Shared inbox tools offer a huge boost for team collaboration and productivity, and over the past few years, Front has been trying to stake its claim as a shared inbox tool that also wants to be your company’s “Workplace Communication Platform.” But before you commit to Front, you might be wondering if it really is the best shared inbox solution for your team?
The answer is: it depends. On the one hand, Front has a lot of great features for big teams who need to manage multiple communication channels and have the budget to pay for it. On the other hand, for teams who just want to do a better job responding to customer emails, Front’s solution might be overkill.
To help you evaluate your team’s needs and determine if Front is the right tool for you, we put together these three questions that you should ask yourself before committing. We’ve also put together a features comparison chart you can download below as well, to help you visualize what you’d get with each option.
1. How big is your budget?
If the price is at all a concern for you, then you should proceed with caution. Front promotes a “Starter” plan that only costs $12 per user per month, which looks great at first. However, you’ll quickly realize that the Starter plan has lots of limitations that will quickly push your team into more expensive plans and add-ons.
Want to manage more than one shared mailbox? That’s an upgrade.
Want to integrate with another tool? That’s an upgrade.
Want someone to help you onboard? That’s an upgrade.
Want to manage a Twitter account? That’s an extra $20 per handle per month.
Unless your team wants to use the most basic version of Front, you could end up paying $65 per user per month—or even need to talk to their sales team about an Enterprise plan. If you have the need for all those features, and the budget to afford it, then Front might still be a good solution for you. If having access to more features with no additional upgrade costs sounds appealing, you may want to consider Outpost.
2. Does your team have time to learn a new tool?
Does your team adapt well to new platforms and software tools? Do they have the time and desire to invest in figuring out where to go in the app to reply to a customer email?
New tools can often improve your team’s performance, but you also have to consider how much of a burden it is to learn the ropes. Will it inhibit their ability to take care of customers while they figure things out? Will you have to become an expert yourself so you can help train your team?
Understanding the time investment is vital before making a decision. Adjusting to a new tool means you’re likely missing out on customer communications or taking longer than usual to handle tasks as you adjust. Additionally, once you’ve chosen a tool and invested all that time and money, you’re likely stuck with it even if it ends up being ineffective in the long-run.
As you’ll see in the section below, Front is a multi-channel communication tool. Since it tries to include more than just email, that means it’s also more complicated to learn. If you don’t need a multi-channel communication tool, Front may not be right for you. Before you ask your team to try out Front, take the time to evaluate whether the learning curve is really worth your effort. If you’re looking for a tool that works like a standard email inbox, is strictly focused on email communication, and adds collaborative super powers, you may want to consider Outpost.
3. Do you have a lot of customer communication channels?
Front was designed to connect your email, social media, live chat, SMS messages, and many other customer communication channels for your company. It’s a well-designed tool for multitasking and managing a lot of different conversations from a lot of different platforms.
However, if you really only use email or phones to communicate with customers, then there are quite a few features in Front that will be left untouched. No one likes to pay for features they’re not using; but with Front, you don’t have much of a choice.
Outpost: The best Front shared inbox alternative
Outpost solves the pain of shared inboxes like info@ so your team can confidently collaborate, get more done, and take better care of your customers. For most teams, Outpost is the best alternative to Front’s shared inbox for the following four reasons:
1. It’s affordable
With our annual discount, Outpost only costs $12.50/user/month and you get unlimited access to all of our features. Plus, you won’t have to upgrade to a more expensive plan even when we add new features. You can keep your plan rate for as long as you keep your plan.
2. It’s really easy to use
Outpost is easy because email should be. It works just like the email you’re used to, but with team-based superpowers. There’s absolutely no training required, and your team will feel comfortable using it immediately.
3. It will help you save time, not waste it
With Outpost, your team can collaborate and be more productive. By cutting down on time spent managing email, your team will be able to focus more on what matters: taking care of your customers.
4. We’re here to help, free of charge
Have questions about setting up, need a quick tip, or want to share your feedback? Our world-class team is located right in Eugene, Oregon, and happy to help. You don’t have to pay extra either—helping people succeed in business is just what we do.
Putting it all together
If your team needs to manage more than just email, and you aren’t concerned about the cost, then Front may be a good solution for you.
However, if you just want to help your team focus on email and take better care of your customers, then use Outpost. Our customers love how easy it is to use, how affordable it is, and the level of support we provide to help your team manage email better.