2023 Front Rewind: Raising the bar for exceptional service at scale

Andrea Lean

Andrea Lean,

Senior Content Editor

13 December 20230 min read

We’re looking back at key product releases this year — and how teams are using them to delight their customers and drive efficiency for their business.

Did you have any game changing experiences with Front this year?

We’ve heard a variety of responses, including replying to customers faster, automating more workflows, collaborating more effectively, or gaining back hours in your day with AI.

It’s been a year of unmatched efficiency — the number of messages you’ve handled says it all: customer service really matters to you and your business, and you’re eager to continue raising the bar to make it exceptional.

As 2023 wraps up, we’re reflecting on what we’ve learned and delivered for our customers. Let’s take a look at Front’s Rewind this year:

We released key improvements to the platform at Frontlines that drove efficiency for customer service teams. We connected businesses with even more of their customers through WhatsApp, Dialpad SMS, Telegram, and Google Business Messages. Plus, our integrations keep growing to keep tools and systems in sync.

We learned a ton listening to customers on what they needed from our product to optimize workflows, increase team productivity, and bring customer satisfaction to an all-time high. Everything we built in 2023 supports three advantages to delivering exceptional service at scale:

  1. Serve your customers on their terms

  2. Own your workflows with no-code setup

  3. Gain efficiency with AI

If you need a refresher on what we built this year to help you achieve this, we got you.

Serve your customers on their terms

Customers have different preferences when they’re looking for help. Some are more proactive about finding a solution themselves. Others demand to speak with a human. But when you have limited staff who need to focus on the more complex issues, smart deflection is key to offload those inquiries from your agents’ plates. Sometimes customers just want answers fast, so why not empower them with self-service options?

Earlier this year, we launched Knowledge Base to serve as a library of articles and resources for your customers to find the answers to their own questions. We were also excited to introduce chatbots that integrate Knowledge Base articles into their conversation flow.

With Knowledge Base and chatbots in Front, it’s easier than ever to resolve the simpler issues at scale without needing to sign onto additional third-party tools. Here are some ways our customers are using these deflection features to keep their customers happy:

  • Simplissimmo helps their customers self-manage their hotel bookings by integrating knowledge base articles into their chat widget. Need help checking in early? No problem!

  • Archetype Themes prioritizes simple navigation of their knowledge base with a minimalist approach of four categories. That way, their 100K+ customer base of Shopify store owners can easily find the help they need as they customize their online store-front.

  • FBS, an employee-owned real estate software company, was able to better manage their high volume of customer inquiries when they configured their chatbots to handle common questions.

Chatbots added enormous value by deflecting up to 7% of our volume with botflows suggesting help center articles, saving the team several hours per month from repetitive qualifying questions needed to resolve inquiries. As a long time Front Chat customer, chatbots were sorely needed and they’ve delivered!

Steve Eli, Director of Support, FBS

📚Learn how to get started with Knowledge Base or set up your first chatbot with Front Chat. You can see how Front’s own support team combines these features to support, well, you! Watch the on-demand webinar.

Soon, AI Answers will even be able to respond to customer questions directly based on your Knowledge Base articles. Stay tuned for more updates!

Own your workflows with no-code setup

Customer service is a complex machine. Agents are juggling several tools to gather customer context and conversations experience multiple handoffs. Threads get jumbled, data systems are fragmented, and messages fall through the cracks.

The workflows you put in place to serve your customers need to be powerful, yet adaptable. This is when taking your process development into your own hands reduces bottlenecks. No consultant or other third party vendor knows the ins and outs of your org as you do, which is why you can move faster when you’re empowered to build and maintain custom integrations — without tapping the shoulders of any developers!

That’s why we’re thrilled to see the excitement around the newly launched dynamic objects and linked conversations. Dynamic objects are a no-code integration with an external system like TMS, CRM, and ERP. They let you see essential information for a shipment, order, or other business object directly in Front, while also hyperlinking it to open the exact record in your external systems.

[Dynamic objects are] really saving us a lot of clicks, copy/pastes, and searches. We’ve estimated that we’re saving 10 hours per month for all of our teams.

