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  Article updated: December 06, 2023

Inbox 2.0 quick start guide - for agents

As an Inbox 2.0 agent, you manage your workflow and handle conversations all from one central location. In this guide, you’ll find out how to set your availability, learn about asynchronous conversations and service-level agreements (SLAs) in the queue, and take a brief tour through the rest of the agent workspace.

Set your availability

When you first sign in, you can set your availability as Available or Away. When you’re available, you’ll get the first conversation waiting in the New queue. Not ready to start handling the queue? Change your status to Away (you may have other choices, depending on your organization’s settings).

The status menu with sample away status options.

To change your default availability preference, follow these steps:

  1. Under Inbox 2.0 Settings, select Personal Preferences.
  2. On the General tab, under Default availability, select a status, and then select Save.

The next time you sign in, this will be your default status.

Understand asynchronous conversations

In Inbox 2.0, you engage with all your contacts from one streamlined queue that consists of conversations in different states. There’s no need for you and a contact to constantly be engaged in a conversation—instead, conversations happen asynchronously.

Each conversation workflow consists of three states, which correspond with the three queues:

  • New - The conversation is either new or has a new reply from the contact and needs follow-up.
  • Pending - The conversation is waiting for the contact to follow up.
  • Resolved - The conversation has ended and requires no further action.

The New queue is the only queue that needs your consistent attention. Here’s why:

  • Conversations from all channels you have access to appear in the New queue.
  • Conversations that were previously in the Pending queue automatically move back to the New queue when a contact gets back to you.

Set your notification preferences

Customize the notifications you receive so you can focus on what matters to you. Set your available and away states, and choose the actions you want to be notified about. Learn more about your notification options.

In Inbox 2.0 , select Personal preferences, and then select Notifications.

Watch for SLA breaches

A service-level agreement, or SLA, is an agreed-upon measure of the response times of your team. When you don't answer a conversation by the time specified in your SLA, it’s considered “breached.” The queue displays colored icons​​ to warn you of upcoming breaches. Gray and orange icons show the time left before you breach the SLA, and red icon shows how long a breached conversation is overdue.

Learn more about the SLA status.

Explore the conversation view

The conversation view is the main area of Inbox 2.0 where most of your work takes place, and where you see a conversation's history.

The conversation view with a sample conversation between a contact and an agent.

The header at the top of every conversation includes labels for topics, contact groups, the state of the conversation, and the channel name. You can add a topic manually or set automated topics.

Each message within a conversation includes the type of message (private message, Facebook post, Twitter direct message, comment on Instagram dark post, etc.), a link to the social network for public messages, the message sender, and a timestamp.

Interact with messages

Point to a message to show a menu of options to interact with it, such as Reply, Quote, Like, and Retweet.

For each social network and message type, you have the following options:

  • Twitter
    • Follow
    • Inbound public messages - Like, quote tweet, retweet
  • Facebook
    • Inbound public messages - Like, hide
  • Instagram
    • Inbound public messages - Hide
Note: Replies to public messages appear with the original message embedded.

Tag a message

Add tags to messages in Inbox 2.0 to help categorize your message content. Tags are a helpful way to add metadata about a message. For example, you might add tags to a message to express the message sentiment (positive or negative), define the message type (question, comment, or request), or identify parts of the overall conversation (greeting vs. closing). You can then analyze tags by type in Hootsuite Analytics.

Note: Tags created by admins. They are helpful for you and your team. They aren't visible to your customers.

  1. Go to Inbox 2.0 , point to a comment or reply, and then select Tag message.
  2. Select tags from the list to add them to the message. You can enter a keyword in the Search tags box to search for a tag.

Learn more about tags.

Show or hide audit trails

Audit trails show the actions performed on a conversation, who performed the action, and the time of the action.

An example audit trail showing conversation assignment and bulk resolution events.

You can show or hide audit trails by using the check box at the top of the conversation view. Select Conversation view, and then select or clear the Audit trails check box.

The Conversation menu showing Autdit trails being selected.

Add internal conversation notes

You can add internal notes to messages in a conversation by selecting Add note. These highlighted notes include your name and a timestamp. You can edit or delete them at any time.

The Add note option and an exmple of a previously added note in a conversation.

Respond to conversations

The Reply box is where conversations take place.

The active channel identifier highlights the account you’re using to reply.

Troubleshoot 'customer care window expired' error

Social networks enforce a customer service window for businesses to reply to customers. Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp require that you reply to messages within 24-hours. For more on messaging limitations, see the Meta Messenger platform and IG messaging API policy overview.

Assign conversations

If you want to assign the conversation to another agent, you can search or scroll for their name. The assigned agent receives a notification that they're assigned to a message.

The location above the Reply box where you can assign the conversation to another agent or team.

To learn more, read Assign a message.

Change message status

  • Pending – Select Pending when you're waiting for more information from a contact or if you need to do additional work. The conversation moves to the Pending queue.
  • Resolved – Select Resolve when you resolve a contact’s issue or answered their questions. The conversation moves to the Resolved queue.

Resolve conversations in bulk

You can resolve multiple conversations in the New and Pending queues at once. This can be useful for clearing out a sudden influx of conversations, or when first getting started with your inbox.

You must have the permission Bulk resolve conversations to use this feature. See Assign Inbox 2.0 permissions.

  1. In the New or Pending queue of a channel, filter the queue to see the conversations you want to resolve.
  2. Select the three dots icon, and then choose Bulk resolve. All conversations matching the filter will be resolved, regardless of assignment.
  3. Under Resolve older than, enter a timeframe, such as older than 2 days.
  4. The timeframe is based on the newest message since it was resolved.
  5. If resolve reasons are enabled, select an option from the list.
  6. Select Resolve.

An audit trail shows who bulk resolved a conversation, when the action was performed, and the selected resolve reason.

Set a boomerang

Audience: Enterprise Inbox 2.0 admins with Advanced Inbox. Want more Hootsuite features? Upgrade your plan.

When a conversation requires follow-up later, you can use a boomerang to move it back into the New queue after a chosen period of time. Select the clock next to Pending.

You can also add a quick note or reminder about why you set the boomerang.

The Pending with Boomerang box, where you can set the boomerang clock and add a note.

For more information about boomerangs, see Work with conversations in Inbox 2.0.

Use contact attributes

The Contact tab is located to the right of the conversation view, and contains contact attributes. These attributes are contextual details about a contact, such as email address, first and last name, account ID, etc. Agents or system automations populate these attributes automatically. You can read, enter, and store information on this tab during or after conversations to help you:

  • Understand who you’re talking to
  • Easily spot VIPs
  • Update relevant customer information

The Contact tab, showing a sample contact with an account number, an email address, a language, and a membership.

To learn more, see Review and edit contact information.

Use saved replies

Save time replying to contacts by using pre-written responses. Select Add saved reply in the reply box and choose responses from your team’s collections or create your own personal collection of responses. When you select a saved reply from a collection, it appears in the reply box, ready for you to send or make edits as needed.

Learn how to use saved replies.


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