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Guide - 7 Min Read

Create a successful Operations team with Front

Front helps Operations teams handle the overload of complex requests with accuracy and ease. With Front, Ops teams can easily collaborate on requests, set rules to efficiently route every message, and have peace of mind with reminders to follow-up when needed. 

Once you’ve set your Ops team up using our getting started guide, it’s time to think about a strategy for helping your team thrive. Front is built to be customized to your team’s needs, meaning that you can design the workflow that helps tackle messages faster, work together on difficult requests without leaving your inbox, and get visibility into what you care about most. This is a guide about how to use Front to support and improve your Ops team. 

Improve team efficiency by automating your workflow

Setting your team up for success means establishing a natural workflow that eliminates busywork and clears the way for quick responses and resolutions across internal teams. Here are 4 actions to take that help streamline your workday. 

Assign owners to requests

As you get questions from different stakeholders, start assigning them owners. Once someone is assigned a message, it shows up in their personal inbox so they can get right to it. And, you’ll be able to see that the message is assigned and feel confident moving onto the next one. If you want to stay in the loop on a conversation not assigned to you, simply subscribe to it. 

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Let rules do the sorting for you

Triaging requests can feel like a tedious task – set up a rule and have it done for you. With rules, you can automatically route, tag, and assign messages by sender or content. Want all requests from the sales team tagged as “Sales Ops” and assigned to Kate? Or all questions about a new product or release assigned to Ren? There’s a rule for that. Want to make sure all inbound messages from VPs and above are responded to within 1 hour? Set up an SLA. 

‘Snooze’ a request so it never falls through the cracks

It’s end of quarter and you’re busy. You get a less urgent request, or you’re asked to confirm final numbers once the quarter is officially closed.  By hitting “snooze” on an email, or “send and snooze,” you can set up an automatic reminder to check in on a message. Once things calm down or numbers are finalized, the message will pop back up in your inbox so there’s no chance of you dropping the ball. 

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At Front, we like to think of your inbox as your daily to-do list. So if a message doesn’t require action, archive it and rest assured you can search and find it at anytime. Snooze helps you prioritize what you’re focusing on and pair down your daily duties to the most crucial messages. 

Save your most common updates as message templates

Do you send weekly reporting to different teams? Or make regular requests to gather data? Save message templates for your team to drop in updates and use for common emails. This helps saves time and keeps consistency.  

Align your team and work together on tough requests

Whether it’s dividing and conquering, working together behind the scenes on a customer issue, or just chatting with colleagues, your team is stronger in Front. Learn how to efficiently and effectively collaborate to get work done faster and more thoughtfully. 

Improve visibility by using a team inbox

Each team has their own culture and preferred way of communicating, and sometimes it can be difficult to keep up and keep organized as your business grows. Front’s team inbox is a shared inbox that incorporates all your requests and communication channels into one place. 

Think about your most commonly relied upon communication channels – like different email alias’ or SMS – and connect them with your team inbox, then invite all your teammates to the inbox. This means everyone will be able to see what’s coming in, prioritize work together, and avoid context switching by looking at different apps to communicate. Plus, other internal teams will easily know how to reach you.  

Loop in a co-worker by commenting on an email

Tap a friend for a second opinion, or clue someone in to a data issue by commenting directly on an email. This replaces messy forwarding chains and makes collaboration much more actionable; when you at mention someone, they can stay in the loop and continue to provide support as you finalize the ask. Resolve issues faster by writing email drafts as a team.

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Providing an update on sensitive metrics? Or explaining a complicated analysis? Write up an email draft and share it with a teammate. They can then review, edit, and write the draft with you so there’s double the amount of thought put into your most important messages. 

Use internal discussions rather than a chat app

Know you already asked a question to your team, but forget the answer and can’t find it? Hate jumping back and forth between chat apps and email all day? Discussions are here to save the day. They function just like chat apps but ensure you can search and find the answer, all in one place, at a later date. 

Still need clarity? Hop on a quick Zoom call from Front

When collaborating via comments and internal discussions doesn’t do it for you and your team isn’t all in the office, start a Zoom call from the comment bar. This brings the spontaneous brainstorm with teammates to wherever your team is, and you don’t even have to leave your inbox to do it. 

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Clear analytics helps you know exactly what’s happening 

Keep track of what your team is working on and where there are gaps by tuning into success metrics and performance trends. Front Analytics is set up to give you insight into your customer experience from all angles so you’re set up to know how to deliver your very best at all times. 

Analytics help your team be their best

Want to see how your team is balancing requests? Does supporting one team require significantly more effort than another? Use Analytics to see how many requests teammates are fielding, which teams ask for the most support, or what your busiest days are. Then, adjust accordingly by finding out who needs more support and where there’s opportunity to create a better balance for your team. You can also pull up an Analytics report on your SLAs, so you can evaluate and improve response time to certain important stakeholders.

