Use rules to set up auto-replies
Picture this: You're in the middle of a conversation with a customer and waiting for them to respond to your question. The day has flown by, and now it's 5:00pm. You still haven't received a response. You need to take the dogs for a walk and feed the children, so you end your work day. Your customer works all night, so they respond after hours. You don’t want your customer to be left hanging until the very next day. You want to let them know that you received their message, but you will follow up in the morning. You can use rules to do this automatically.
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: it will only trigger if the reply will be the first outbound message in the conversation.
- Always: it 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 how to set them up, visit our Rules Directory.
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.
Go into your Settings and select My rules for individual rules, or Rules for team rules. Let's create a team rule for this example.
Click Add a team rule.
Give your rule a name.
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.
Once your rule is complete, click Save.
At present, we support auto-replies in rules for the following channel types:
- Twitter (not Twitter DM)
- Front Chat
- Custom channels
Specifically for email messages, there are cases where you should expect auto-responses will not be sent, even if the rule conditions are all met.
Emails from no-reply@ addresses
Front will not sent auto-replies to messages received from no-reply@ / noreply@ addresses. noreply@ email addresses are often un-monitored inboxes.
There are various email headers which 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 / 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.
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.