Platform Release

February 2022 Release: New Workflow Steps, A Huge Messaging Module Update, Custom Channel Integration plus Bits & Bobs

Serene Tan
Content Lead, Respond.io
February 14, 2022

New year, new features! We’re welcoming 2022 with more exciting feature updates and platform upgrades. Ready to find out more? Let’s dive right in. 🚀

Huge Messages Module Improvements 🙌

We’ve been collecting feedback about desired improvements to the Messages Module for what feels like eons and made a ton of evolutionary changes so it’s a better fit for companies conducting Auto Assignment via Workflows.

Here is a list of key changes:

  • The Navigation Bar has been collapsed to create more horizontal space
  • Views have been renamed to Inboxes, expanded & given a dedicated panel
  • Status Filter & Priority Sorting Dropdowns were added to the Contact List
  • New Access Level options have been added to control what Agents see
New Messaging Module Design: Inboxes with Filter and Sort Dropdowns

Since the biggest change is related to Inboxes, let’s discuss how the three new types of Inboxes are designed to improve the way you work in the Messages Module.

Standard Inboxes: The Daily Drivers for Agents

What hasn’t changed? The Mine View is now the Mine Inbox, with the additional ability to limit Agents’ access to just their Mine Inbox using Agent Access Level restrictions. This is a godsend for companies whose Agents tend to get distracted by other Inboxes.

Standard Inbox: All, Mine and Unassigned

For companies that allow their Agents to pick unassigned Contacts, this previously happened in the New View inbox but will now take place in the Unassigned Inbox with the Status Filter set to Open.

Team Inboxes: The Team Supervisor’s Best Friend

Have trouble supervising your teams? Team Inboxes are created by default whenever you add a Team to a Workspace. Each Team has its own Inbox, making it easier than before to access all Contacts currently assigned to Agents on a specific team.

Team Inbox: Created based on your Workspace Teams

Because it’s a Team Inbox, you can improve team collaboration by allowing other Agents to see the Contacts assigned to their team members. This is useful when your Agents are on leave and would require the assistance of another team member to reply to messages.

Custom Inboxes: The Power User’s Dream

Workflows have made our platform highly configurable. If you’re taking advantage of these capabilities, you may have blindspots where Contacts are not assigned to Agents but still need supervision.

With Custom Inboxes, you can keep a close eye on VIP Contacts, supervise automated messaging Workflows, create a training Inbox for new Agents & more. In simple terms, a Custom Inbox shows a specific list of Contacts filtered by Tags & Fields.

Custom Inbox

In addition, Custom Inboxes have highly configurable sharing settings, allowing you to create Custom Inboxes that are completely private, completely public, or only shared with a specific team or group of users.

We’re excited to see the internal processes you come up with using these new features. Have additional feedback? Let us know what you think of the new Messaging Module.

New Workflow Step: HTTP Request

The HTTP Request Step enables a call to any software with an open API using a Workflow. It includes the ability to pass Variables with the HTTP Request and save data from the response to a Contact Profile or use it for further Workflow branching.

New Advanced Workflows Step: HTTP Request

The HTTP Request Step enables a wide range of capabilities, including:

  • Calling Clearbit for sales qualification
  • Calling Hubspot, Salesforce & other CRMs to retrieve updated Contact Profiles
  • Or even making deals and tickets on external tools

The use cases for this Step are only limited by your imagination. The HTTP Request Step is currently available to all Enterprise Plan Users. Need help implementing this Step? Reach out to your CSM today!

New Workflow Step: Add Google Sheets Row

Also new is the Add Google Sheets Row Step. Since we are going to be deprecating the Surveys Module soon, we’ve added this Step to enable our customers to continue sending surveys, but with more advanced data collection & analysis capabilities.