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Tags and proper triaging to prioritize work

Tags (like folders) are ways to sort your incoming messages by type, sender, urgency, project, etc. Set up a tag for data discrepancies, or create a channel for all SMS messages. Once you’ve done this, and created rules that automatically sort messages into those tags, you can view analytics on each one. For instance, view how many messages are actually coming into your ops email, or how many requests does the sales leadership make vs product.

Save time by accessing all communication, teammates, and apps in one view 

With all your tools, customers, and teammates in one view, Front becomes your universal inbox that streamlines your workflow and helps avoid multiple tabs, context switching, and lost work. Here’s how to use your inbox to get more done. 

Integrations keep all your work in one place

Some teams depend on Jira to make action happen, while others swear by Asana, Todoist, or Trello to help manage projects as a team. Or maybe you want a knowledge base or CRM handy. Whatever app or software it is, integrate it with Front to access it when you need it without leaving the context of your inbox. Front offers more than 50 integrations that just require a simple sign on to get started, and if you need one that we don’t offer there’s open APIs that make set up easy. Mark a task done, create a ticket, or reference important info – all from your inbox. 

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A calendar in your inbox for all your scheduling needs

Scheduling can be chaotic, and it’s especially tedious to have to flip between tabs to coordinate meetings that are being talked about in your email. In the upper right hand corner of Front you’ll find your calendar – pop it open at any time to view meetings or schedule time to chat with a customer. 

Front is your universal inbox

Front powers the heart of your inbox – where your team and customers meet. By funneling all your critical communication – from apps, email, and more – into one single source of truth, your team is empowered to take action quickly. Develop a command center for all of your people and messages to handle the overload of complex requests with accuracy and ease.

