Using Front Chat
Front Chat is the simplest way for teams to manage live chat in Front. With the Front Chat application installed on your website, messages from your site visitors appear instantly in Front for follow up from your team.
Customize your chat widget
Front Chat also allows you to customize your widget with custom colors, logos, header greetings, and website placement. You can also set a team name, configure an automated welcome message to be pushed to every site visitor, and enable email capture with a custom prompt.
Below is a screenshot of various settings. You can edit these at any time in your channel settings for your Front Chat channel.
Manage teammate display name and avatar
By default, each teammate’s name and avatar set in Front will be displayed in chat conversations with customers. If you’d like to customize the name and avatar shown in the chat widget, you have the option to use your team name and company logo instead using the Name and avatar for display setting. This change will be applied for all Front Chat teammates.
This feature is available only on the Scale plan.
Set offline hours to hide your chat widget
Front Chat will be always be visible on your website by default. If you'd like to hide your chat application when your team isn't available (such as at night), set your Offline hours in your Front Chat channel settings.
Keep in mind that offline hours hides the widget from view, but does not turn off chat if a customer already has the widget open before your offline hours started, and have not refreshed the page. Customers will still be able to send you messages in the open widget, so best practice is to use an auto-response during your offline hours to set the expectation for when they will receive a response.
Attachments in the chat widget
By default, visitors are allowed to send all supported attachment types in the widget. You can restrict certain file types or prevent visitors from sending attachments altogether.
Capture visitor email address and name
There are three options for collecting email or name information from visitors using Front Chat:
- Prompt users to optionally leave their email address: Front will prompt anonymous users 10 seconds after a chat is initiated to enter their email address to be notified of a response. This is the default setting.
- Don’t prompt users for their email: the email prompt will be disabled. Email and name information will not be collected from anonymous users.
- Require users to provide contact information to start a chat: users will be required to provide their email or email and name before they’re allowing to begin chatting
Recognize logged in users
If you are using Front Chat in a web or desktop application and need to identify logged in users, after adding the code snippet you will need to complete an additional step in your setup.
Copy your Verification Secret from your channel settings. This token will be required to create a server-side generated HMAC, which you will use to compute a hash of your users' emails. This hash is what you will have to send to the Front Chat API to authenticate your users — the identity verification will fail unless a user hash is provided. More technical details can be found here.
To reject messages from users not logged in to your site or app, turn on the Only accept messages from logged in users toggle in your channel settings. If you want to accept messages from anonymous visitors browsing your site, do not enable this toggle.
Manage chat conversations across multiple websites
Your custom chat application can be installed on as many pages as you wish, from a same domain. All messages will flow into a single chat inbox, and the conversation will be persistent for the customer across your entire site.
Your sessions will however not be maintained over different domains or subdomains. To share an example:
- A session will be maintained across example.com, example.com/about, example.com/shop
- A session will not be maintained if moving from example.com to shop.example.com or app.example.com
If you are managing multiple domains or subdomains, you can handle chat conversations separately for each site by creating a separate chat channel for each site.
Customize each application to match each site's branding, install the appropriate scripts, and the chat conversations for each website can be handled in separate inboxes in Front.
Once you set up a Front Chat channel, your team can chat with your website visitors in real-time directly from Front. Use the same rules, analytics, tags, and workflows for Chat that you use for your other channels (email, SMS, Twitter, etc) in Front.
Match visitors with your Front contacts or CRM integrations
If the visitor is logged in and verifies or enters their email in the email capture form, Front will search for that email address in your contacts. You can tell if a visitor has submitted their email if this message appears: "User submitted their email: email@example.com".
If the email address doesn't match an existing contact, a new contact will be created in Front. If the address matches an existing contact, the chat message will be linked to that contact's details. You can view all of their past conversations by choosing Contact details in your integrations panel.
If you have any integrations enabled that use an email address to identify records, those details will be displayed on the conversation. This applies to Front's CRM integrations: Salesforce, Pipedrive, Base, HubSpot, and Zoho.
