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One Pager - 6 Min Read

Using 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

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.

Keep learning

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MNX Global is a premium logistics provider that provides customized, expedited transport for the biopharmaceutical, life sciences, medical device, aviation, and entertainment industries in more than 190 countries. With 24/7 client service spread across multiple continents, they use Front to manage high email volume and stay on top of response time goals.  Originally, they used Outlook to manage high email volume. According to Director of Aviation Services Douglas Kurtz, Outlook couldn’t quickly triage or assign emails, or provide them will visibility into the audit trail of a message or success metrics. They switched to Front so that could collaborate effectively and work more efficiently.  They've used Front’s automated Rules and SLAs to help their team reply faster to customers, and they rely heavily on Analytics to give them insights to make more informed decisions. All this automation enables them to be more productive and stay on top of demand. Automate message routing with Rules that will triage, categorize and assign messages for you. When there’s high email volume, there’s no time to comb through the messages manually and give them an owner or categorize them – that’s where rules come in . SLAs make it easy to reach response time goals by escalating messages  – with a direct assignment, ‘Breach warning’ tag, or even sending them to an ‘Urgent’ Slack channel – that are close to a breach. Analytics turn insights into improvements to help teams understand how their team is performing, their customer needs, and busiest hours, among other things. By paying attention to these insights, teams can know when to hire, who needs more support, and how to improve customer experience. “We have the data to say, ‘Okay, Sunday will be 1/4th of the volume of a weekday,’ so we can staff appropriately,” Douglas Kurtz, Director of Aviation Services, MNX Rules and SLAs have helped MNX ensure every time-critical message gets into the right hands so they can reply quickly, while analytics has helped them track business-critical metrics, set team benchmarks, and make informed decisions for the future. Do it yourself Rules Automatically assign or move emails based on message content. For example, if your teammate, Sarah, responds to all billing questions, create a rule to assign any message containing "billing" to Sarah. Step 1 Go to Settings by clicking on your avatar in the top left → Rules & SLA → Add team rule Step 2 Set the When trigger to Inbound messages. Step 3 Set the If condition to: Inbox is the team inbox this rule should apply (e.g. Support inbox), AND Subject contains and Body contains to the word of your choice (e.g. billing). Ensure these are connected by an OR condition. Step 4 Set the Then action to either of the below: Assign to teammate action to assign it to one specific person. Alternatively, you can also Assign in group to distribute the emails amongst several teammates (an advanced rule condition). Move to inbox action to move it to a different inbox. Tip: Click Add action and add a tagging action. This will help with general organization and future analytics reports. SLAs Front’s SLAs help teams create and achieve response time goals. You can customize your escalation path and have messages on the brink of a breach prioritized: Tag it to alert your team Set up custom notifications Reassign to another teammate Move to an urgent inbox Then, view your SLA report to view analytics on how your team is tracking towards their goals. You can even share your SLA report with your team or customers to showcase how amazing your team is doing.  Analytics MNX 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 anticipate their busiest hours. 
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