Keep learning

One Pager - 8 Min ReadSet your team up for success with team inboxes
Picture this: You just treated yourself to a well-deserved week-long vacation. Before signing off, you closed out all your apps, made a thorough Out-Of-Office plan, and left important work in the hands of teammates you trust.  You return to a jam-packed inbox, a variety of client messages to respond to, and notifications on 10+ different pieces of software that you need to tend to. You already feel behind, and it’s not even 9 a.m. yet.  Sound familiar? These days, even if you go to an office, your job is less a physical place than the sum total of the different apps you rely on to do your work. In fact, the average employee switches between 35 job-critical apps more than 1,100 times per day. So even when you’re not coming back from an island getaway, the constant context switching, the influx of messages on different platforms with unclear owners, and the various ways internal teams communicate all combine to make it nearly impossible to create a positive customer experience. Productivity and morale take a huge hit. This current system isn’t sustainable. That’s why Front made a shared inbox that’s supercharged and designed to work for you, not against you.  What’s a team inbox?  You may be familiar with the concept of a shared inbox already. This is your “support@company.com,” an email inbox that many teammates can access to send and receive emails from the same group address. Things work a little differently with a shared inbox. We’ll walk you through it here: Regular group email: With the email we’re used to, group email means that anyone who’s a part of a distribution list or group alias gets their own copy of every email. One person can reply to an email, and unless they hit “Reply all,” no one else will see it. If someone deletes an email, everyone else can still see their copy in their inbox.Instead of one customer inquiry that should be actioned on one time, this email turns into many copies that now requires each person to read and make a decision on Group email in a shared inbox: You’re all looking at the same queue of emails. When one person replies, everyone who has access to the inbox can see it. When someone archives an email, it leaves the inbox for everyone. Front’s team inboxes crank it up a notch and improve the experience for teams. On a codebase level, it’s a completely different way of thinking about email even compared to your distribution lists and aliases. Plus, we add some bells and whistles that help your team work faster together while focusing on what matters most.  How team inboxes work in Front Front allows your team to manage shared inboxes more effectively. Multiple teammates can collaborate on replies from multiple channels — from your Twitter account, customer messaging platform, SMS, and email — and ultimately respond faster. Collaborate on email to respond lightning-fast Work off a single, shared copy of each message to coordinate quickly and get back to customers faster. Comment on emails and @mention your teammates to create notes and work together. Edit email drafts together to avoid the back-and-forth before you send Every conversation has an owner so nothing slips through the cracks Know exactly who’s working on what by assigning each conversation to an owner for follow up. Use automatic workflow rules to tag and route messages and keep your inbox organized. Use tags to prioritize and categorize incoming messages from all channels. Happy team, happy customers — no help desk required Add new channels like SMS, WhatsApp, or live chat to manage all messages in one place. No ticket numbers here! To your customers, it’s just normal email. Front stays invisible to customers but keeps your team organized behind-the-scenes. Emails arriving in a team inbox will be visible to all teammates who have access to the inbox. Only admins can give a teammate access to a team inbox. Admins can grant access to team inboxes at the time they invite a new teammate or can add existing teammates at any time.  The read-vs.-unread status of conversations is individual to each teammate and does not impact others’ read status. However, if one teammate replies to and archives an email in a team inbox, the email is archived for all teammates. That way, work is never duplicated. What you can do with team inboxes in Front The team inbox fixes a lot of problems we encounter at work today: lots of context switching between apps, many people handling messages from a variety of channels, and real-time collaboration.  Many communication channels: Front’s team inboxes are not just for email — teams can manage other messages like SMS texts, Tweets, live chats, phone logs, social media, and more in team inboxes. Built-in accountability: You can assign an owner to every conversation so that it's clear to everyone who's handling what. You can also drag conversations to different team tags to help prioritize and organize work for your team.  Easy collaboration: You can comment @angela, can you help with this contract? on an email, instead of forwarding or CC’ing a teammate. You can also share email drafts with teammates, so you can edit together before sending to customers. Integrations: Your team inbox connects with other apps like CRMs, project management tools, knowledge bases, and more, so you can access that information directly in your inbox. Automate little tasks you repeat often: Got an email that your teammate, Phyllis, can handle? Use keywords, sender, or other triggers to automatically route emails from the team inbox to her so it's out of everyone else's way.  For best practices on using team inboxes, as well as to learn how to set your team up for success, check out our guide on setting up a team inbox.  What’s in it for your team? Because traditional email like Gmail or Outlook ironically gets in the way of communication, teams often feel some immediate relief with team inboxes. Here are some ways that our internal teams get the most out of the automation in team inboxes while still keeping the customer experience personal: Support teams improve customer experience Use message templates to quickly resolve and respond to support-like questions.  Prioritize incoming messages to the right person with rules, SLAs, and assigning. You can even add shifts so that response time goals are still met when different people are working different hours.  Escalate bugs and technical issues to the right place immediately with tags and rules that identify keywords in messages and get them in front of the right eyes. Integrate Front with your knowledge base, so articles and FAQs are easily accessible directly from Front. Use Front Analytics to improve response and resolution times and see what kind of requests are most common. Success and account management teams build loyal, positive client relationships Route client messages to the right owner automatically with triggers like keyword, sender, subject, and more.  Integrate your CRM or custom database so you can reference a customer’s history and journey directly from your inbox. Schedule a time for an email to pop back up in your inbox if it hasn’t been replied to so you don’t have to worry about remembering on your own even months later. Use Front Analytics to see which customers require the most care and better distribute workload among your team. Automatically move customer emails to a shared inbox when you’re away or OOO, so you get peace of mind and your team can easily jump in and reply. Sales teams reach their goals  Automatically and evenly distribute emails coming into your sales team inbox among your reps to balance workload. Integrate your CRM so you can reference and update Salesforce opportunities directly in your inbox. Create an SLA rule so that you wow your prospects with reliably quick response times Comment on an email to collaborate in realtime with other AEs or a manager when you have a question on a deal or want a hand in closing it Connect your calendar so you can easily schedule meetings, check calendar openings, and let prospects book time slots with you in a few clicks Is this just like… email merged with a help desk? That’s a great framework to set your expectations, but Front is actually fundamentally different — and a whole lot more. Here’s the thing: Email was originally built for one-to-one communication, and it carries a stigma of being somewhat dated and inefficient.  