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The newest improvements at Front–and a sneak peek at what’s to come

The newest improvements at Front–and a sneak peek at what’s to come 

Over the past several months, we’ve focused product development on enabling natural customer conversations that drive business impact. With every improvement, we aim to deliver greater focus, bring transparency to team efforts, and make working together easier. See below for a highlight of what we’ve recently released, and a preview of what’s ahead. If you want to hear (and see) even more about these latest updates, watch Nate Abbott, Front’s Head of Product on-demand webinar: An Inside Look at Front’s Product Roadmap

Improvements that cut the busywork so you can focus on what matters

New SLA (service-level agreement) Workflow: Front’s SLA rules are like guardrails for your inbox, so you and your team can respond to every customer in time. We’ve greatly simplified the process of creating these workflows, so you can more easily set your response time goal and let Front take care of the rest. We’ll surface urgent conversations for your team to reply to—even before a breach happens. You can also more easily use automation to tag any breached SLAs for effortless reporting. Learn more about SLAs here

Front Service-Level Agreement (SLA) Builder

Custom Views: Sometimes you want to see the full picture, other times you only want to focus on what matters most to you. Custom views enable you to define what conversations you want to see, proactively push them to you and your teammates' workspaces. Set a custom view for team leads, monitor communications with specific clients, or even setup multi-tag tracking to only surface conversations up for renewal, or a critical bug issue. Learn more about Customer Views here.

Custom Views

Load Balancing 2.0: Load balancing is a specific type of auto-assignment rule, which allows you to set assignment limits for each teammate. Front made several improvements such as: 

  • Assigning will be lightning-fast compared to the 60-second update cycles before. This makes real-time chat support in Front an even more delightful experience for users and their customers. 

  • Multiple Rules can be used for different load balancing priorities. For example:

    • Rule 1 Assigns chat

    • Rule 2 Assigns email

    • Rule 3 Always execute Rule 1 before Rule 2

Learn more about this update here

Rules Library (Sneak Peek): Complex workflows can require creating multiple rules that need to interact with each other. This update to the Rules section of Front introduces “recipes” so users can easily modify an existing pre-built Rule rather than building from scratch. Once a recipe is selected, users will be taken through a step-by-step guided finalize and deploy it. Keep your eyes peeled for this feature that’s coming in 2020. 

Rules Library

Get the full picture of every situation to make better decisions

New Report Type: The Inbox report allows you to look at all your inboxes at once to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. We’ve added a new “heatmap” visualization to better understand communication volume received and sent across time. This new report will help you better manage resources and proactively identify opportunities to improve. Learn more about the latest report types here.

Heat Map

Scheduled Reports (Sneak Peek): We’re expanding the way users, and non-users, can consume Front’s Analytics reports with scheduled reports delivered right to an inbox–automatically. This enables users to do things such as, send a weekly team report to your executive team, create a daily SLA VIP customer report for team leads, and more. Except to see this new feature live in your instance within the coming weeks. 

Schedule Report

Reimagined Analytics Experience (Sneak Peek): The team is working on incremental improvements to create an entirely new analytics user experience–making it easy for you to find exactly what you need. In the near-term, expect a more intuitive analytics navigation experience, and improved Filter, Tab, and Report types.

Working together has never been easier

Comments, conversation previews, and more: From streamlining team communication by starting an internal discussion within a team inbox to pinning important comments for easy reference later on, Front’s introduced several improvements to make working together easier than ever before. You can now also get context at a glance with conversation previews in comments, and use a new comment composer that allows you to fully customize comments (bold, underline, bullet, and more). For a more detailed update on these improvements, read this blog post here.

Front App Attachment Previews

Contacts (Sneak Peek): Throughout the remainder of 2020, Contacts will see improvements across three core areas:

  1. Improved visibility of communication context across channels and companies

  2. Improved contact data quality within Front

  3. Improved functionality of high-impact non-email channels in Front

We’ll also be making several design improvements to the Contacts Pane such as:

  • Improving information density of conversation preview cells

  • Showing more contact information without needing to click on the Details tab

  • One-click action to add a contact to the contact manager

  • Making it easier to update contact information

  • Making it easy to merge and deduplicate contacts

Recent Communication Indicator (Sneak Peek): You’ll soon be alerted of recent communication with contacts. This can provide valuable context and change the actions you’d take to ensure optimal outcomes. For instance, you could be notified of recent communication between a customer to get caught up to speed on a particular issue, order, etc. without ever having to click into a timeline or searching for contact details.

