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What’s Front, and why is it a better way to work?

All about Front

The problem with work today 

Email seems to be both the most relied upon communication tool in work as well as the most common workplace woe. Originally built for 1-to-1 communication, it isn’t designed to support large teams or customer communication, and too often work that should be tackled by a team becomes siloed or chaotic as a result. 

These days, customer-facing teams look to a variety of other apps to fix the workflow that email lacks, like help desks. But the clunky software experience and impersonal communication that results takes the humanity out of work, and often causes teams to feel out of touch with their impact. People find themselves bouncing between different tabs consistently, draining productivity.

But there’s a reason teams still use email. It’s familiar and personal, and in many ways the backbone of workplace communication. 

Front is reinventing email for the way teams work. We wanted to solve for a dated, siloed email experience and robotic help desks, so we started from scratch. Front takes your email provider – like Gmail or Outlook – and adds all sorts of good stuff:

  • Automated workflows

  • Analytics built for visibility 

  • Internal coordination tools

  • Integrations with all your important apps 

  • A shared, company wide view of customer context

And that list isn’t comprehensive. Front helps you make more impact as a company and scale customer communication without losing the personal touch of email – all from your inbox.  

Front – making missions possible since 2013

Front is a customer communication hub that powers effective engagement at scale by combining email, apps, and teamwork into a single view. It transforms work into impact by meaningfully connecting your teams and customers and taking away the clutter, chaos, and impersonal customer experience that so often comes with today’s workflows. Ultimately, Front makes more missions possible by removing the inefficiencies of today’s work and supercharging personal customer communications. 

With Front, you get the automation and customization of a help desk, with the personal and familiar touch of email. Front integrates with all your favorite tools – Salesforce, Jira, Asana – so you can do all your work from your inbox. 

Who uses Front?

Front works best for customer-facing teams, though we find that all companies appreciate the fresh take on email. Below are some guides designed for specific customer-facing teams that don’t look back after switching to Front:

Email is the most widely-used workplace technology on the planet, but it could use a facelift. Front is your reliable, dependable email — redesigned for today, so that you and your team can work more efficiently.

How teams make a bigger splash with Front

Front’s mission is to help teams make a greater impact. There’s a few ways that teams see huge improvements in collaboration and productivity, and most importantly, customer experience, right away. 

1. Access every message and app in one inbox.

From CRMs and file storage, to customer support and project management, new tools pop up every day. And with time, there will be more. If we’re going to get work done, our inboxes need to integrate with these new tools.Since traditional email is separate from our other message platforms and apps, we spend time searching for context, switching tabs, and copy-and-pasting critical information. To save you time and make it easier to get work done, Front brings this context into your inbox:

  1. Manage all your messages in one place.Send an SMS text, reply to a Tweet, or start an internal discussion to hold a chat conversation with your teammate — without switching tools.

  2. Access your apps and tools in your inbox. From customer data to important context from past conversations, Front’s integrations pull all your critical information right into your inbox. You can create tasks in Asana, update customer records in Salesforce, or manage issues in JIRA directly from Front — so you don’t have to switch tools or enter information twice to get work done.

Integration panel - Reference Salesforce gif

2. Mention teammates on emails and work on drafts together.

Whether you’re forwarding a message to your boss to ask a question, or shooting an FYI to your entire team, you need to be able to discuss and share emails with teammates. That’s why many teams turn to chat apps like Slack to ask quick questions and discuss issues in real-time. This creates a few problems:

  1. The conversation happens separately from the original email, so when you look at it later on, you have no context on the situation.

  2. When you go to find that context, you have to search through multiple apps to find it.

  3. Chat messages can be distracting, and when they happen separately from the email itself, you have to message more to explain the email’s purpose.

Front brings the discussion to where it should be: with the original message. Loop teammates in on a conversation with an @mention, or get a second opinion on a reply by sharing a draft. With Front, you can get the context you need to work more efficiently.

mention gif

3. Automate the tedious tasks that suck up time.

We do the same things over and over with traditional email. We move emails into folders, forward emails to teammates, reply with similar answers — the list goes on. Front can do repetitive work for you with rules.

