Explaining Front inboxes, empty inboxes, and channels
The Front platform brings with it a new way of working that allows teams to create and build out custom workspaces using Front inboxes. Here's what you need to know.
What's an inbox?
First, leave behind the traditional concept of what an inbox means to you. Historically, an inbox is used to represent a single mailbox where you manage your emails.
At Front, we've borrowed the concept of an inbox because it is familiar, but broadened the application. A Front inbox should be thought of as an organizational container or space. When you create a new inbox in Front, you create a new organizational space in your Front workspace. An inbox can be a shared team inbox, or a private individual inbox.
A Front inbox can hold one channel, multiple channels, or can be an empty inbox.
What's a channel?
Plainly speaking, a channel represents the communication medium that people use to get in touch with you.
A channel can be an email address, phone number for SMS, Facebook business page, Twitter handle, live chat client, and more. See this section for instructions on how to add the various types of communication channels to Front.
What's an empty inbox?
An empty inbox is an inbox without any channels attached to it. This is purely an organizational space into which you can move conversations from other inboxes. You can manually move conversations into an empty inbox, or can create rules that automatically move conversations into the inbox.
If you're unsure whether or not to use tags or empty inboxes to organize your conversations, check out this article.
Real-world use cases
Here's a real-world example of how the support team at ACME, Inc. uses inboxes in Front.
Inboxes with one channel
When starting out, the ACME support team manages all communication with their customers through email@example.com. This is the only communication channel they need to manage, so they create a single Support Inbox and add their support@ channel into it.
Inboxes with multiple channels
As the business grows, the support team finds that their customers want to reach out to them on social media, so they decide to add Facebook and Twitter channels into Front.
The support team realizes that their customers' expectations for social media channels are different compared to email communication, so they decide to create a separate Social Media Inbox and add both the Twitter and Facebook channels to it. This allows them to consolidate the two channels into one inbox, making it easier for the team to manage social media communications.
As the support team continues to grow, members on the team start to specialize in specific types of requests and have varying technical capabilities. The team realizes they need a system to escalate conversations. The team decides to create a Tier 2 Support inbox that will be managed by more senior support agents. Senior support agents will still use the support@ channel to communicate with customers, so they create Tier 2 Support as an empty inbox.
Because Tier 2 Support is an empty inbox with no channels, no new conversations will flow directly into the inbox. Instead, when a message comes into the Support Inbox and an agent needs assistance from a senior support agent, they'll move the conversation to the Tier 2 Support inbox to escalate the inquiry.
Is there a way to exclude messages from showing up under "all messages" (the 'master' team inboxes view)?
I have a folder that is getting messages 'imported' into it. The way our team uses Front, we are always in the "Team Inboxes" and viewing with the 'Open' filter, so we can address incoming issues. The folder "Ratings" does not receive "real-time" conversation that need to be addressed but it's showing up mixed in with our live issues...