Introducing Inbox

by Phil Freo

Screenshot_2015-06-23_13.55.37

We're excited to announce the official launch of a set of new features in Close.io called "Inbox". These features include significant workflow and UI improvements around email, followups, tasks, notifications, and more.

Since Inbox's launch a few weeks ago in beta, we have been getting lots of really positive feedback and have also been busy fixing bugs and adding improvements.

We are now rolling out Inbox to all users over the next couple weeks. If you don't see Inbox yet, you will soon – so read on to understand what the changes will look like and how certain parts of Close.io, like Tasks, are changing. If you'd like to be bumped to the front of the line, just email us and we'll enable it for your organization even sooner.

What is Inbox?

Inbox is a new unified view of all your inbound communication (emails, missed calls, voicemails) and open tasks/reminders for the day.

Smart Views exist for proactive outreach to leads matching specific criteria. Inbox exists as a hub for everything you should react to and be reminded of.

Inbox is a major step forward in the user interface of Close.io. It completely replaces two of the less polished parts of our UI: the old Tasks page and Notifications popover are gone.

Inbox is also a sales-focused view of your email inbox. It's a place for you to manage the portion of your email inbox that relates to your Close.io leads, and it nicely keeps in sync with your email account's inbox. You can read and respond to incoming emails without leaving Inbox, or click through to see all the details about the lead that emailed you.

Screenshot_2015-06-08_13.32.37-1

From any item in your Inbox, you can quickly call or email the relevant contact. For missed calls from unknown numbers, you can create a lead in one click.

We want to help you keep your Inbox clean and focused only on tasks relevant for you today. We give you the ability to use keyboard shortcuts to quickly work through your list, and checkboxes to act on items in bulk.

To help your Inbox remain managed, you can snooze any item for later. If you get an email from someone and don't want to act on it for a couple days, you can "snooze" it and it will disappear from your Close.io Inbox until the specified day. Similarly, if a task was scheduled for today but you decide to punt it for two weeks, no problem.

Screenshot_2015-05-18_22.19.19

Inbox has 3 parts:

  • Inbox, which shows all of the current items you should handle now
  • Done, which is a view of your completed tasks and recently archived emails, etc.
  • Future, which shows your scheduled tasks or snoozed items

Screenshot_2015-06-19_17.21.50

Email Inbox Syncing

With Inbox, the 2-way email syncing is significantly improved. Your emails will show up in Close.io much faster (15 seconds on average, down from 120 seconds before).

Your Close.io Inbox will also keep in sync with your email account's inbox. For the first time, we're syncing the "inbox" status of email threads. For example, if you get an email from a lead and then archive that email in your Gmail, it won't show up in your Close.io Inbox (but it will remain on the lead's timeline). Similarly, once you mark an email as "done" in Close.io, it will automatically archive from your Gmail inbox.

If you aren't used to "Archiving" your emails (e.g. in Gmail) once you're done with them, but instead just leave all messages in your Inbox as "read", we'd strongly recommend you try archiving your email messages once you're done with them. This will make Close.io's Inbox better for you, since then you'll have a synced view consisting purely of emails that haven't yet been handled. 

Tasks on Leads

Inbox is a revamp of Tasks. We're focusing first on lightweight tasks (e.g. "Followup with this lead") rather than appointment scheduling. Our existing calendar/tasks integration still exists, however for viewing/managing your schedule and sending calendar invitations, we still recommend that you use a calendar app (such as Calendar on OS X or Outlook on Windows).

Tasks no longer have "due dates", they simply have a date in which they will appear in your Inbox. You can no longer have dateless tasks. If you set a task without specifying a date, it simply shows up in your Inbox immediately (as if scheduled for today). If you specify a date in the future, it shows up on the Future section of Tasks until the chosen day.

When creating a new task, you'll notice there's a default task text of "Follow up", making it only 2 clicks to create a simple reminder to check on this lead again.

On the lead page, we now show "Task completed" activities in the timeline, rather than having them collapsed in left-column's Tasks section. This should help you see task completion in context with other activities (and also show you who completed a task, and when).

Screenshot_2015-05-18_22.16.59

Before, there was a single Tasks page for incomplete tasks that mixed today/overdue tasks with future/scheduled tasks. Now, tasks are split between "Inbox" (incomplete tasks for today or the past) and "Future" (tasks scheduled for tomorrow and beyond).

For more details about how to Tasks work with Inbox, see our Tasks FAQ. Here's a helpful snippet from that article:

When using Inbox as designed, all tasks that are important for you today will show up in your Inbox already. 

If you have a bunch of Tasks in your Inbox that aren't actionable today, we suggest doing a bulk cleanup either by marking them Done or by Snoozing them to a future date when you'd like to see them again. We don't recommend leaving a significant number of tasks in your Inbox for long periods of time.

If you find yourself frequently looking at Future tasks, it would help to think of a Task's date as a "notification date" (date you want to start seeing it in your Inbox) as opposed to a "due" dates (latest date a task can be completed). If there are tasks in Future that you want to work on today, just select them and click "Move to Inbox", which will change their dates to today and they will show up in Inbox.

Activities

We also revamped how activites on the lead page timeline behave when they correspond to items in your Inbox. Missed calls and emails notifications no longer go away after you've been on the page 5 seconds. Instead, we've opted for a more explicit approach consistent between the lead page and Inbox. From any new missed call, voicemail, or incoming email on the lead page, you simply click Done or Snooze once you've handled it, and it will also be cleared from your Inbox.

Screenshot_2015-05-19_10.06.55-1

Notifications

What used to be notifications (missed calls, voicemails, and incoming emails) are now just Tasks that show up in your Inbox. We've taken care in Inbox to improve these items significantly, especially to help you avoid seeing items you don't care about:

  • Emails you've already archived from your Inbox don't show up.
  • Missed call & voicemail tasks automatically get cleared as soon as you call that contact back. Similarly, if you had a missed call on your ring group number, it will automatically get cleared when your coworker on the ring group calls that person back.
  • Finally, email notifications are only created for you when they match one of your email addresses. (Previously all users got an email notification when an email was forwarded to the secret address but wasn't addressed to specific user).

One Time Cleanup

When you first start using Inbox you may already have a bunch of Inbox items, many of which are not important for you today. We recommend you simply do a one-time cleanup to reduce your Inbox only to actionable items. For old emails and missed calls, this usually just means archiving items by checking them off and marking them Done. For tasks, this may mean Snoozing them.

If you have a significant number of old items and need help bulk archiving or bulk deleting something, email us.

Encouraging Good Habits

Finally, Inbox is designed to encourage successful behavior. The default sort is "oldest first", to encourage you to respond to leads who have been waiting the longest. Creating simple "Follow up" tasks from a lead page is now simpler, encouraging you to harness the power of followup. Email archive status is synced to encourage inbox zero. Keyboard shortcuts, bulk actions, the "done" button, and the ability to snooze items allow you to keep your list tidy. Try to work through and empty your Inbox each day.

Screenshot_2015-06-23_13.55.37

Now you know what Inbox is...

Inbox is rolling out slowly to all organizations now, but just email [email protected] with subject line "Inbox Please" to get to the front of the line! Or email us with any other questions or concerns about Inbox!