Fron Recent Comms Notification

Admin Homepage Improvements (Sneak Peek): The new Admin Home page provides Front Admins direct access to important settings and helpful resources. The elegant new design highlights the most common access settings to: 

  • Manage inboxes

  • Manage teammates

  • Create rules

You’ll also find an ever-evolving repository of helpful resources from the Help Center, blog, and more.

Front Admin Homepage

Keep everyone on the same page

Timeline Activity Refinements: We’ve made it easier to scan and understand important activities, such as Assignments, Moves, Archive, Unarchive, etc. The redesigned Activity user interface now incorporates icons and avatars, and refined visual prominence for activities. All these changes make it easier to quickly grasp the necessary context to effectively take action.

Front Timeline Activity

Canned Response Categorization (Sneak Peek): As companies accumulate more Canned Responses over time, they need an easy way to organize them for easy reference. This update will enable users to create folders that can belong to either a teammate (for private canned responses) or a team (for shared canned responses). Also notable, access levels for folders can be applied so only specific teams can access specific Canned Response Folders. This is slated to release in the coming months, and will certainly be a fan favorite. 

Front Canned Response Categories

Data Retention (Sneak Peek): Front Admins will be able to set parameters to automatically move communications to a users’ trash, and even automatically purge data. This makes data management across the entire org scalable and secure.

