You've got mail!

We recently reached a major milestone: we released email support 💌 🎉

While email is probably the most common form of communication in customer service, implementing it well brings a huge amount of complexity and nuance with it.

In Plain, every customer has a single timeline that shows all of their interactions, just like you’re used to from tools like Slack. Showing only chat in the timeline is simple enough, but what if we add email to the mix? What if the customer moves from chat to email during an interaction? What if you need to follow up to a chat with an email? Things can quickly get messy, so we've worked hard to build an experience that's simple, predictable and intuitive.

First, it's super simple to switch between replying to an email thread and starting a new email:

Second, we keep a consistent format in the timeline between chat and email entries, so that the advisor's experience is seamless:

We're really excited to have this done—for now. There’s a lot more here that we’re planning to build in the coming months: better spam detection, full email previews, expanding our support for threading, and more. Watch this space!

Other Improvements

🚂 Onboarding: To make it a bit easier to get up and running with Plain, we put together a little tour of the product that’s displayed when a user first joins a workspace.

🛎️ Email Notifications: When a customer is "Waiting for Help", we let you know via email. We’ll expand this and make it smarter sooner.

🗺️ Sidebar Navigation: We’ve made this a little neater, with some updated iconography, better contrast and typography!

P.S. Some email trivia

As we've mentioned, email has a lot of nuances and we ran into quite a few of them! Here are some particularly curious ones:

  • Even the most modern clients make email hard! Some simply choose to just send only plain text emails (with no HTML part), something that causes havoc when displaying threads properly
  • One email provider takes 85 seconds (!) to reach the recipient's inbox
  • Every provider we tested adds a new line before appending a reply to an email—except one! We strip replies to make sure we don’t just dump the full email thread into the timeline with every response. But for this particular provider... we had to do a bit of extra work 😅
  • One webmail client removes all line breaks from the text part of their plain text emails... good luck parsing these!
  • #changelog
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