“Whatever we do, it better have puppets.”
-Me, February 2021. Put it on my gravestone.
Thus began our journey toward the Oneness. We didn’t end up doing puppets, but where we did end up was much stranger, much better, and much more rewarding.
But we’re starting at the end when we should be starting at the… well… start.
Back around the beginning of the year, we knew we had a bit of an awareness problem. Not that many people had heard of Front — or at least not as many people as we wanted to. I’m no M.B.A., but I do know that one of the most important steps in the journey towards purchasing a product is having heard of said product.
So we contracted an agency, Where The Buffalo Roam, to help us put together an advertising campaign to get our brand out to a wider audience. And yeah, my starting place was puppets.
I don’t need to go into 1.) why puppets rule or 2.) what puppet-based conversations took place beyond:
They just do, and…
There were many.
But we ended up landing on a much better and more cohesive, developed concept: The Oneness.
Not a hard bar to pass, since “puppets” isn’t exactly what you’d call a concept. But what, you might ask, is the Oneness? Good question.
Welcome to the Oneness
The Oneness is a place, a feeling, and a state of being that exists in the liminal space between working and not working, between accomplishing your goals and doing nothing at all. It’s at the perfect nexus of your teammates, your customers, and your work tools, and there at the center is you. Well, you and Front. Together.
Unfortunately, like the Matrix, no one can be told what the Oneness is. They have to see it for themselves.
Essentially, it’s a chill, vibey place where people float on clouds, play weird psychedelic chess, and oh yeah, route thousands of emails to their account owners automatically without lifting a finger.
When somebody’s never heard of your product or your brand before, it doesn’t make the most sense to break out the charts and graphs or get deep into what’s going on under the hood. It’s like any new relationship: you form a feeling long before you know what makes that person tick. That’s why first impressions are so important.
And when we thought about what takeaways we needed our audience to have after watching these videos, an in-depth understanding of how Front integrates with customer workflows and CRM platforms wasn’t even within miles of our list. In fact, our list of takeaways was really, really short:
Front is a business software that has something to do with customer communication.
Front seems cool and unique, and it feels like it might make my job less stressful.
There will be all kinds of moments later on in the relationship to teach, to go deeper, to get technical, to get specific. But we won’t get any more chances to make a first emotional impression.
Okay, but what’s going on in these scenes?
Let’s finish this out be diving into each of these four vignettes. We were aiming for a kind of “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy” meets David Attenborough nature doc meets Adventure Time aesthetic, full of mixed media and surreal scenarios.
I know I just got done saying that it’s just the feeling that matters, but these are actually pretty accurate windows (despite all the weirdness) into what using Front is actually like. Plus there are some cool easter eggs in each one.
The premise of this video is that your inbox is a mountain. When you start work in the morning, you might be looking at dozens, if not hundreds of unread messages, and it feels like you’re staring up at the summit of Mount Everest and you’ll never get to the top of it as more emails are coming in every minute.
But Front takes all the hard work out of managing your inbox. You can set up rules, like Susan does in this clip, to automate routing thousands of customer messages to the right person. Companies using Front save an average of six hours per week per user. It doesn’t feel like trekking up an impossibly high mountain, it feels like you’re already at the top and the mountain is growing beneath you.
Fun fact: on set the actor playing Rodney had about a hundred fully improvised and fully hilarious responses at the end of the scene.
This is potentially the most beautiful scenario. It’s like if Inception was only about Leonardo DiCaprio’s good dreams. For most companies, data and analytics — especially when it comes to customer communication — are a nightmare. Everything feels opaque and muddy. Important context is siloed in different apps, teams, and spreadsheets. You can’t measure and improve anything like response time or resolution time, and you have no idea the path any given message takes through your organization.
The opposite of that is a crystal clear alpine lake. You can see all the way to the bottom, and there, in the water, it’s your customer. But your customer is also yourself. And wouldn’t you like to get to know yourself/your customer a little better?
Front’s analytics can do everything you see in this clip — they’re only a click away in your inbox, and give you total context and clarity to make the right decision without switching apps.
Fun fact: we shot a whole conversation between Kevin and, uh, Customer Kevin. If you’ve ever seen Dude, Where’s My Car, you’d get the gist of it!
Have you ever gone on vacation, or even clocked out over the weekend, and when you get back there’s an absolute disaster waiting for you in your inbox? I definitely have. Experiences like that are what make people obsessively check their email even at night or when they’re on PTO. That’s just not healthy.
Front has a lot of built-in tricks and tools to help you truly unplug at the end of the day or on holiday. When you set yourself to out-of-office, rules can take over to automatically route your customer emails to another representative. Assignments make sure that no customer message goes unreplied to, and nobody drops the ball while you’re gone.
Fun fact: In one take, the actor playing Denise ate one of those pineapple slices. Nobody called “cut” so she just kept eating — even the peel! It was the funniest take of the whole day and to my everlasting regret, it was too long to fit into a 15 second cut.
If you ask any Front user (including me) what the most indelible feature is in the platform, almost everyone would say commenting. I cannot imagine a world where I can’t quickly @mention a teammate with a quick question about an email. It should be a default feature in literally every work inbox, and the fact that it’s only in Front is an abject failure of the whole capitalist system.
But it’s also not super simple to explain what it is and how it works in a 15 second clip. We tried our best in Whisper. With all the effort of a Shaolin monk blowing the fluff off of a dandelion, Rodney can get chat with his whole team all over the world in the thread of an email. Total context, total collaboration. No switching to Slack to talk about an email. No forwarding the email around or endless copying. Simple. Fun fact: This concept started out as like a humpback whale bellowing from a mountain top, but it just felt like it was a lot more effort than what goes into commenting. We wanted it to feel effortless.
One of the problems in marketing any software product — especially one that offers brand new ways of working — is that it can be tough to explain sometimes. Like the Matrix and the Oneness, it really helps to see Front for yourself. You can get started with Front right now with no commitment or cash out of your pocket. Click here to get started, if. only to get a feeling for what working in the Oneness could be like!
Written by Matthew Klassen
Originally Published: 10 August 2021