Conversations

View and start conversations with your accounts directly within Vitally

Striking the perfect balance of manual vs. automated customer engagement can be difficult. With Vitally's Conversations feature, you can create Playbooks to auto-schedule conversations at the right times and make manual edits when further personalization is needed. Let's dig in!

Starting conversations

There are two ways to start conversations with users:

  1. Automatically - Using Playbooks, you can automatically start a conversation with specific users at accounts matching a set of rules. Examples: auto-engage churn risks, send a welcome email to all new customers, etc.

  2. Manually - When navigating account and user lists, you can select specific accounts/users to start conversations with:

Defining the conversation

Once you are ready to start the conversation, you'll see a form like this:

Sender + Channel: Select which channel (i.e. Intercom, Gmail) the conversation should be sent from as well as the default sender.

Additionally, when choosing a default sender, you'll see options to auto-send the email from the CSM or AE of the account. If you select one of these options, we'll auto-send from the CSM/AE of the account when 1) it is defined and 2) the CSM/AE is a valid sender of the selected channel.

Reply to To the right of the Sender option is an ability to specify a custom 'reply to' email address. This option is useful if you'd like to auto route and manage replies in tools like Front, Zendesk, etc.

Users Select which users to start a conversation with. Options here are:

  • Account owners - Start the conversation with the user that owns the account.

  • All users - Start conversations with each user at the account.

  • Specific users - Start conversations with users that match a defined set of rules (e.g. admins, users that have recently logged in, etc)

CC & BCC To the right of the Users option is an ability to specify custom CC and/or BCC email addresses.

See the CC & BCC option to the right!

Group conversations If you select a user audience that could contain multiple users at the same account AND you are sending from Gmail, you can optionally start one conversation per account, which adds all matching users to the To field of the email.

Subject and message Self-explanatory here - just define the subject and message to send to users :)

Additionally, you can select pre-defined templates to use (or build off of) here and also inject user, customer, or CSM variables into the message for a higher level of personalization (click the buttons).

Unsubscribes You can optionally let Vitally manage unsubscribes for you as well. Selecting the "Allow Unsubscribes" option does 2 things:

  1. It starts conversations with only users who have not unsubscribed.

  2. It adds an "Unsubscribe" link to the end of the conversation.

Delay/scheduled send date Finally, all conversations in Vitally can be scheduled to send at a later date. All 'pending' conversations (i.e. those with a scheduled send date in the future) can be viewed, edited, and deleted in the new Conversations->Pending view in our navigation.

Managing pending conversations

Tools that fully automate emails/customer engagement can be a bit unforgiving. Typos and bad or missing data can lead to users receiving emails that have a very little chance of a response.

For those reasons, we decided to add a "Pending" stage for conversations prior to them being sent to users. Here's how that works!

How conversations get created as 'Pending'

When creating conversations, you always have an option to start the conversation at a later date or on a delay. If the conversation has this delay, we'll create the conversation as 'pending' with a scheduled date in the future for it to be sent to the user.

Additionally, every user in Vitally can define a Sending Window for their conversations, which requires the conversation's send date to fall within the window. If the conversation is scheduled to be sent but the send date falls outside the sender's window, we'll delay the conversation until the start of the next window.

For example, if the conversation has a scheduled send date of 8PM EST but the sender's window is only open from 9AM-5PM EST, the conversation won't actually go out until 9AM EST (at the earliest) the following day.

Finally, Gmail also has a Daily Sending Limit option, which defaults to 250. If the sender exceeds this limit for a given 24 hour period, we will wait until the sender is within the limit prior to sending any more conversations from their account. This option helps ensure your Gmail email has a high reputation and isn't flagged as spam.

Viewing & managing pending conversations

To view your pending conversations, navigate to the Conversations->Pending view. There, you will see a list of all scheduled conversations.

Since this is a normal Data View, it is filterable using the options in the bottom left. For example, to view all pending conversations for your paying customers, just click the Subscribed option under Account Types.

Once you click on a pending conversation, we'll render a preview of the message. If you'd like to make changes prior to the conversation being sent, just click the pencil (edit) icon in the top right.

Beyond editing the message, you can also:

  • Send the conversation immediately

  • Modify the scheduled send date

  • Delete the pending conversation (i.e. prevent it from sending)

Using custom CSM traits in conversations

Custom CSM traits can help it seem like every message sent from Vitally was handcrafted by the sender for the recipient. Let's take a look!

Why use custom CSM traits

As you start conversations in Vitally, you can optionally auto-send each conversation from the account's CSM. But, what if you wanted to inject a unique calendar link (e.g. a Calendly link) into each message that is unique to each CSM? This way, your customers have direct access to a meeting with their CSM in every message. That's where custom traits can help :)

Creating custom CSM traits

To define a custom CSM trait, first navigate to your Vitally Settings. There, navigate to Traits -> Team Traits (or get there via Quick Jump). This view allows you to define your custom CSM traits.

