Why Front?SolutionsPricingResources
Guide - 5 Min Read

Automate your team's workflow

Scale your team’s impact by automating busywork, getting messages in the right hands faster, and making it easy to prioritize work.

Your team has customers to impress and missions to achieve, so there’s no time for admin tasks – especially as you grow. Front is built to streamline your workday and save you time so you can focus more on quality customer communication than chores like organizing messages. This guide will walk you through how to make more of an impact by automating your team’s workflow. 

Prioritize the right work

Let’s start with your personal inbox. Front’s philosophy is to treat it like your to-do list, so you stay on top of what matters most.

An open/archive mentality

Read and unread messages clog your inbox and create confusion by living in the same place.  Try to archive the messages that don’t require action. An open message should be one that you can act on today. If it’s not meant for you, assign it to someone else – which we’ll cover in the next chapter. 

Snooze messages for later

Some messages don’t require an immediate response, or aren’t your top priority for the day. When that’s the case, you can ‘snooze’ it for any day or time you want. Snooze means it will reappear in your inbox at the scheduled time, and you don’t have to worry about it slipping through the cracks.

Snooze gif

Get messages in front of the right eyes

When a variety of your communication channels are connected to your team inbox, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of messages. Categorize messages and give them an owner to help focus your team and improve response time.

Categorize work with tags

Organizing customer messages by urgency, project, customer location, and more helps you to see what your team’s workload is looking like in a single day. Choose language you already use—only your company sees them. By tracking tags in your team workspace, you’ll see when more people are needed on a specific project, or when there’s an increase in demo requests after a new feature launch. Labeling these messages helps avoid context switching and prioritizes the most urgent items. 

Assign messages to a clear owner

Give messages an owner with a simple click. They’ll be notified and the message will appear in their inbox as well as their “Assigned to me” section, a clear signal to start taking care of it. This gets messages in the right hands fast, without losing your team’s sense of collaboration and visibility.  Have time to handle it on your own? Assign a message to yourself and take it off of your team’s plate. 

assign gif

Triage and escalate messages automatically

Rules do the work for you. Set them up to triage messages immediately, automatically tag or assign messages, and save your team time. 

Automate tagging, assigning, and triaging by creating rules

When you create a rule, you create an automated process that escalates messages for you and helps your team. Rules are a no-code way to create the exact workflow your team needs, while using the best of Front’s features. What does your team need to succeed? Assignments? Message templates? Rules can do that. Spending some time creating rules early in your Front journey will help your team be even more efficient. The combinations are nearly limitless, but an example of a rule could be:

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]

rules image

You can customize rules in a variety of ways to fit your team’s needs. Some examples are:

  • Time-based rules

  • Routing rules

  • Archiving rules

  • Tagging rules

  • After hours rules 

Use SLAs to help your team meet response time goals

An SLA, or Service Level Agreement, is a goal or agreed upon amount of time for businesses to respond or resolve client messages. Even if you don’t have contractual SLAs in your client agreements, setting specific response time goals helps you understand and improve your customer experience. Front’s SLAs can be customized to automatically route inbound conversations to a specific team or employee, classify them with a custom tag, and then send them to another application, like Slack. Any customer-facing team who wants to improve their client communications workflow and ensure nothing gets missed can benefit from Front’s SLAs.

Human-touch, at scale

The magic of Front is in its personal touches, with customized message templates and signatures. Front automates your busywork to keep your teams happy, and adds a personal touch so your customers feel connected.

Save common messages as message templates

Create message templates to save time and keep responses on brand. You can think of message templates as canned outlines to your most common responses; your team selects which one fits their needs, then spends some time personalizing. Rather than a common response, you’ll keep the tone and voice consistent for your customers. As a bonus, message templates make a great training tool by helping your team learn how to talk to customers over email.

canned response gif

Create multiple signatures

Front allows for endless ways to collaborate, and soon enough you’ll be working on a single message with a handful of others to make it awesome. To deliver a consistent experience for your customers, create multiple team signatures so your team signs off on emails the same way, every time. It’s always easy to opt out and use your individual signature instead, but admins can create as many team signatures as they want to provide options. 

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.
Read one pager
One Pager - 3 Min ReadAutomation through Webhooks
Introduction to Webhooks You may already know about Front’s Open APIs and have utilized them before to do things like fetching the details about a recent conversation or export analytics data. But are you interacting with data between your systems in a real-time dynamic way? If you aren’t using our Webhooks integration, the answer is probably no. With traditional REST APIs (like that which you’ll find in our Core API), you can programmatically retrieve or post updates to Front. For example, I could list all of the conversations I’ve had with a particular contact or add a tag to any specific client conversation. What if I wanted to do something like add a tag based on the customer region in a CRM like Salesforce, or assign the conversation to the Account Manager? This information is dynamic and could change at any moment, and you want to leverage it in real-time. Webhooks solve this problem and provide you the layer of interactivity you need. They introduce a “don’t call us; we’ll call you” concept to your tech stack and enable you to perform real-time logging of the activity or even dynamic updating to Front’s system. Here’s an example to show how this could work: Imagine you want to have a real-time dashboard that shows the total number of new conversations vs. reopened conversations vs. archived (closed) conversations. In our old world of REST APIs, you’d have to continually call Front to see if anything has changed, when maybe only one of those calls would return any new data. Front and Webhooks integration Using Front, you can enable the webhooks integration and configure a rule that triggers a Webhook server notification. Once you enable the integration, you’ll see a dropdown in your rule actions to “Send to a Webhook.” Define your server address here. You can use your server, own or you can even make use of middleware like Zapier, to receive the webhooks and trigger other cascading lookups, logging, or actions. Each webhook event you receive will contain information like the conversation ID, author, contact (etc.) You can find a preview of the event payload here. What else can I do with the Webhook? Front’s Webhooks integration is just the beginning of cascading actions. Here are just a few examples of things customers have done using webhooks through Front: Log all events to a data warehouse in real-time Trigger a lookup in your CRM and assign the conversation to the appropriate Account Manager Create a real-time dashboard displaying information about the number of conversations touched by your reps Add a comment to the conversation in Front containing additional information from your back-end systems While Webhooks may be the trigger that informs you of new data, you’ll probably still want to leverage our Core API to do things like update the conversation assignee or add a comment. Our Webhooks integration often won’t stand alone in accomplishing your goal. P.S. Worried about security? You can also secure your webhook by validating the payload originated from Front If you have any questions about how to leverage Front’s Webhooks feature or just want to brainstorm, feel free to get in touch with us at api@frontapp.com
Read one pager