Keep learning

One Pager - 4 Min ReadBuild a better customer experience with Salesforce and Front
CRMs aren’t just for forecasts and pipeline reports. In the day-to-day hustle of updating opportunity status and logging conversations, we tend to lose sight of why we adopted CRMs (customer relationship management software) in the first place — to better understand our customers and their needs. For Sales teams, the effort required to keep a CRM in order seems to take away from their core job, instead of adding value to it. High quality CRM data is a key building block in the foundation of a great customer experience. Complete conversation history, context on business challenges, clear action items for strengthening the relationship. We’re caught between knowing the value of this data and the reality of those time-consuming updates. That’s why Front integrates with Salesforce (and other popular CRMs) to connect your customer records with where you actually get work done — your inbox. With the right tools, keeping your customer data in sync with your team is easy. Here’s how Front and Salesforce work together to give you better data, more efficient teams, and happier customers. Break down the silos around Salesforce “Out of sight, out of mind” is true — especially when it comes to Salesforce. Giving your team visibility into your CRM is a big first step toward making it an essential part of their workflow. When your team isn’t engaging with Salesforce throughout the day, it’s easy to forget about the value of the data that lives in it. Next to every conversation, Front shows you the related Salesforce leads, contacts, accounts, opportunities, and cases. When you open a message, you know exactly who the customer is, what plan they’re on, and how they’ve interacted with your team in the past. It’s easy to customize which fields are shown in Front (including Salesforce custom fields) for a quick view of exactly what you need to craft a compelling message, instead of spending time switching between tools searching for context. Reduce the time spent on updates We’ve all been there. 30 minutes before your weekly team meeting, and what haven’t you done? Your status report. Your project summary. [Insert other ways your team tracks progress here.] For Sales teams, that means switching back and forth between your inbox, meeting notes, and Salesforce cobbling together updates. Manually adding Salesforce tasks, logging emails, and editing open opportunities to match your most recent conversations. When making after-the-fact updates, valuable details are often lost in the hurry of sifting through a crowded inbox for highlights and reminders. Beyond visibility into Salesforce, Front gives Account Executives and Sales Development Reps the ability to update records and tasks directly from the related conversation in Front. Converting a lead or changing an opportunity status is as simple as a few clicks. Making updates in real time suddenly becomes more efficient than waiting until the next pipeline meeting to make them all at once. With real time updates in Salesforce, everyone wins — your sales team spends less time on administrative tasks, managers’ reports and forecasts are always current, and more details from the sales process are captured for other teams’ benefit down the line. Transition customers smoothly between teams Over time, Salesforce becomes a historical record of your entire relationship with a customer: from initial outreach, through their sales process, to ongoing discussions or issues. In an ideal world, it’s a treasure trove of context for everyone who engages with that customer once a deal is closed — Customer Support, Account Management, Marketing, or Product Management. But we know that the ideal can be hard to achieve. Every field, note, and task in Salesforce is a minute that could be spent on something else. There’s a heavy burden on Sales to capture every customer interaction in Salesforce, when they aren’t always the ones who’ll rely on that data down the line. The easier it is to make small updates along the way, the more likely there is to be a rich record of the customer lifecycle for other teams to refer to later. Integrating Salesforce with your team’s daily workflow brings powerful downstream effects on your customer experience. When an Account Manager starts working with a new customer, they have the information they need to tailor onboarding to address that customer’s specific needs. Product Managers can put feature requests into the right context: where the customer is in their lifecycle, what plan they’re on, or what their pain points were that led them to purchase. Customer Support can spot higher level trends based on the issues different groups of customers are experiencing. All because they have the customer records that enable them to do their best work for your customers. Your CRM is more than a sales tool Understanding your customers is key to empathetic and effective communication. Access to great customer data powers a better experience for your customer, regardless of who they’re engaging with. And it starts with your sales team having the tools they need to make saving that data easy. With your team engaging with Salesforce next to every conversation in Front, you can build a positive feedback loop around adding and updating data in real time. The more you use it, the more you notice when it’s missing or incorrect, and the more likely you are to make those changes so the right data is there for you — and your teammates — in the future.
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One Pager - 3 Min ReadDistracted by chat? Bring internal discussions into your inbox instead
You’ve been crafting a client proposal for the last hour. You’re almost done. Then — ping! “hey, what did we decide about next quarter’s budget? 5% increase, or 10%? i know we talked about it last week, but i can’t find the final numbers…” Before you know it, you’re searching through meeting notes, emails, and chat history to try to find the final projections. Now where did that conversation happen again? Situations like this feel inevitable when communication is scattered across email, internal chats, project tasks, shared docs, and more. We want to be nimble and collaborative, so we jump from app to app to keep up, sacrificing focus and critical information along the way. Front’s internal discussions give you a new way to chat, distraction-free — without leaving your inbox. Just comment and @mention your teammates to work together quickly, like chat. Each conversation is organized into separate threads, just like emails in your inbox, so information doesn’t get buried when you step away from your desk. With internal discussions, you can access all your work conversations in your inbox, instead of switching between tools. Calm the chaos with internal discussions Have a question about the latest launch timing, or want to update a few teammates on a closed deal? Just set a topic, invite your teammates, and start chatting. Internal discussions work just like sidebar conversations you have in Front with comments, minus the email to kick things off ✉️ Internal discussions are just like chat — without the inefficiencies: All your information in one place: No switching between tools to start or reference a conversation — it’s all in your