If a site visitor does not enter their email address in the Notify Me prompt, the visitor will be anonymous unless you are using identity verification to pass user names and email addresses.
Transition conversations from chat to email
When a visitor enters their email address in the Notify Me flow, or has their verified identity set, Front can easily transition the conversation to email if they leave your site without following up.
When a Front user replies to a chat message and the visitor does not respond within 5 minutes, Front will automatically send an email transcript of the last 10 messages to the address the visitor submitted.
You can choose the email address your transcripts are sent from in your channel settings using the dropdown menu under Email capture. It must be sent from a team email channel that you have connected to Front. After setting up email capture in your Front settings, any new visitors to your site or a refresh of your site will get the email option.
When a transcript is emailed to a site visitor, you will see it recorded as an activity within that conversation. The chat transcript email will also be linked to the original chat conversation (and vice versa) so you can easily navigate between the two.
When a site visitor replies to the email transcript, the message will arrive in your chosen shared email inbox in Front. It will not be assigned to anyone, but you can use rules to assign conversations automatically (see below).
Use rules and analytics
Here are some example rules for Front Chat to help you get started:
Respond to messages automatically during offline-hours
Assign chats in a round-robin
Assign email follow ups to the user who replied to the chat
For Inbox is, choose the email inbox that your chat transcripts are sent from. For Body Contains, enter the teammate's chat transcript signature. Chat transcript signatures are always "- [User] at Front."
Route chats based on Front Chat visitor URL
Customize the feel of your conversations by sharing GIFs, using emojis, or sending files. Both Front users and website visitors can:
- Send and receive plain text messages and click full URLs
- Choose attachments (files up to 25mb) and preview images and GIFs. The supported attachment types are .pdf, .png, .jpg, .gif, .txt, .mp4, and .mov.
- Send shared links to Google Docs or Dropbox files for other content types
Front users have additional formatting options:
- Bold, italics, and strikethrough
- Bulleted and numbered lists
- Embedded hyperlinks
See what page your visitor is on
Understand where your visitor is on your website. Click the Visitor URL icon on the right side of any message view it. You can also click the link to navigate to the page.
You can also set up rules that automatically tag or route Front chat conversations to specific inboxes based on the URL a Front Chat visitor is initiating a conversation from.
Online and seen indicators
When a visitor has read your message, a Seen indicator will appear. You will also see a green Online indicator if the visitor is currently active.
You can see when a visitor is typing in the chatbox in real-time. This is what the visitor sees when you add Front Chat to your website:
This is what you'll see when replying to the visitor in Front:
Lemuel, a teammate in Front, is replying to the visitor (named "Support Verified") from the Front Chat inbox.
Are there character limits for Front Chat messages?
Yes. Each message has a 2000 character limit.
Can I log Front Chat messages into Salesforce?
Yes. You can use Front's rule engine to sync every inbound and outbound chat to Salesforce. The rule would look something like this: WHEN Inbound messages, IF Inbox is [chat inbox], THEN Send as task to Salesforce. In order for this to work, you will need to first have the Salesforce integration enabled in your settings. Salesforce will log the chat messages to the contact with a matching email address, similar to the logging email functionality Salesforce provides.
When is the welcome message displayed?
We will only display the welcome message the first time a visitor loads the widget.
This is related to the PROACTIVE_MSG_USER_COOKIE (appears as fcpmuc in the browser) that gets set the first time the message displays. If that cookie is present we won't show the message again to avoid a “noisy” experience.
This cookie is set to expire at the end of the session (browser/tab close), so the welcome message will be displayed the next time the site is visited.
If you'd like to override this behavior, your site will need to remove the "fcpmuc" cookie before loading the chat widget.
Front Chat is available on all plans.
All plans can use rule library templates to create rules pertaining to their Front Chat inbox. Custom rules and Analytics for Front Chat are available on the Growth plan or above. The Name and avatar for display setting is available on the Scale plan.
Some legacy plans with different names may also have these features.