I’m a freelancer that gets a lot of email. Some of it is from clients, and a fair amount is from apps I’ve signed up for and newsletters I thought I would read. With all of this email, it’s easy to lose client emails (the important ones) in the mix.
I need a way to clearly see what client emails I receive, so they don’t get lost. In the past, I used ticketing software like Freshdesk - but that’s yet another thing to log in to and keep up with.
My Gmail works like a headquarters for my communications, and any other platform is yet another distraction. In this line, I needed an inexpensive and effective ticketing system that works with my Google webmail. With little free choices out there, I created my own email ticketing system using Integromat.
I started by using Gmail’s Multiple Inboxes feature, where you can set up an inbox with a custom filter.
The filter for my multiple inbox was:
It shows emails with the label “client_mailbox” that are also in my inbox (not archived or deleted). Now, the trick is to automatically add the client_mailbox tag to client emails, and NOT to other emails. First, I have to create a client email whitelist using Google Sheets.
A simple, one-column Google Sheet with a list of my clients' email addresses is enough:
Next, I use Integromat to build a scenario that checks sender email addresses (of all new incoming email) against the Google sheet records.
In this scenario, the trigger watches for new emails. When an email is received, the Google Sheets module checks for matches between the sender's email address and my list of client email addresses.
If a match is found, the label client_mailbox is added to the email, prompting Google Multiple Inboxes filter to show that email in my “Client Inbox”.
This scenario runs every 5 minutes Monday-Friday, during my typical working hours.
Note: The Client Inbox on the right has my latest client email shown at the top, but it is buried under other mail in my default inbox (left).
Bonus addition: Automatically add new client emails
I find Slack very useful, so I created a Slack channel to quickly add new client emails to the Google sheet.
To add a new client email to my list, I just slack the email address to a private channel created for this purpose alone. When a Slack message is sent in this channel, the scenario checks the Google sheet with addresses.
If it's already there, it does nothing. But if it's not there, the scenario adds the new email to the list.
- Gmail becomes an efficient, inexpensive ticketing system
- Never lose important emails from clients
- Keep everything simple by avoiding the use of an increasing number of apps
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