On the other hand, help desks can be pretty clunky and often impersonal.  Team inboxes take the best of both worlds and add some original new features that crank your workflow up quite a few notches. They’re designed for teams to make greater impact: Team inboxes are easy to implement and natural for your team to learn. Since they use a familiar workflow that’s similar to email, there’s no steep learning curve that often comes with new software. Because Front feels similarly to Gmail or Outlook, onboarding is relatively intuitive.  Team inboxes allow for a more personal customer experience. Traditional help desk tools attach ticket numbers to every message. While this is great for organization, it makes the customer feel like just a drop in a vast ocean of tickets. When your team uses Front, the customer will never know the difference. It’s just regular email (and a wonderful, personalized experience, of course.) Team inboxes are more flexible. Help desks typically have a more rigid process that’s standardized to support teams, so they’re more limited in the ways you can route and assign messages, especially outside your support team. You can customize team inboxes to your unique processes, and if you have complex questions that need escalation, you can easily loop in those teammates.  Front is a customer communication hub. It transforms work into impact by meaningfully connecting your teams and customers by taking away the clutter, chaos, and impersonal customer experience. So you get the automation and customization of a help desk, with the personal and familiar touch of email. 
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One Pager - 6 Min ReadGetting started in Front: 7 tips for using your brand new inbox
Congrats! Now that you’ve got Front, you’re on your way to working more collaboratively and productively than ever before. We know moving away from a traditional inbox like Gmail or Outlook can take some getting used to, but once you’ve played around in Front a little bit, we think you’ll really love it. We put together our top tips for your first month using Front, so you can get all set up and comfortable with your new inbox in no time. 1. Update your account settings Customize Front to fit your working style. Find your settings by clicking on the icon in the upper left corner of Front. From there, you’ll be able to customize individual settings like your name, password, and profile picture. Depending on the permission levels your Front Admin has set up, you might also be able to access settings for your team inboxes or company here as well. Here are the main settings we suggest you check out right after you’ve set up your Front account: Profile: Add a photo of yourself and specify your username. This is how your teammates will @mention you in comments, so make sure you pick a name your team can remember. My preferences: Here you can choose your default settings for how you manage your emails, like whether you want missing attachment warnings or to use the same shortcuts you use in Gmail. My signatures: Create email signatures for messages you send in Front here — you can add as many as you need. Front designates the first signature as the default, so make sure the one you usually want to use is at the top of the list. Notifications: You can create different notification settings for each of your inboxes in Front. Choose to receive desktop, mobile, and email notifications, or none at all. 2. Connect your individual work email Front’s not just for your team email. It’s for your individual work messages too! Sync your work email so it’s easy to manage all your messages in one place. And don’t worry — your personal work emails stay private and separate from your team inbox, unless you share them with someone. 3. Think collaboratively You can see your individual work email and shared inboxes in Front, all in one place — so you won’t have to switch back and forth between Front and your own inbox in Gmail or Outlook to get work done. Shared inboxes work a little differently than a traditional email inbox though. Here are a few questions you might find yourself asking when you start working in Front. Am I archiving this message for everyone? When you’re working on a message in a shared inbox, every action you take will reflect that way for the rest of your team. Who can see this reply? If you’re working on a message in a shared inbox, everyone can see the reply you’re writing. Likewise, if you’re working in your individual inbox, and you’ve @mentioned a teammate on a message, that person is now “following” your message, and they can see your reply as well. Can my customer see this comment? Comments and @mentions are internal-only, so only you and your team will see them, not your customers. Talk to your Front Admin on your team about how you plan to work together in your shared inboxes. Some teams like to let everyone answer messages in shared inboxes as they come in, while others prefer to set a process for triaging your shared inboxes. Every team approaches it differently, so it’s important to understand the protocol expected for your team. 4. Start working together in Front Front is made for teamwork, so there are a few features that make collaboration easy. Here are two basic ways to work with your team in Front: Assign a message: When you assign a message, you’re designating a teammate to take care of it, so there’s no confusion on who’s following up. There are two ways to assign a message. In the upper right corner of a message, you’ll see “Assigned to” along with a name. To assign it, you can click the name and select a teammate from a drop down menu. Alternatively, you can drag a message to a name in your list of teammates. Leave a comment: Instead of forwarding a message to a teammate or CC’ing them when you reply, use comments and @mentions, located at the very bottom of your screen in Front. When you @mention a teammate, you share the whole thread with them, so they can easily read through and respond. You can also use comments to leave notes about a conversation. That way, when you or anyone else is looking at it again later, you'll have the context you need to reply. 5. Boost your productivity ⚡ We want working in Front to be faster than your old inbox, so you never feel like you want to open up your old inbox again. Try out our favorite ways to speed through your open messages (and even hit Inbox Zero — that awesome moment when you’ve answered everything in your inbox). Snooze: Not every message that comes into your inbox needs an answer right away. That’s why you can “snooze” in Front. Hit the clock icon at the top of a message you don’t need to look at right now, and select a time for it to come back to your inbox later. Reminders: When you’re sending a message you’ll need to follow up on, set a reminder in Front. Click the clock on the bottom of your message to select a time for the message to pop back up in your unread message folder. That way, if you haven’t gotten a reply, you’ll know to send the recipient another message. Message templates: Find yourself typing the same message over and over? Save it as a message template. That way you can easily pull it up, edit it, and send with just a few clicks, instead of typing out the same explanation all the time. You can save message templates for your private inbox, or for your shared inboxes, so you can access responses your teammates have created as well. Tags: Tags are the easiest way to keep your messages organized. You can create Private Tags only visible to you — like “Read Friday afternoon”, or Team Tags, visible to your whole team — like “Customer Feedback”. 6. Download the Front apps Now that you’re managing all your messages in Front, bring them with you wherever you work! Download the Front desktop app for your computer, and access Front on the go with the mobile app. 7. Read more about using Front Check out our other helpful resources for inspiration, how-to’s, and tips on setting up workflows and using Front features. Front Community: Browse our community page to learn from other Front users and share your own tips. Getting Started with Front: Download our full user guide to get the full scoop on all things Front. Our Customer Success Team: Don’t hesitate to shoot us a question at team@frontapp.com. We’re more than happy to help out!
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