New Advanced Workflows Step: Add Google Sheets Row

Combine multiple Ask a Question Steps with the Add Google Sheets Row Step in a Workflow to create surveys with fit-for-purpose questions and validation. Then, save the answers in a Google Sheet to analyze with the power of pivot tables and other Sheets features.

This feature is now available to all Business and Enterprise Plan Users. For further assistance, our CSMs are here to help. Feel free to leave us your feedback or drop us suggestions for future improvements.

Custom Channel Integration

Although we’re constantly expanding our list of available channels, we prioritize channels that the majority of our customers vote for. However, there are high-value channels that we cannot prioritize and for that, we’re releasing the Custom Channel feature.

Keep in mind, this is not a one-click integration situation — implementing it requires development resources. We’ve built this integration with feedback from our largest Partners and it is primarily intended to be used with SMS or eCommerce channels.

Add a Custom Channel

Like other channels, Custom Channels support various message types, like text, image, audio, file, video, quick reply, and carousel. However, it is best to consult with your CSM before embarking on a channel integration for best results.

Due to the complex nature of this feature, we have only made it available to our Enterprise Plan customers. Want to see more updates or improvements to this feature? Feel free to add your suggestions here.

Bits & Bobs

This wouldn’t be a respond.io release without Bits & Bobs. This month we’ve got:

  • WhatsApp API Pricing Changes
  • Send WhatsApp Message Templates the Quicker Way
  • Greeting Message, Away Message and Auto Assignment Deprecation
  • No more New Surveys and Automation
  • Relative Time Support for Date Operators
  • New Dynamic Variables
  • Adding New Contacts on the Mobile App
  • Data Exports for Users

WhatsApp API Pricing Changes

WhatsApp is changing its API pricing model from notifications-based to conversations-based. Take note that WhatsApp’s definition of a conversation is different from how we define Conversations on respond.io.

The number of Conversations recorded in respond.io will differ from the figure in your WhatsApp Manager. Depending on your use case and BSP charges, you’ll notice an increase or decrease in your new WhatsApp bill.

These changes also mean you are now allowed to send Message Templates during a session window with your Contacts. For more information or support, kindly reach out to our customer support team.

Send WhatsApp Message Templates the Quicker Way

Following WhatsApp’s pricing change which now allows Users to send Message Templates during a messaging window, Users can now send the templates via a designated button from the Message Composer.

Greeting Message, Away Message & Auto Assignment Deprecation

These old features have been deprecated as we’ve replaced them in our new Workflows Module. Be sure to move all your Auto Assignment logic to Workflows. For support on how to do this, feel free to reach out to your CSM.

No More New Surveys & Automation

Since we now have Workflows, no more new Surveys or Automation can be created as of the end of January. Workspaces with no Surveys or Automation will no longer see the Surveys & Automation Modules. Both Modules will be deprecated in early March.

Relative Time Support for Date Operators

You asked and we delivered! In this release, we’ll start supporting relative time for the Time Since Last Incoming Message condition. You’ll now find date operators like is less than (time), is greater than (time) and is between (time).

New Dynamic Variables

Moving forward, Users can only use $ when using Dynamic Variables. The dropdown for Dynamic Variables will no longer show when you type @. From now, the @ sign is reserved for tagging another User.

Plus, we now support important and frequently used Variables like:

  • $contact.id
  • Set of new variables based on assignee ($assignee.id, $assignee.name, $assignee.email, $assignee.firstname, $assignee.lastname)
  • New system variables ($system.current_datetime, $system.current_date, $system.current_time)

Head on to our documentation for the full list of Variables supported.

Allow Adding New Contacts on the Mobile App

Constantly in touch with your customers on the go? We’ve added a button in the Contact Module so now you can add a new Contact from the mobile app — whenever you are, wherever you are.

Data Export for Users

All Enterprise, Reseller & Custom Plan accounts can now download all Workspace Users data like User ID, Name, Email, Role and Advance restrictions in CSV format. This data will be used to complement the Conversations and Messages data from Data Export.

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