inbox and searchable, just like email. Stay organized with discussion topics: Set topics for every discussion to easily reference discussions and stay on top of important conversations. No more scrolling through channels for context: Realize you need someone else to weigh in? Just add them directly to the discussion. There’s no need to start a separate thread or send them hunting through a channel to find your message. With internal discussions, it’s easy to stay in the loop on your terms. Use your private tags like 🗃️ Team updates, 🚀 Launch planning, or 💸 Approvals to group your discussions into the folders that make sense to you — right alongside your emails. You can tag and snooze them just like any other conversation in Front to stay on top of what matters most. Internal vs. External? You don’t have to choose Discussions are just one more way to collaborate with your team in Front. Whether you need to weigh in on a customer message or check in with your team, it’s all happening in your inbox: 🗣️ Get quick feedback: Ask for input on your customer onboarding deck, share the schedule for an upcoming conference, or update the team on a big win ☑️ Manage projects with ease: Get status updates on a feature release to make sure everyone’s on track, finalize the messaging for this week’s release, or coordinate the details for your next offsite 🤳 Keep your team looped in: Share learnings from your latest client call, update your team on progress, or spread great news about your latest press Ready to try it? When you write a new message in Front, just click the arrow on your composer pen to kick off a discussion instead of an email. Hello, efficiency!
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Guide - 6 Min ReadCreate a successful Sales team with Front
Your customers demand a first-class experience. Front helps you personally ensure your customers’ desired outcomes at any scale, without sacrificing customer experience. The heart of every Sales team is communication between customers and teammates. With high-touch, personalized messages, Front is built to help your team go the distance. In this guide you’ll learn how to set up the product to help your team collaborate efficiently, close deals,  Once you’ve set your team up using our getting started guide, it’s time to think about a strategy for helping your Sales team thrive. Front is built to be customized to your team’s needs, meaning that you can design the workflow that helps close deals faster, work together on difficult messages 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 Sales team.  #Automate workflow A workflow built to close deals quicker Setting your team up for success means establishing a natural workflow that eliminates busywork and clears the way for higher quality connections with potential customers. Here are 4 actions to take that help streamline your workday.  Team inbox setup for Sales Front’s team inbox is a shared inbox that incorporates all your communication channels into one place. There are a variety of ways your team connects with leads – be it your sales team email or website chat – and by connecting all of those channels to your team inbox, it’s easy to get to work. Think about your most commonly relied-upon communication channels 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 on the agenda each day, prioritize work together, and avoid context-switching by looking at different web pages to communicate with customers.  Assign owners to inbound messages  As you watch the messages stream into your team inbox, start assigning them owners. Once someone is assigned a message, it shows up in their personal workspace 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.  Automatically sort leads and prioritize outreach 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 demo requests tagged as “Demo” and assigned to Samantha? There’s a rule for that. Want to make sure all inbound messages are responded to within 2 hours? Set up an SLA.  Get reminders to follow up later Sometimes it takes a couple tries to get a response. By hitting “snooze” on an email, or “send and snooze,” you can set up an automatic reminder to check in on a message. So if you haven’t heard back on a big deal by tomorrow morning, the message will pop back up in your inbox so there’s no chance of you dropping the ball.  #Work together Work together to enhance customer messaging Customer communication is a team sport, and being able to leverage the expertise of your team is critical. That’s why collaboration is built into Front’s product. Here are some ways to use the product to work together, better.  Comment on emails to get help on a deal or align on strategy  Tap a friend for a second opinion, or clue someone in to a deal with a client by commenting directly on an email. This replaces messy forwarding chains and makes collaboration much more actionable; when you at mention someone, they stay in the loop and provide support as you go back and forth with the client.  Perfect your outreach by drafting emails together Closing a deal with a VIP opportunity, or stumbling on how to craft an outbound message? 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.  If your Sales team is distributed, 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.  Create canned responses for consistent and fast responses Voice and tone matters when reaching out to prospects or responding to requests. Save email templates – known in Front as canned responses – for your team to personalize and use for common emails. This helps saves time and keep initial conversations consistent.  #Context at a glance Get customer context at a glance Use your team’s most critical tools – from Salesforce to Asana – right from Front. Or, create a custom integration with our open APIs.  Integrate your favorite CRM into Front It’s easy to get distracted when switching between tabs or hunting for important customer info. Use your favorite apps from Front with our integrations. Once they’re enabled, just sign in using your login info and you’ll be able to access your most relied upon tools without context switching. Here are our very own Sales team’s favorite integrations:  Salesforce Outreach Aircall Drift Create custom integrations with Front’s open APIs Front’s open API allows customers to build a window into their own systems, whether it’s their own in-house database of customer information or building a separate integration into a tool they need. #Measure success Track your success Use tags in your team inbox to organize prospects and get visibility into progress Tags and channels in your team inbox are ways to sort your incoming messages by type, sender, urgency, project, etc. Set up a tag for hot deals in the works, or create a channel for live chat. 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 sales email, or what clients and projects are requiring the most work.  Use Analytics to report on sales activity and response time Want to see how your team is tracking against your internal goals? Use Analytics to see how quickly teammates are responding, which customers write in the most, or when your busiest hours are. Then, adjust accordingly by finding out who needs more support and where there’s an opportunity to create a better customer experience. 
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