Using “if, then” statements, you can organize your messages based on trigger words, or route messages to certain people on your team at specific times. With Front, your email knows where it should go, and what it should do, all on its own.

rules gif

Teams come up with amazing time-saving automations using rules. Some common favorites include:

  • Assign emails containing a certain keyword to the right teammate: If the message contains “billing,” route it to the accounting manager.

  • Add tags to emails so you can quickly scan your inbox for urgent items: If the message is from Acme Corp, add the tags VIP Customer and Urgent.

  • Archive emails you don’t really need to read: Auto-archive calendar accepts or CRM record updates.

For more ideas, check out the Front Rules Directory.

4. Manage group email in team inboxes to save time.

Our claim to fame is our team inbox. It’s a supercharged shared inbox (an inbox like support@company.com that allows multiple people to send and receive email from the same address) with the following superpowers:

Got emails to distribution lists, Google Groups, Outlook shared mailboxes, or some other group alias, like contact@, team@, or support@? Front completely changes the way your team manages these emails to save you hours every week. With Front, you can create shared inboxes to manage messages as a team.

1) Create a shared inbox for anything, like “Success,” “Support,” or “Marketing,” for instance. The shared inbox lives in Front right below your individual work email, so it’s easy to find.
2) When someone sends an email to these inboxes, like “success@,” any teammates who’s part of that inbox can see the same copy of every email.
3) When one person replies, everyone can see that it’s been answered, without creating any additional copies or duplicate work for other teammates.
4) If you know the best person to respond, you can assign it to them so everyone knows who’s responsible for what.
5) When you reply to an email in a shared inbox, it’s archived for everyone and moved out of the queue. Poof.

Team inboxes gif

Shared inboxes drastically cut down on the number of emails you need to look at every day. Instead, you’re working through your group emails together. No need to read every single customer email; what’s important is that every customer gets a reply from your team, from whomever is best equipped to answer it.

5. Organize your inbox to work more efficiently.

With endless messages and very limited attention spans, we need a better way to organize our inboxes. Gmail and Outlook have tried solving this with spam, folders, and labels like “important.” These depend on teammates to sort messages individually, though, so everyone has to spend time organizing messages. The way you organize your inbox is probably very different from the rest of your team.

With Front, your team stays organized as a whole and can find information you need faster with team tags. You can make tags stand out in your inbox with colors and emojis, or view tagged messages at once like folders. You can also create your own private tags to organize messages for your personal workflow.

