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Managing communications with Inbox
Last updated on: May 7, 2024

Texting with your leads and customers is more popular than ever. These texts have fantastic open rates and are a quick way to communicate with your contacts.

Ontraport Inbox makes managing your business SMS communications easier, and the Inbox messaging interface allows you to quickly reply to your leads and customers. You can set up different Inboxes to separate your conversations by topic or department. For example, you might send your support queries and pricing questions to your sales team. You can decide if you want to get notified about new replies.

Check out this video to learn more:



To get started with Inbox, you'll need an SMS plan. There are a variety of monthly plans to choose from to fit your needs. Learn more here.

Inbox is available to all account levels. Check out our pricing page to learn more.

Note: Your Inbox won't create a conversation for each contact who receives an SMS message through automation maps. It will only create a conversation when a contact responds to your welcome SMS.

Table of contents

Navigate Inbox
Navigate your conversations
Enable notifications
Access conversations from the contact log
Inbox settings
Channels
Inboxes
Spam blocklist
Start a new conversation
Receive new conversations and replies
Inbox automations

Navigate Inbox

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To access your account’s Inbox, click on Inbox from your main navigation bar. You can view your existing conversations and create new ones.

You have three view options for your Inbox:

  1. Inbox view - The standard option
  2. List view - Use to view your conversations in a table
  3. Card view - Use if you want to view and sort your conversations as cards

The rest of this section focuses on the Inbox view. The list and card views function like other objects in your account.



The rest of this section focuses on the Inbox view. The list and card views function like other objects in your account.

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Conversations are the communication threads between your team and your contacts. The Inbox view shows the conversations screen which contains three sections:

1. Left panel


This is where you can view a list of your conversations and click on them to open for details.

The top row of the left panel allows you to perform four actions to your conversation list.

  1. Choose which types of conversations you want to view.
    • Choose between options such as “All open” or “My unread.”
  2. Sort your conversations.
    • Choose between new messages first or conversations in the order they were added.
  3. Filter your conversations by Inbox.
  4. Search your conversation list.
    • The search will honor the view and filter options you’ve selected.  

2. Central panel 

This section shows the details of a specific conversation when you click on it. From the central panel, you can send a new message. You’ll also see important events in your conversation timeline, such as phone calls and purchases.

The top row of the central panel allows you to perform five actions on the message:




  1. Change assignee
  2. Mark the message unread
  3. Move conversation to another inbox
  4. Mark the message as spam
  5. Close the conversation

3. Right panel

This section shows you your customer data. You can view conversation details, contact details, notes and subcollections.

You can update these fields and subcollections in the same way you edit the widgets section of the record quick view.

You can also easily hide the right panel if you want more space to write your message. Just click on the button in the top right corner.

Enable notifications

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When notifications are enabled, you’ll see an alert at the bottom of your screen when you receive new messages.

  • Toggle the “Notifications” setting at the top of your Inbox to enable notifications.

Access conversations from the contact log

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Conversations create an entry in your contact’s contact log. From the the details of this event, you can click View conversation to go to it in your inbox.


Inbox settings

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The Inbox settings include the same options as most objects, such as a field editor, default merge fields and import/export options.

To reach your Inbox settings, hover over Inbox and click Settings.


However, some settings are specific to Inbox:

  • Channels — The channel settings allow you to configure and manage different communication channels. 
  • Inboxes — The Inboxes settings allow you to create different inboxes so you can group and organize conversations for your business. 
  • Spam blocklist — The spam blocklist collection allows you to manage unwanted communication.

Channels

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The only currently available channel is SMS, but we will release more soon.

Channels are the method of communication. SMS messaging is one type of channel. In the future you will be able to add other types of channels, such as email.

To help you organize your messages, you can set up different SMS numbers as separate channels.


  1. Go to your InboxSettingsChannels.
  2. Name your channel in the top left corner.
  3. Select your channel type.
  4. Select your SMS number.
  5. Choose a default inbox to route your messages to.
  6. Click Save in the top right corner.

Inboxes

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Different teams in your business may use Inbox to facilitate different types of conversations. For example, your support team manages questions and solves issues for your customers, while your sales team’s conversations revolve around answering questions for your leads. You can set up different inboxes for these conversations.


  1. Go to your InboxSettingsInboxes.
  2. Name your Inbox in the top left corner.
  3. Select your default assignee.
    • This setting determines which user in your account will be assigned the conversation.
  4. Click Save in the top right corner.

Spam blocklist

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You can add numbers to your spam blocklist to prevent conversations associated with a specific SMS number from appearing in your Inbox views. When you mark a message as spam in your inbox, all conversations that came in from that SMS number or from that contact will be moved to the spam blocklist.

Once a message is added, you can mark it as not spam so you can view the messages in your inbox again.

  1. Go to InboxSettings →  Spam blocklist.
  2. Select the conversation and click Mark as not spam.

Start a new conversation

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You can send a message to any of your contacts by starting a conversation.

  1. Go to Inbox and click New.
  2. Select a channel and a contact.
    • If your contact has more than one SMS number, choose which number you’d like to send your message.
  3. Click Start.
    • You will go to the new conversation where you can type your message and click  to send it.

Receive new messages and replies

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When contacts send you a message, and you have notifications enabled, you’ll see an in app notification on the bottom left of your screen. Click View to go to your new message.

    Inbox automations

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    By creating automation maps for your inbox, you can effectively organize and manage your conversations. For instance, you can set up automation maps to alert your rep’s manager when a rep doesn’t respond to a contact within a specific timeframe or to close out conversations after your contact stops replying. This streamlines your workflow and ensures timely responses and efficient conversation closure. You can also automate responses to certain types of incoming messages, such as immediately letting a customer know you’ve received their inquiry and will be with them shortly.

    Building inbox automations is just like creating contact automations, but you gain access to new triggers and unique fields that can be used in conditions. These fields help you optimize your inbox management, making it more efficient and tailored to your needs.

    Inbox specific triggers

    • Conversation message is received
    • Conversation message is sent

    Inbox specific fields

    • Conversation status - Shows if the conversation is open or closed
    • Time to first response - The amount of time it took for a team member to respond when a contact starts a conversation
    • Time to close - The time between the conversation starting and closing
    • Time since last inbound message (In minutes) - The amount of time since the contact last sent you a message
    • Time since last outbound message (In minutes) - The amount of time since a member of your team sent a message
    Related university lessons
    The big picture
    Understand the value of having all your tools “under one roof” and working in tandem, the Ontraport way. Get the big picture of what this could mean for the future of your business.
    SMS messaging
    Learn how to set up SMS messaging and get leads to opt in to your texts — so you can be sure you’re sending your messages to people who actually want to get them.
    Where your data lives in Ontraport
    Like a file cabinet, your Ontraport account strategically organizes and stores your business data. It’s a cinch to find anything you need once you know where to look.
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     Pro tips

      Tip #1: When you mark a conversation closed, you can no longer mark messages in that conversation as unread.  

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