Use rules to set up auto-replies

Overview

Use Front rules to set up auto-replies to respond to your customers during off hours, to acknowledge their message, or even to follow up when you haven't heard back from them. 


How it works

When creating an auto-reply rule in Front, you have two options - send the reply Once or send the reply Always:

  • Once: rule will only trigger if the reply is for a single inbound message on a new conversation.
  • Always: rule will send a reply every time the rule conditions are met, regardless of whether messages have been sent already.

The tricky part occurs when you can’t use Once because you've already gone back and forth with the customer and it’s not the first outbound message in the conversation; and you can’t use Always because you don’t want them to continue to get the auto-reply over and over if they keep writing in. There’s a trick to use Always but only have it trigger Once. The instructions below will show you how to accomplish this.

For more examples of popular rules and templates, see the rules library in the app.


Instructions

Step 1

Determine whether you need to create an individual rule or a team rule. Individual rules will apply to private conversations in your individual inbox. Team rules will apply to shared conversations in team inboxes.

Step 2

Click the gear icon on the top right of Front and into the Company or Personal settings tab, depending on which space you are working with, and select Rules from the left menu.

Let's create a team rule for this example. 

Step 3

Click Add a team rule.

Step 4

Give your rule a name.

Step 5

In this example, we are setting up an auto-reply to be sent to all inbound messages, no matter if it's a new support inquiry, or we're in the middle of a thread already. The rule will have these elements:This rule is stating that any inbound message into the Support inbox that does not have the tag Holding response will be replied to with the message template Support Inbox Holding Reply, and add the tag Holding response. Adding the tag is an important step so that if the customer replies to the auto-reply, they won't receive the auto-reply a second time.

You can customize the rule even further to specify days or times. For a full list of rule conditions, see the Guide to rule conditions.

Step 6

Once your rule is complete, click Save.


Supported channels

At present, we support auto-replies in rules for the following channel types:

  • Email
  • Twitter (not Twitter DM)
  • SMS
  • Facebook
  • Intercom
  • Smooch
  • Front Chat
  • Custom channels
  • WhatsApp

Exceptions

There are certain cases for email messages when auto-responses will not be sent by Front's rules, even if the rule conditions are all met.

Emails from no-reply@ addresses

Front will not send auto-replies to messages received from no-reply@ or noreply@ addresses. noreply@ email addresses are often un-monitored inboxes and often return errors, as they are not designed to be emailed, so Front does not attempt to message them.

Automated emails

There are various email headers that can be set to indicate an email was sent via an automated tool, rather than an individual; such as vacation responder emails, messages sent to members of a Google Group or distribution list, or automated marketing messages. In order to help prevent issues like auto-responder loops — two automatic responses perpetually replying to each other — Front will not send automatic replies to messages which were detected as being generated automatically. 


FAQ

Can rules send follow-up auto-replies? 

Yes! Let's say you want to add an email that checks in with a customer after 2 days without a response to your first outreach. You could set up a rule as follows:


WHEN: Outbound Message is sent
IF: Oldest unreplied message is still unreplied after 2 days
THEN: Reply always with Follow up template. 

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