Top 3 workflow winners

  • 27 June 2023
  • 5 replies

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We built Front to be a flexible communication hub that you can adapt to your team’s unique needs. With rules, integrations, and our API combined, the sky’s the limit. You can build your own automations to do things like moving messages to other inboxes, auto-replying, or triggering alerts. You can integrate other software into Front. You can even create custom apps and channels that live directly in your inbox.

Over the years, we’ve realized: our customers are incredibly creative. Often, you build Front workflows that we could never even have thought of on our own. That’s what prompted our first-ever Front workflow competition in 2021: Flow & Tell. Our main goal? Let’s celebrate the magic you’re creating in Front and share it with the world to see.

The rules of Flow & Tell

It’s important to note that there were so many awe-inspiring workflows submitted that judging this contest was not an easy process. There were three axes we looked at for each submission:

  • Efficiency: How have you increased productivity, moved faster, or saved time?

  • Creativity: How unique or outside-the-box is this workflow? Has anyone done it before or are you blazing a new trail?

  • Business value: How powerful and impactful is this workflow on your customers?

Without further ado, we’re excited to share with you the winners of our first-ever Flow & Tell competition.

We encourage you to comment on these workflows or add your own ideas for how you would customize similar ones.

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First Place: McQuilling’s efficient ship brokerage automation

McQuilling is an international ship brokerage and marine transportation consultancy whose entire staff relies on Front—all 130+ people across Broking, Operations, Services, and Administration.

The workflow

With McQuilling’s workflow masterpiece, emails are automatically assigned to the right operator for the voyage. Now they’re serving the same amount of customers with 15% fewer employees due to retirement. And their customer experience? It’s smooth sailing. (Get it?)

Why it’s great

Through this workflow, their team saved time and cut down on context switching, so they’re laser-focused on voyages, can work faster, and can even enjoy down time. Since messages are properly linked to their internal database they can quickly take action without leaving Front—whether at their desk, on the road, or in a meeting. It has also facilitated better remote collaboration during the pandemic.

McQuilling’s workflow automatically tags new emails and assigns them to the right operator. Then they use Slash commands in Front comments to take action on emails quickly.

How it works

  1. An incoming message from a customer in Front fires a webhook to a server that extracts the vessel name, deal date, charterer’s reference details, and sender from the message.

  2. They automatically match that information to the current set of voyages, also known as ’Ships on Water’, which lives in their Marine Logistics System (MLISA).

  3. Then several things happen: the message is assigned to the right operator, the broker is notified that a voyage message was received, and the message is classified with a tag: Voyage order, Invoice, Status.

  4. If the flow detects a problem with MLISA data, users are informed automatically in a Slack channel so they can dig deeper.

  5. Then, if an operator needs to act on a message, update a vessel ETA, link an MLISA file, or give a status update, they can use automation in Front’s comments. Comments that begin with a backslash ’\’ trigger webhooks that automate common actions.

  6. Slash commands are parsed and mapped to key actions, and automatically provide success or failure feedback to the user via an inline comment posted using a bot.

A job well done, McQuilling team. We’re thrilled to see what you cook up next!

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Second place: Bellman’s all-in-one property management portal

Bellman is a real estate company whose entire staff, including Property Managers, Accountant, Operations, and Sales, rely on Front to route messages from tenants to the right property manager.

The workflow

Bellman’s team leverages a combination of tagging, rules, and Front’s API to get every message, including voicemails, to the right property owner. The outcome of their workflow is incredible: 95% of emails are assigned to the property manager automatically, without anyone lifting a finger, so they can stay focused on what matters: providing fast, thorough service.

Why it’s great

Thanks to their plugin, they’re responding faster because triage for almost every message is taken care of instantly, instead of waiting to be sorted and routed by a human. Instead, they’re seamlessly sent to the right contact, reducing response time drastically and creating an excellent customer experience.

Bellman’s workflow automatically tags emails for landlords and allows them to insert documents and information into emails with just a few clicks.

