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Beta testers to opt-in to "Inbox"

Beta testers to opt-in to "Inbox"

We're looking for a few beta testers for a set of new features in Close we're really excited about, called "Inbox". These features should lead to significant workflow and UI improvements around email, tasks, and notifications immediately, as well as lay the foundation for even more goodness in the future.

A few important details to note:

  • These features are in beta and will have bugs. We're looking only for users who are excited to test pre-released software and consistently report bugs and provide overall feedback.
  • The beta applies for you and your entire organization (you and your coworkers).
  • There are some significant changes around how Tasks and Notifications work. If a sudden change to how these features work could impact you negatively, this beta may not be for you. However, we believe the changes are positive. :)
  • Once enabled, we won't be able to disable these features for your organization.

If you want to opt-in to this "Inbox Beta" for your organization, please read on.

What is Inbox?

Inbox is a new unified view of all your inbound communication (emails, missed calls, voicemails) and open 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.

Inbox is a major step forward in the user interface of Close. 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 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_2015-05-18_22.26.02

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 task 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 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

The new "Tasks" section now has 3 views:

  • Inbox, which shows all of the current items you should handle now
  • Done, which is a view of your recently-completed tasks
  • Future, which shows your scheduled or snoozed tasks
Screenshot_2015-05-18_22.20.19

Email Syncing

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

Your Close Inbox will 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 Inbox (but it will remain on the lead's timeline). Similarly, once you mark an email as "done" in Close, it will automatically archive from your Gmail inbox.

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

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.

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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).

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.  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_2015-05-18_22.31.13

Now you know what Inbox is...

To opt-in your organization to Inbox, please email support@close.io with subject line "Inbox Beta". We are excited to show it to you :)