to a team inbox and expect them to tackle customer communication, be sure to choose the right permissions for each person.  Default On any Front plan, you’ll be able to assign each teammate one of two default roles: Team Admin or Team Member. Here’s a table that covers what permissions are enabled for each role. Many leaders choose a selection of teammates to be Team Admins so they can help you create rules, track success with analytics, and keep the team inbox in check.  Custom If you have an Enterprise plan, you can create custom roles and permissions. Say you want the Team Lead to be responsible for creating all message templates and rules. Custom roles and permissions allow you to create a role with those unique abilities in Front. Then later down the line, when you want 2 other teammates to do the same, you can simply give them that same role and be on your merry way.  Shifts and load balancing  Shifts and load balancing prevent customer messages from getting backed up in your queue, while also preventing individual teammates from being overloaded with work. When you set up shifts, messages that are typically routed to someone who happens to be off duty will be flagged for someone who is on duty, so customers don’t have to wait for a reply. And, this means that when your teammate returns to work the next day, they aren’t immediately swamped with day-old emails. Another way to support your team is to set up load balancing, which places a limit on how many messages can be assigned to an employee at a given time .   You can monitor how much work each employee has in your Analytics tab. This way, you have an accurate sense of how much is on someone’s plate and can help distribute the work before your customers start to feel the impact of an overworked team.  Turn your inbox into your to-do list With Front, you don’t use a Read/Unread mentality. Instead, we use Open/Archive. With Open/Archive, your inbox is designed to be more of a checklist rather than a catch all. That way, there’s no confusion around what needs to be done: every message that’s in your inbox’s ‘Open’ tab needs to be worked on. So instead of leaving read messages left to cause clutter, snooze the ones you’ll get to later, and archive the ones that you don’t need to take action on. Easy emails to archive are: App notifications or reminders Emails informing you of something, but that aren’t prompting anything (think newsletters, daily reports, etc.) Conversations that seem to be ending (they’ll always pop back up if someone pings them again!) You can find any email in your Archive tab, so rest assured they won’t go missing. This way your open messages can be treated like your daily agenda, you inbox won’t stress you out every time you open your computer, and you won’t accidentally miss messages. #Organize & prioritize Organize your inbox There are many ways to sort and triage messages as a team in Front. You get to choose the methodology that works best for you. Assign messages an owner With Front you can give every message a clear owner so everyone knows what they’re responsible for handling. When you assign it, the message will appear in that teammate’s “Assigned to me” section of their inbox and will no longer be in the “Unassigned” tab in the team inbox. Your team can move on and rest assured it’s taken care of.  Tagging  Create tags to categorize messages by project, client, or urgency. Then, you can pin them to your workspace and drag messages into them. This way your whole team can see how to prioritize their work and what’s on the docket for the day.  #Route messages Triage and route messages No need to spend your time tagging messages, routing them to the right person, or flagging them as urgent to the team – set it up to happen automatically with rules and SLAs.  Rules  Rules are if-then automations that let you put certain actions on autopilot. Set up rules to automatically triage and route the messages for your team, so you can spend more time on your customer. There are a variety of ways that rules come in handy: Route messages to tags based on the content in the email or the sender.  Automatically assign messages by sender, subject, or keyword to a teammate with the expertise to respond. Avoid overwhelm and get back to customers faster by setting conversation limits for each teammate and automatically assign new messages to the teammate with the fewest open messages. SLAs Service level agreements (SLAs) are agreed upon response times between you and a customer, because people want to trust that they’ll get taken care of. Front’s SLA rules help your team meet these goals and stay on track. Set up SLAs and tags like “SLA breach warning” to make sure you never let a customer message fall through the cracks. #Audit & Improve Audit and improve So, you’ve set your team up for success, created rules to automate triaging, and your team is making customers happy left and right! It’s time to measure and showcase just how well your team is handling messages and find ways to improve.  Analytics  Analytics help you make informed decision and handle customer messages better. Track how quickly your messages are being resolved, how much each teammate is handling, or which customers write in the most, among other things.  Get visibility into what kind of messages you’re handling: By tagging messages by product, feature, location, customer, or project, you can track the volume and frequency of customer messages around certain topics. View a report on any tag in Analytics to figure out what kind of work your team is up to the most.  Track team performance: Track response time, handle time, resolution time, and more on a team and individual basis to see how your team is handling messages. This data helps you find ways to improve your customer communication, whether you’re deciding it’s time to hire more help, or finding a better way to distribute and escalate messages. 
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