Team Handled Email

Most email is from one person to one person. Or at least handled by one person. But not all of it! Customer support email is a classic example, especially customer support email that doesn’t have some exotic middleman ticketing system in between.

Perhaps a company has an email address like support@widgets.corp and that’s just how they do customer support. Customers email it, they get helped. And who answers it? Well, it could be one person, but maybe it could and should be handled by anybody at the company.

That’s what the app Front handles quite well.

You could just use it as a personal email client, and it would be fine, but you wouldn’t really be using it for what it’s for. (But it’s good to know that too, because in additional to helping with team-handled emails, you can handle your private and personal email in there as well.)

The main point is that everyone on your team logs into Front (as themselves) and is granted access to the email addresses they should. Perhaps it’s just that one support@ email, or perhaps your organization has a shared sales@ or security@ or whatever else, with limited sub groups who could see that.

Then, perhaps different people have different days of being “on point” on those email addresses. Or perhaps there is one person who always is, and assigns the incoming emails to individuals as needed. That’s part of the beauty of it: your organizations workflow should fall into place fairly naturally.

“Clear ownership” is a great feature of Front. As a new email comes into an inbox, it’s owned by that inbox. You can set up (quite powerful) Rules to, say, automatically assign them, or let that be a human task. Then once an email is assigned, it’s clear it is that persons responsibility to follow up.

Aside from the ownership thing, the best feature is the meta conversations. You can essentially leave a comment on any email thread and mention other team members. This adds a whole meta layer of conversation around email, which is totally a thing email can use! I’m usually a little sour on email client innovation ideas, as they tend to involve some kind of automation that doesn’t appeal to me, but what Front is doing with team-handled email is really something.

And worth mentioning: it’s not just email, but other incomming communication methods as well. I’d say Twitter DM’s but in this garbage period of Twitter existence I just assume that’s broken. But stuff like SMS messages.

2 responses to “Team Handled Email”

  1. Seems like overkill. support@widgets.corp shouldn’t be a separate email/user account, but a distribution list. Even the very basic Gsuite account allows you to configure that.

    If people that respond keep support@widgets.corp in CC, everybody else can observe the conversation and pick-it up, if whoever was handling it before is currently unavailable.

  2. To be fair to Front, the Twitter integration is really good, but mostly for DMs. Dealing with mentions is tiresome because it doesn’t know when you’ve muted a conversation (or user 😬).

    It still seems to be running fine too, even while other services are having API access revoked.

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