tag gif

Keep learning

Guide - 7 Min ReadCreate a successful Operations team with Front
Front helps Operations teams handle the overload of complex requests with accuracy and ease. With Front, Ops teams can easily collaborate on requests, set rules to efficiently route every message, and have peace of mind with reminders to follow-up when needed.  Once you’ve set your Ops team up using our getting started guide, it’s time to think about a strategy for helping your team thrive. Front is built to be customized to your team’s needs, meaning that you can design the workflow that helps tackle messages faster, work together on difficult requests 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 Ops team.  #Automate workflow Improve team efficiency by automating your workflow Setting your team up for success means establishing a natural workflow that eliminates busywork and clears the way for quick responses and resolutions across internal teams. Here are 4 actions to take that help streamline your workday.  Assign owners to requests As you get questions from different stakeholders, start assigning them owners. Once someone is assigned a message, it shows up in their personal inbox 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.  Let rules do the sorting for you 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 requests from the sales team tagged as “Sales Ops” and assigned to Kate? Or all questions about a new product or release assigned to Ren? There’s a rule for that. Want to make sure all inbound messages from VPs and above are responded to within 1 hour? Set up an SLA.  ‘Snooze’ a request so it never falls through the cracks It’s end of quarter and you’re busy. You get a less urgent request, or you’re asked to confirm final numbers once the quarter is officially closed.  By hitting “snooze” on an email, or “send and snooze,” you can set up an automatic reminder to check in on a message. Once things calm down or numbers are finalized, the message will pop back up in your inbox so there’s no chance of you dropping the ball.  At Front, we like to think of your inbox as your daily to-do list. So if a message doesn’t require action, archive it and rest assured you can search and find it at anytime. Snooze helps you prioritize what you’re focusing on and pair down your daily duties to the most crucial messages.  Save your most common updates as message templates Do you send weekly reporting to different teams? Or make regular requests to gather data? Save message templates for your team to drop in updates and use for common emails. This helps saves time and keeps consistency.   #Work together Align your team and work together on tough requests Whether it’s dividing and conquering, working together behind the scenes on a customer issue, or just chatting with colleagues, your team is stronger in Front. Learn how to efficiently and effectively collaborate to get work done faster and more thoughtfully.  Improve visibility by using a team inbox Each team has their own culture and preferred way of communicating, and sometimes it can be difficult to keep up and keep organized as your business grows. Front’s team inbox is a shared inbox that incorporates all your requests and communication channels into one place.  Think about your most commonly relied upon communication channels – like different email alias’ or SMS – 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 coming in, prioritize work together, and avoid context switching by looking at different apps to communicate. Plus, other internal teams will easily know how to reach you.   Loop in a co-worker by commenting on an email Tap a friend for a second opinion, or clue someone in to a data issue by commenting directly on an email. This replaces messy forwarding chains and makes collaboration much more actionable; when you at mention someone, they can stay in the loop and continue to provide support as you finalize the ask. Resolve issues faster by writing email drafts as a team. Providing an update on sensitive metrics? Or explaining a complicated analysis? 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.  Use internal discussions rather than a chat app Know you already asked a question to your team, but forget the answer and can’t find it? Hate jumping back and forth between chat apps and email all day? Discussions are here to save the day. They function just like chat apps but ensure you can search and find the answer, all in one place, at a later date.  Still need clarity? 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.  #Measure success Clear analytics helps you know exactly what’s happening  Keep track of what your team is working on and where there are gaps by tuning into success metrics and performance trends. Front Analytics is set up to give you insight into your customer experience from all angles so you’re set up to know how to deliver your very best at all times.  Analytics help your team be their best Want to see how your team is balancing requests? Does supporting one team require significantly more effort than another? Use Analytics to see how many requests teammates are fielding, which teams ask for the most support, or what your busiest days are. Then, adjust accordingly by finding out who needs more support and where there’s opportunity to create a better balance for your team. You can also pull up an Analytics report on your SLAs, so you can evaluate and improve response time to certain important stakeholders. Tags and proper triaging to prioritize work Tags (like folders) are ways to sort your incoming messages by type, sender, urgency, project, etc. Set up a tag for data discrepancies, or create a channel for all SMS messages. 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 ops email, or how many requests does the sales leadership make vs product. #Universal inbox Save time by accessing all communication, teammates, and apps in one view  With all your tools, customers, and teammates in one view, Front becomes your universal inbox that streamlines your workflow and helps avoid multiple tabs, context switching, and lost work. Here’s how to use your inbox to get more done.  Integrations keep all your work in one place Some teams depend on Jira to make action happen, while others swear by Asana, Todoist, or Trello to help manage projects as a team. Or maybe you want a knowledge base or CRM handy. Whatever app or software it is, integrate it with Front to access it when you need it without leaving the context of your inbox. Front offers more than 50 integrations that just require a simple sign on to get started, and if you need one that we don’t offer there’s open APIs that make set up easy. Mark a task done, create a ticket, or reference important info – all from your inbox.  A calendar in your inbox for all your scheduling needs Scheduling can be chaotic, and it’s especially tedious to have to flip between tabs to coordinate meetings that are being talked about in your email. In the upper right hand corner of Front you’ll find your calendar – pop it open at any time to view meetings or schedule time to chat with a customer.  Front is your universal inbox Front powers the heart of your inbox – where your team and customers meet. By funneling all your critical communication – from apps, email, and more – into one single source of truth, your team is empowered to take action quickly. Develop a command center for all of your people and messages to handle the overload of complex requests with accuracy and ease.
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