Lisa Zerbib, Product Manager, Convelio

Linked conversations help your team easily keep track of follow-up action items across multiple related threads and assign ownership. For example, if a travel agency learns that a customer wants to add an additional stop to their vacation, their team can use linked conversations to send separate messages about a new flight, hotel, and rental car that are still associated with the original customer request.

Here’s how Front customers are saving time with these features:

  • As a global logistics company specializing in fine art shipping, Convelio set up a dynamic object with Salesforce so that it automatically tags and links to the record within Front.

  • Linked conversations save several hours per week searching for related conversations, especially when customers request a quote and have a long lead time before moving forward with it.

🔗Ready to set up a dynamic object? Here’s a step-by-step guide. Or learn how to create your first linked conversation and start streamlining ownership of all the subtasks. We recently showed how both of these can be used together to improve agent productivity in the logistics industry. Watch the on-demand webinar.

Gain efficiency with AI

AI relieves your staff from the mental workload of catching up on long threads to figure out their action items or drafting messages from scratch.

With Front’s new AI summarize and compose, we’re reducing manual work to boost productivity and morale of your employees. Here are some ways our customers have been using that magic wand button 🪄

“As a global company, sometimes we do get emails from customers in other languages. And sometimes when escalations occur, it might be going from a native speaker to a team member who doesn’t speak that language at all. So being able to click that button to get the summary of what they’re talking about without having to use Google Translate or loop in other people to spend their time in addition to yours has been amazing to get a quick, at-a-glance overview, give advice, and then go from there.”

- Matt Patrick, Director of Customer Success, Instructure

“[Our team has experienced] efficiency gains of two hours just in their email processing… they provide bullet points and the magic wand writes the rest, which has been a game changer… [AI has] significantly increased communication quality while at the same time reduced daily email burden on our team and you can’t do better than that. Less work and better output and more consistency as we scale the business.”

- Joe Daggar, VP of Technology and Enablement, PuzzleHR

Stay on the lookout for more AI features, coming soon:

  • AI Answers will free up more time for your agents to do more creative work, handle the exceptions, and proactively manage client relationships.

  • AI tagging will be able to assess the content of a conversation to automatically apply tags, set off automated workflows, and track trends with customer inquiries. No more manual tagging or complex keyword rules required.

🧠 Learn how to use Front’s AI capabilities.

More features to love

We’ve highlighted some major feature launches, but what made up the other 100+ releases? Here’s a snippet of the regular improvements we make to Front:

  • Resolution analytics help you understand the effectiveness of how you serve your customers, including metrics like % resolved on first reply.

  • Views help track high-priority conversations across specific inboxes, tags, and assignees when you save it as a View in your sidebar for easy access.

  • Dark mode can be applied to your Front inbox from your settings. Your eyes can thank us later.

  • Time off (formerly called Vacation Responders) is an even better way to reliably update assignment rules and shifts when teammates are OOO. Say goodbye to messages getting trapped in inboxes and hello to conversations getting covered.

  • Compact inbox view is a skimmer’s dream. Customize your conversation list to be more compact, making it easier to scan more messages within one view.

Wondering how to stay updated whenever we drop a feature? Bookmark Product updates 🔖

Three new resources to get more support

We launched Front Academy, Community, and Admin Certification to bring customers together to learn and share their Front knowledge this year.

Now you’re equipped with new resources to dive deeper into Front to learn best practices, get help from fellow Front users, and become your company’s official, go-to expert.

Onwards to 2024

We’ve made lots of headway in building a best-in-class customer operations platform to serve customer service teams. We’re humbled to land on Forbes Cloud 100 list again this year and win two Silver Stevie Awards in Customer Service Department of the Year and Achievement in Customer Satisfaction.

It reminds us that everything we do is to create more game changing moments for our customers. You inspire us to keep optimizing your workflows, to continue building a product your teams can’t live without, to think outside the box to make collaboration even better (and more fun 🙌).

As we look into the new year ahead, we’re excited to kick it off with customer awards to celebrate your successes with your own customers. We can’t wait to show you what we’re building to support your customer service goals into 2024 and beyond.

Written by Andrea Lean

Stories that focus on building stronger customer relationships