Defining values for custom CSM traits

Once you've created the custom trait, your teammates need to be able to set a unique value for the trait for their Vitally account. To do that, navigate to your Vitally Settings. There, navigate to Email Settings -> Email Traits and you'll see a list of custom traits you can define values for.

Adding custom traits to conversations

Finally, with your traits defined and values set by your Vitally team members, it's time to use those traits in conversations. When defining a message/template, click on the Traits button and locate the CSM variables tab. That tab lists your new custom CSM traits that you can now inject into conversations!

Allowing users to unsubscribe

If you'd like to manage unsubscribes from your customer emails in Vitally, we provide a robust, configurable way to do so.

Enabling unsubscribes

When using Vitally's unsubscribe functionality, you first need to enable it for your account. To do so, navigate to your Vitally Settings. When there, navigate to Conversation Settings -> Unsubscribes. There, you can define the copy users see when including unsubscribe links in emails.

There are 2 configuration options - an "Unsubscribe prefix" and an "Unsubscribe link text". The former displays in front of the actual unsubscribe link (e.g. "Rather not hear from me again?") and the latter is the actual link text (e.g. "Click here").

Enabling unsubscribes for specific conversations

There are often 2 types of customer emails - 'helpful' ones you'd like the customer to read (e.g. new feature releases) and 'urgent' ones that are critical for them to read (e.g. deprecation warnings, credit card issues). Given that, every conversation you start from Vitally can be configured to include the above unsubscribe link.

If the email is of the 'urgent' type, you can opt to exclude the unsubscribe link/logic when sending that email. If you allow unsubscribes, 2 things happen when creating the conversation:

  1. Any past unsubscribed users will not be sent the conversation.

  2. Conversations will include your above unsubscribe copy/link.

If you uncheck the above "Allow Unsubscribes" option, all users will receive your conversation (including those that previously unsubscribed) and an unsubscribe link will not be included in the email. Uncheck wisely - allowing unsubscribes is a general best practice :)

Viewing & managing unsubscribed users

When viewing users in Vitally, you'll see an Unsubscribed column that tracks whether the user has unsubscribed from conversations. Like all columns, you can sort and filter users by this column. You can also manually change whether users are subscribed or unsubscribed by selecting users and viewing the additional options under the "Ellipsis" icon.

Defining sending windows

Sending windows help you limit times that automated conversations are sent to your customers to specific days/times. Sending windows come with many benefits:

  • They help you seem 'human' - If an automated conversation goes out at 3AM EST and you are in Brooklyn, that's a dead giveaway that 1) you are either a robot or 2) you have insomnia. Sending windows help you seem human :)

  • They give you time to intervene - Let's say your day starts at around 8AM. If you'd like to review all outgoing messages sent from your account each day, you need a bit of cushion to do so. Setting a sending window that starts at, say, 10AM gives you at least 2 hours to review pending conversations before they get sent.

  • They help you increase the likelihood of a response - If most of your customers are near your timezone and only work weekdays, sending windows can help increase the chance the message ends up in the user's inbox at a time they are already working within their inbox.

To define your sending windows, navigate to your Vitally Settings. There, locate the Email Settings -> Sending Windows option (or get there via Quick Jump), which allows you to define windows like this:

How delays work with Playbook-initiated conversations

When auto-creating a conversation using our Playbooks feature, there are two types of delays to consider that affect 1) if your pending conversation gets created and 2) how much of a delay should occur between the point of conversation creation and when the conversation is actually delivered to the customer.

The delay on the Playbook 'action'

When defining your Playbook and adding a 'Start a conversation' action, you'll see this option: Once the playbook is active, apply the below action on day X. X is configurable and defaults to 0 (i.e. start a conversation as soon as the playbook is applied).

This delay defines the amount of time required for the account to match your Playbook's rules before creating the (pending) conversation.

The conversation delay

Once you add an action to your Playbook to start a conversation with the account, you'll also see this option when defining your conversation: Give my team X [hours/days] to review conversations before sending. The default here is "1 day".

This delay acts as a review period for your team. Once the account matches your Playbook's rules for the specified delay above, the conversation gets created at that point and the scheduled date to send the conversation is set to current_time + conversation delay.

Tracking open and reply rates

As emails are sent from Vitally, we inject a tracking pixel into the email to determine when your users view the email. You can view whether emails are then opened by your users in 2 ways:

Viewing if a specific message was opened

When viewing a conversation thread in Vitally, we'll show an indicator to the top right of the message indicating if it has been seen yet or not.

Viewing open rates for a specific template

If you use Playbooks to auto-send a specific template, or if you simply manually send a template from Vitally, we'll also track all-time opens of each of your templates. To view your open rates, as well as reply, bounce, and unsubscribe rates, navigate to Conversation Settings -> Templates in your account settings (or get there via Quick Jump). There, we'll display stats for all your templates 🎉