Understanding rules

👋Register here for a training recording about how to take advantage of the latest updates: AND/OR conditions and using rules to trigger other rules. 

Overview

Front's rules engine allows you to automate your workflows. Rules can help you handle repetitive tasks to save time and increase your team's efficiency in Front. 

This article will help you understand how rules work. After reading, go ahead and try to create a rule. For examples of popular rules, visit our Rules Directory.


Rules fundamentals

Rule types

There are two kinds of rules: team rules and individual rules.

Team rules are applied to any shared inbox and can only be created by Admins.

Individual rules will apply to your individual inbox and internal discussions. 

Parts of a rule

Rules are made up of three types of conditions: triggers, filters, and actions.

See here for a full Guide to rule conditions.

1. Triggers (WHEN)

Triggers specify the types of events that will cause Front to start evaluating the conditions of your rule and see if they are met.

 

2. Filters (IF)

Filter conditions are the criteria that determine whether a rule will be actioned on. More on how to use And/Or statements can be found in this article.

 

3. Actions (THEN)

Actions specify the actions that will result when the rule is processed successfully (when all filters are met). You have the option to check off Stop processing other rules to prevent the actions of the rule to trigger other rules.

Most rule conditions are available on the Starter and Plus plans, with a few Advanced conditions on the Pro plan. 


Ordering of rules

You are able to order your rules if you want certain ones to take priority over others, in the case that there are conflicts in the rules actions. This means that the one ordered higher will have its actions take precedence, and the lower rule may only apply some of its actions so as not to conflict with the other. Time-based rules are special, in the sense that they will only be processed if the conditions are met at the designated time. 

Type in the desired position of the row, or the arrows to the left of each rule (upon hovering), to adjust rules up or down the list.

  


Rules triggering other rules

Sequential rules

With Front's rule engine, an action of a rule can be used to trigger a subsequent rule, so you can build a sequence of rules to rule one after another. Here's an example sequence:

Rule #1
WHEN: Inbound Message
IF: From company.com
THEN: Add Company tag

Rule #2
When: Conversation tagged
IF: Added tag is Company
THEN: Assign to Andersen

Because Rule #1 is processed first, the Company tag will be added. This will create a conversation tagged action, which allows for Rule # 2 to be triggered. And because the Company tag is present, the second rule is processed and the conversation is now assigned to Andersen.

Rule actions that do not trigger sequential rules:

  • If a rule action moves a conversation to a different inbox, subsequent rules will not work on this conversation because it now belongs in a different space.
  • If a rule action assigns a conversation (or if a conversation is already assigned), a rule cannot re-assign it. 
  • Rules with Unreplied after or Unassigned after conditions cannot trigger sequential rules with their actions.

Option to stop processing other rules

If after a rule is processed, and you don't want subsequent rules to apply, check the Stop processing other rules box. When this option is checked, subsequent rules will be ignored even if they would apply to the conversation. 

The exception to stop processing are time-based, or scheduled, rules. Rules with Unreplied after or Unassigned after conditions are scheduled by time, and therefore are not taken into consideration as a rule to be stopped.


Rule exceptions

There are some cases where rules will not work:

  • Sending a canned response will not trigger a rule with an outbound reply condition.
  • Moving a rule from an individual inbox to a team inbox, or from one team to another team, will not trigger a conversation move rule in the new inbox.
  • A conversation that is already assigned cannot be re-assigned by a rule.

Time-based rules FAQ

Does time zone matter?

The timezone that you are in when creating the rule is the timezone that the rule will act on. If you modify the rule in a different time zone, we will detect this and the change will automatically be made.

How does the "time is between" condition work?

When using a Time is between condition, if you set your time to be between 9 pm - 9 am for Monday - Friday. Front will take into account Friday 9 pm to Saturday 9 am.


Rules and analytics

Actions made by rules are not counted into analytics. For instance, if you have a rule to auto-archive emails, the archive does not count as a reaction time. These actions are excluded from analytics.

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  • I cant get rules to work.  Simple one that when I assign a tag it should move boxes - anything I am missing?

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  • Hi Chris,

    Sorry I'm just now seeing this. Did you ever get it to work?

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  • I'd love an option for 'Stop processing further rules'. I need to have a lot of extra clauses in rules further to the end to stop from triggering for earlier rules. This is really simple in Freshdesk (which we use while evaluating Front)

    Reply Like 1
  • Jean-Paul Horn can you explain this a bit more? Are you looking for something like "if this rule is triggered, override other rules" or what?

    Reply Like 1
  • I have a rule that assigns a message to a teammate based on contents of the message, and another rule that notifies all team members if this message is not assigned.

    However, it seems everyone on the team is still getting the notification even if the message is assigned to the teammate, using the first rule.

    I have the rules ordered so that the "assign to teammate" rule is processed first. Considering the message is then "assigned" shouldn't that prevent the second rule "notify all teammates" from processing?

    Thanks for the help.

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  • Is there an action to follow a conversation?

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  • Micah Kohne Hi, and sorry for the delayed reply. Can you please send an email with the names of these rules so that we can investigate?

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  • ddofborg Unfortunately not!

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  • Thanks for the reply  Cori Morris - I added a delay to the second rule to check if the message is assigned and that makes it work properly.

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  • Is there a way to make a rule be case-sensitive?

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  • roundedbygravity Not at this time. I will share this request with our product team, though.

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    • Rolf Dröge
    • co-founder of kollekt.fm
    • Rolf_Droge
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

     Cori Morris , I can add a personal tag to the messages in our shared team inbox but is it also possible to create a team rule that adds this (personal) tag to a message received in our team inbox?

    Reply Like
  • Rolf Dröge Not at this time. I'd be happy to share your request with our Product team, though.

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  • Hi. After the update, when we send outgoing emails, they are not archived in our team inboxes. We have a rule that moved send email to shared inboxes. But the are opened again, when moved. Even if we send and archive.

    How do we get the sendt email to be archived in the shared inbox?

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  • Hi Søren Rynkebjerg please send us a request (as we'll likely need some information sensitive to your account) you can use the contact form on our Help Center thanks!

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  • I want to archive auto-replies and for this I want to use headers matching.

    For example, if this header is present and one of the values is "OOF", I want to archive the message.

    x-auto-response-suppress: DR, NDR, RN, NRN, OOF, AutoReply

    So far I have not found a way to write:

    IF has header-key "x-auto-response-suppress" AND header-value contains "OOF"

    How can I do something like this?

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  • Rule #1
    WHEN: Outbound Message, Outbound reply
    IF: unreplied after 1 min AND has tag "resend email1"
    THEN: Reply email 1 AND Remove tag "resend email 1" AND Add tag "resend email 2"

    Rule #2
    WHEN: Outbound Message, Outbound reply
    IF: unreplied after 1 min AND has tag "resend email 2"
    THEN: Reply email 2 AND Remove tag "resend email 2" AND Add tag "resend email 3"

    Rule #3
    WHEN: Outbound Message, Outbound reply
    IF: unreplied after 1 min AND has tag "resend email 3"
    THEN: Reply email 3 AND Remove tag "resend email 3" AND Add tag "resend email 4"

    In this case, if 3 of my "unreplied after" set to different mins, 3 rules will be triggered. If I set them all to same min, e.g. in this case, all set as 1 min, only my rule 1 will trigger, my rule 2 and rule 3 will not be trigger, may I know why is this the case?

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