Can you believe it’s almost the end of 2020? Time really does fly, but we’re not done with the year yet. This month, we’re announcing three highly anticipated features - A New Notifications System, G Suite Email Integration & Granular Access Levels Controls. Some of these are still in Beta, so we’ll be looking for feedback to optimize going forward.
In this release, we’re announcing:
- New Notifications System
- Email via Google Workplace (G Suite) Beta
- Granular Access Level Controls
- Bits & Bobs
New Notifications System
Notifications are one of the oldest systems on the platform and everyone can rejoice because we’ve taken all your concerns into account and rebuilt the notifications system completely from the ground up.
There are now four notification methods. These include:
- Notification Sound
- Desktop Push Notifications
- Mobile Push Notifications
- Email Notifications
Now you won’t miss any important notifications whether you are at your desk, on the go, or anywhere in between. We’ve also added individual preferences for each notification method:
- Send Me Notifications for All Contacts and Mentions (Only for Sound & Push)
- Send Me Notifications for Contacts Assigned to Me and Mentions
- Send Me Notifications for Mentions Only
- Do Not Send Me Notifications Using This Method
We’ve also improved the functionality with a message preview in all methods as well as taking you directly to that Contact when the notification is clicked.
When designing these notifications we had Solopreneurs, Full Time Agents, Part-Time Agents, and Managers in mind. Here are some of the configurations of Notification Preferences you will find useful.
Solopreneurs that want to answer messages on the go will find the mobile push notifications with the All Contacts and Mentions preference the perfect way to ensure they never miss a message from any of their Contacts.
While Full-time Agents that have Auto Assign activated or have Contacts assigned to them by a manager will love the Contacts Assigned to Me Preference for Desktop Notifications. So they can keep tabs on other conversations while replying to one.
If you’re a Part-Time Agent or Manager, you may not even have the app installed. We’ve created the Contacts Assigned to Me & Mentions Only Preferences for Email Notifications so you can be alerted when that special Contact needs you.
As a part of this release, we’ve also revamped the Notification Center. Now it works like a simple to-do manager with archiving functions. For the near future, only comment mentions will be shown, but you’ll be seeing more improvements here in the future.
Don’t hesitate to check out the Notifications Documentation for more info.
Email via Google Workplace (G Suite) Beta
It finally happened! We've added email as a Channel, it’s one of the most requested features of all time and enables far more businesses to start using respond.io. For now, we’ve started by integrating G Suite - but Outlook, IMAP, and others will come later.
Since this is a Google Workplace integration, you’ll need to whitelist the respond.io Google app in the Google Workplace Admin Console. Once you’ve whitelisted the app, navigate back to respond.io, and connect one or more Gmail accounts.
When an email is received, the person in the from field will be created as a Contact. We’ve hidden the signature and forwarded content in message bubbles so emails look just like messages. However, you can still see the original email by pressing Show Original Email.
To reduce errors when replying we’ve disabled the enter button when writing an email, you’ll need to use your mouse to send. By default sent emails have the Agent’s Name and Profile Picture added as a signature. This preference can be adjusted in Channel Settings.
For now, our G Suite Integration is intended to be used for one to one conversations just like other channels. So we remove all participants from the cc field upon reply. Allowing group conversations is something we may explore in the future.
Last but not least, email is quite different from messaging apps so we’ve disabled Broadcasts, Surveys, and Automations for email. As we review how companies send emails using our platform, we’ll start enabling these features for email.
We need your feedback here, so make sure to try out the integration or send us feedback directly. In addition, you can find all the documentation required to fully understand this Google Workplace Gmail Integration here.
Access Level Changes
To help manage your team better, we’ve added granular permission restrictions for Agent and Manager Access Levels. These restrictions allow you to limit access to certain areas of the platform and disallow the use of sensitive functions like deleting.
For the Agent Access Level, we’ve added these Contact Visibility Restriction options:
- Contacts Assigned To Anyone On The User’s Team
- Contacts Assigned To The User
Restricting Agents to only seeing Contacts assigned to their team is useful in a customer support role where you want agents to be able to see the conversations for all Contacts asking for support, but not other sensitive conversations.
While restricting agents to only seeing their own Contacts is useful in a sales role where you only want salespeople to be able to see Contacts who have been auto-assigned or manually assigned to them by a sales manager.
We’ve also added a special set of granular permissions for Managers:
- Restrict Data Export
- Restrict Contact Deletion
- Restrict Access To Space Settings
The Manager Access Level is great for several roles like assigning users and managing broadcasts but that doesn’t necessarily mean you want them to export data, delete contacts of access Settings where Channels can be deleted.
We’ve added these granular permissions so you can better tailor each Managers permissions based on their role in your Space. Before using these tools we recommend you check out the Access Level Documentation and refresh your Access Level knowledge.
Bits & Bobs
This wouldn’t be a respond.io release without some bits and bobs. This month's bits and bobs are focused on improvements to Broadcasts and the Messages modules.
Contact Import for SMS, WhatsApp, and Gmail (Beta)
Although most messaging app business accounts don’t allow Contact imports we’ve enabled the channels that do: WhatsApp API, SMS & Gmail. Both Single & Multiple Contact Imports are available so importing your customer list is now a breeze.
WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger Broadcast (Beta)
We’ve added broadcasts for WhatsApp API and Facebook. WhatsApp API uses Template Messages, while Facebook uses Message Tags. Please review the rules for Template Messaging and Messages Tags as neither is intended for promotional use.
Echo Support for MessageBird WhatsApp
Now any WhatsApp messages sent via the MessageBird Inbox product of the MessageBird API will be shown on the platform. We hope that Twilio & Vonage will improve their APIs to allow this functionality as well.
Dynamic Variables Added To Broadcasts
You can now add a personal touch to broadcasts with Dynamic Variables by customizing messages using a Contacts’ name, email, or any other field. Unfortunately, this feature is not available on LINE, Viber, and SMS as their APIs do not support the possibility.
Send Better Broadcasts With Test Broadcast
Don’t you hate it when you notice a glaring typo after sending a broadcast? We’ve added the Test Broadcast functions to let you double-check the content before sending it to thousands of recipients.
Facebook Messenger HUMAN_AGENT Tag
Since we’ve been accepted to the Facebook Human-Agent Beta Program! Respond.io users now get an extended Messaging Window of 7 days. This means you’ll be able to respond to Contacts for up to 7 days over Facebook without using Message Tags.
Improved Contact Flag
Last but not least, we’ve improved the logic for assigning country flags. Instead of locale, Contacts’ country of origin will be determined based on the phone number in the Contacts Phone Field.
For a concise version of our new features as well as technical improvements please review our changelog.