How it works

Auto-tagging emails for specific property managers

  1. Every email to the Bellman team comes to a shared inbox in Front.

  2. Each message is sent to their API through webhooks.

  3. They analyze the conversation to identify which building it’s about by matching the “from” email address with their CRM, extracting the building address with Natural Language Processing, and matching it with their database.

  4. When the building is identified, Front’s rules automatically add a tag on the conversation, so it’s easy to find all conversations about this building later.

  5. Rules also assign the conversation to the corresponding property manager to be handled.

Transcribing voicemails to emails

  1. People can call Bellman’s team and leave voicemails using Twilio.

  2. When the team receives a new voicemail, it’s transcribed to text.

  3. They send the voice message text to their shared inbox email.

  4. There, the conversation can be tagged and assigned just like an email.

Connecting customer data to Front

  1. The Bellman team built a custom plugin to access their internal software for property managers and accountants directly inside Front.

  2. The plugin displays all context about the current conversation in Front: building information, landlords, or any related internal files.

  3. When an email comes in, they can easily reference information about the landlord or a building—like the door code, for instance. They can also send a new email to all landlords of a building, import third party invoices, or manage building files for water leaks, quotes for work being done, and more.

Our minds are blown, Bellman. Keep sharing these flows with us!

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Third place: Trusted Health’s TOMAS data-retrieval bot

Trusted Health’s 300+ person team connects nurses looking for flexible jobs with suppliers looking to hire. Their Candidate Experience, Accounts, Extended Workforce, and Compliance teams use Front to help nurses find their ideal roles.

The workflow

The Trusted Health team built a bot named TOMAS, short for “Technical Operations Marketplace Automation System.” TOMAS automates tasks, enables instant access to important data, and makes managing communication simple through a series of commands in Front’s comments. Oh yeah—TOMAS is also an adorable little shark.

Why it’s great

With TOMAS, instead of manually writing messages or needing to open new tabs and look up information, they use commands to take action without ever leaving Front. Front usage efficiency has increased by 35% since implementation of TOMAS.

Trusted Health’s comment bot triggers rules that move messages, generate drafts, and more—instantly.

How it works

  1. When TOMAS is mentioned in a Front comment (@tomas), a rule is triggered.

  2. The rule sends conversation details to Zapier, where a TOMAS command record is created in Salesforce.

  3. Depending on the content of the command, along with other related records containing nurse data, various automations are triggered via Salesforce flows.

  4. Finally, TOMAS uses Front’s Core API to POST updates to the relevant conversations, adding comments, moving and tagging messages, and generating drafts.

Does TOMAS have a brother? We could use his help around here too…

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Most creative: Prusa Research’s color-coded message assignments

Prusa Research is a 3D printing company based in Czech Republic. Their entire 200-person company relies on Front to manage communications for Customer Support, Development, Sales, Purchasing, Accounting, and Management teams.

The workflow

Prusa Research’s workflow allows them to achieve a better work life balance since the team operates on across the globe in different time zones. Their creation makes it easy to assign emails to 50+ support agents and 200+ other users across time zones based on color coding for each teammate in Front.

Why it’s great

They’ve recently released this workflow, but they’re expecting to see faster reaction and response times for support messages. They aim for a longterm better quality of life for support agents who have constantly rotating schedules. Instead of assigning messages to someone who’s wrapping up their work day or offline, they can ensure messages are assigned to those who are just starting their work day.

Prusa Research added automatic color coding to their Front inbox, so it’s easy to see who’s available to answer a message, across time zones and varying work hours.

How it works

  1. When a new message comes in, it needs to be assigned to an agent who can handle it.

  2. Their plugin displays teammate names in the Assignments dropdown in color coding, so it’s easy to tell if an agent is available to take the message.

  3. Based on the color of the agent’s name, they can quickly see how many emails are assigned to a teammate and if an agent will work later today, is working now, will not be working until tomorrow, or is completely out of office.

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This content was originally published by Emily Hackeling on our blog.