How does the Dropbox feature works under the hood

The Dropbox feature explained in a nutshell is this: each user gets a dedicated @clevertim.com email address, which they can use to:

  • CC on emails they send to their contacts
  • BCC on emails they send to their contacts
  • Forward emails they sent to their contacts but forgot to CC/BCC
  • Forward emails their contacts sent them
  • Automatically get emails replies if their contacts hit Reply All and the dropbox dedicated email address is on the Recipients

When an email is received to that dedicated email address, the contact or contacts (and this can be companies too) will be looked up in the system and the note attached under those respective contacts.

How does it know which contacts to attach the note under? It’s simple. It looks up the contacts by email address. Your contacts’ email addressed are generally in the emails received to the dropbox. But not always, and that’s when this Dropbox feature doesn’t know what to do.

If you forward an email to the dropbox address, make sure you keep the Fwd headers, that bit at the top that contains the email address of your contact.
If you don’t want all that information, just make sure your contact’s email is there in the text somewhere – if not, you can add it manually when you Forward. When you CC or BCC, you don’t have to do that, as the email address for the recipients will be already in the email.

The dropbox feature will collect all the email addresses in the emails it receives and it will look up contacts for each one of those and it will attach the email as a note under those contacts. If a contact doesn’t exist for one of the emails, it will be created automatically. This is a convenience feature that allows you to easily add new contacts and file new emails under those contacts without even having to log into the system. Straight from your favorite inbox. Just CC, BCC or forward emails to your dedicated email address and the job is done.

But the dropbox feature doesn’t give you just one dedicated email address. You also get one for opportunities, where an opportunity is created too, in addition to the contact. You also get one for cases, where a case is created, in addition to the contact, and you also get dedicated email addresses to allow you to add tasks easily straight from your inbox.

How does it deal with spam?

First of all, the dropbox feature will reject any emails sent to it from non-recognized email addresses. In the Email Dropbox menu (accessible from the upper right Settings menu), you can define all your recognized email addresses. That means, if you use multiple email addresses, you can define them all in there and the Dropbox feature will happily accept emails from it.

If this is not sufficient and someone discovers your dropbox dedicated email address and sends you unsolicited email – for example, they could email you and the dropbox, and then the Dropbox feature would accept email, as your email address is on it (it would be considered a reply from one of your contacts) – well, in that case, you can always re-generate the dedicated email address. Needless to say, don’t over advertise this dedicated email address, as that might spam your Clevertim account.

Contacts or companies?

When you start using a contact management system or a customer relationship management (CRM) solution, one of the first problems you encounter is what level should you track your data at? Sounds like such a simple problem too, and, depending on your business processes (i.e. the way you work), it might be simple or not so simple. But the fact you come up with the question shows you one important thing: until you try to add a structure to the way you work, you don’t really discover some of these questions. Discovering the trivial, yet important questions about your business is important when you want to scale your business, train more staff, transfer knowledge easily and institute some consistency in the way you deal with your business partners, be it customers, potential clients etc. For example, how can you be sure that both Mike and Pete in your company follow the same rigorous steps in the sales process?

But let’s go back to our simple question. What level should you track your interactions in your customer management system? Contacts – that is people? Or companies? The answer depends on the industry you’re in, the way you interact with your business partners and what you want to get out of the contact management system. Let’s see the options you have.

1. Contacts only

If all you do is interact with individuals, then this option is the most natural choice. It is the most appropriate option if you work in retail or take appointments from the regular Joe out there. If you’re a financial adviser trying to sell retirement plans, then you obviously work with individuals. Companies are irrelevant and you don’t want the additional complexity.

2. Companies only

You might be in the B2B domain, where you work and sell to companies, not to individuals. Even then, the interaction for selling purposes with inevitably happen with actual individuals working for the target company. You might decide to only track notes under the company and not care about the individuals involved. You might lose some of the business intelligence in that case, but that might not be relevant in your case.

3. Contacts and companies

This is probably the most common scenario when you work with individuals and companies. The actual exchange of information, communication, emails happen with individuals. When you use the Dropbox feature and forward or CC emails to your dedicated email address, those notes will be sent to actual individuals, unless you use generic email addresses (e.g. sales@domainname). If you want to attach a note under a contact and a company at the same time, that is possible with Clevertim, as Clevertim allows you to attach a note under multiple contacts and companies. It also allows you to attach notes under an opportunity or a case.

We want to encourage our customers to use both contacts and companies when using our contact management system. One of the common complaint is that is not easy to have a single view of all the communications with a company. To facilitate this, a while ago we’ve added an option under the Business Preferences. It is called “Automatically file contact notes under their respective companies too”, and, as the name suggests, it makes all the notes filed under contacts visible under their respective companies. As a result, the company becomes a single view of all the exchanges done with any employees within that company.