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Respond faster, 24/7: Five ways to optimize shifts in Front

Sometimes, customer support can feel like a game of telephone. When shifts change and issues pass to new teammates, key information is lost along the way — or even worse, conversations get stuck with teammates who aren’t online to handle them. Your team feels like they’re missing messages, and your customers are left hanging.

Front’s new Shifts solution connects your team’s schedule with your support workflow, so it’s easy for teams working in multiple shifts to deliver a smooth customer experience. Conversations only go to teammates available to handle them, and you can distribute workloads evenly to optimize your entire team’s bandwidth. It’s easy to schedule across multiple timezones, so coordinating a global team has never been simpler.

The end result? Your customers get the fastest response possible — 24/7.

🗓 Never let a message slip through the cracks (in your schedule)

Most of the time, keeping track of who’s on what shift is easy to forget. Conversations are assigned to off-duty teammates by mistake, which leaves customers with urgent issues waiting too long for a response.

With Shifts, it’s quick and easy to set up your team’s schedule, and Front takes care of the rest to help you minimize wait times for your customers. Assignment rules skip off-duty teammates automatically, so conversations won’t sit in their queues and put your response time service levels at risk.

📈 Measure performance with greater precision

Especially when your team is distributed across multiple regions, getting a clear picture of response time performance can be a challenge. These insights are key to improving your team’s efficiency over time, so attention to detail matters.

Setting specific shift hours for each teammate makes Front analytics more accurate, so you can reliably spot opportunities for improvement. Each teammate is measured against the specific hours they work in their local timezone, rather than a single set of business hours, for more precise metrics.

⚡ ️Optimize response time with load balancing

Shifts works with Front rules to get conversations into the right hands based on specific skills, clients, or other criteria. Together, they enable your team to consistently conquer the queue, even on your busiest days.

Now, load balancing rules make it easier than ever to manage high volume. With load balancing, conversations are assigned to the teammate with the most bandwidth to handle them (and are held in a queue if no one is ready). Custom conversation limits ensure messages always go to the person who can respond fastest, even if some agents are still in training.

🚀 Help new teammates ramp up faster

Shifts and load balancing help you keep your support workflows up to date with your growing team. It’s simple to add new teammates to Shifts when they come on board, and if you manage team scheduling in another tool, Shifts can be updated through the Front API for smart scheduling behind-the-scenes.

You can also set lower load balancing limits for new teammates to ensure their workload stays manageable, so your customers won’t suffer if they take longer to respond per conversation. As they get up to speed, you can increase their limit to match your more experienced agents.

🌍 Set up teams in other timezones for success

Shifts and rules work together to make sure conversations are only assigned when a given teammate’s business hours start. It’s less overwhelming for your team — and a better experience for your customers.

Instead of coming into find a queue of assigned messages from customers who have been waiting for hours for a response, your team can start fresh when their shift begins. You can even set when assignments should stop before a shift ends to make sure your team has enough time to wrap up before they go offline.

✨ Coming soon in Front

Together, Shifts and load balancing empower your team to stay on top of their work and respond to customers as quickly as possible. With accurate reporting to share with internal teams and customers, you can make informed decisions to keep giving better service.

Activate the Shifts add-on on your Front plan for $10/user in the coming weeks. Load balancing, as part of Front’s advanced rules, will be available to all customers on Pro plans. Keep an eye out for when these features are live in the app, and get in touch to see them in action!

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One Pager - 4 Min ReadManaging a remote team in Front
Whether your team is distributed across continents, working from home on Fridays, or somewhere in between, staying aligned and connected can be challenging. Our philosophy on remote work is that with the right product (and a stellar team) remote work should actually make your team more efficient, motivated, and even more collaborative.   With the right workflows in place, your team can get past the potential work-from-home-woes and channel energy into the customer and team interactions that fuel your mission. Here are 5 steps to bring out the best in your remote team with Front.  1. Collaborate from anywhere to stay aligned and connected We’ve built features into Front that are designed to make remote teams work more efficiently and collaboratively. It all starts with a Team Inbox, where all your communication channels are funneled into one place for your whole team to see and take action on. That means off the bat, there’s a shared view of what’s happening and everyone is inherently on the same page. Set up a team inbox so your team can manage all customer messages from one place, together.  When working on a message or project, loop in a coworker with a simple @mention. Comments avoid the duplicative and chaotic workflow of forwards and ccs, and makes it seamless and natural to create a thread on an email, handoff a project, or escalate a message. It recreates the quick desk chats that happen in the office, and lets you feel like a team from anywhere. Another great tool is Internal Discussions. Invite a co-worker, a group of teammates, or a whole team inbox to chat in a discussion, and add a topic so it’s searchable and easy to find. This keeps work where it should be – your inbox – and omits the need for alternative team chat tools.  Lastly, you can share a draft with a teammate to write it together or coach someone on messaging. Working on it together in realtime saves you time going to another app to chat about an approach.  2. Stay accountable to one another while apart  We mentioned it before, but Team Inboxes really are the holy grail of team alignment. At a glance you can see all incoming messages, and nothing gets hidden or lost in a personal inbox.  The easiest way to help hold people accountable – and make it clear to others what they’re responsible for – is to assign a message. In a simple click, you can let someone know that it’s time for them to jump in. And afterwards, you can scan the team inbox and see what work is assigned to who so it’s easy to check in on progress or proactively know who to support.  Want to see whether your teammate or customer viewed the message you've sent? Stay accountable to one another with read receipts. Want to make sure you let nothing slip through the cracks? “Snooze” a message so that it’ll pop back up in your inbox later and remind you to follow-up. 3. Get a bird’s eye view of performance and customer experience The easiest way to get constant visibility into your remote team’s workday is through Views. Create a View to keep a pulse on what tags are being used the most, response time, and team performance. Tailor it to what you care about most, like when incoming messages are tagged as “VIP” or when an SLA is at risk of a breach.  Or, take it one step further. Front Analytics provides you a real-time pulse on your team’s workload and performance, as well as customer’s experience. We recommend you schedule a report to arrive in your inbox regularly – daily, weekly, whatever’s best for you – so you don’t even have to remember to check the Analytics tab.  Customize your report to show what you’re most interested in, like… Average response time  Handle time ‘Heatmap’ of your busiest hours How often different customers right in 4. View all customer context from Front, from anywhere A shared view of customer context helps your remote team stay on the same page, pick up where another left off, and your customer feel taken care of. View all recent communication from a specific customer, and bring up their history next to any message to come across as a united front from anywhere.  Front also integrates with your favorite software, so you can bring up your most relied upon tools with next to your inbox. View CRM data or move a message to a project management tool to keep your work stream efficient and up to date.  5. Automate workflows to escalate to escalate work and keep your team on track Finding the right workflow for your remote team is key to keeping everyone aligned and on top of work. Front’s Rules Library lets you discover our most popular Rule Templates – if-then conditions that trigger actions. You can customize and activate them in a matter of clicks.  The library is full of templates to help: Ensure your team replies on time Route messages to the right person or team Give your team appropriate visibility  Keep your inboxes tidy Increase your team’s efficiency   If you don’t find something that fits your needs, create a rule from scratch.
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