With its Automatic Email Capture functionality, AffinityLive provides a single, integrated place for all emails related to client work to be captured, indexed and stored. Unlike other systems that require manual intervention, AffinityLive works automatically, so your staff don't have to remember to tag, copy, paste or index emails and you still get the benefits of a single, integrated history of client correspondence.
The following overview provides a background to the email capture process; for more details, check out the various detailed help articles that go through how to set up email capture with the following setups:
The most common way to capture your incoming emails is to set up a message rule which will forward emails from your mailbox across to a special capture or trap account inside AffinityLive.
When you receive an email, it passes through a mail server before getting into your inbox. Most mail servers have the ability to "forward" emails to an additional address as well as delivering them to your mailbox, a feature often used by people when they're going away and want to access their email via a webmail provider.
By setting up one of these forwarding "rules", you're able to send a copy of the emails you receive across to AffinityLive. When it reaches the AffinityLive system, the email address of the sender will be matched against either a record in the Company/Contact database, and if there's a match, it will create a new Activity, attentioned to you, and put it into the system.
The email, in the form of a an activity, will then appear on your to-do list, as well as being recorded as part a conversation underneath the prospect/sale, job/project, issue or if it isn't part of an existing conversation, it will be stored against company record of the sender.
The mailbox synchronization method is currently only available for Google Apps and Gmail users. Setup of this method is covered in more detail on the detailed help pages for these two products, Google Apps and Gmail.
Every user in AffinityLive has their own personal forwarding address. If your AffinityLive deployment is at demo.affinitylive.com for example, and your username is richard, then the address you need to forward the emails over to is email@example.com.
If your username is your full email address - as it is for most Google Apps users then you use just the part before the @ symbol to set up your forwarding address. So, if your username is firstname.lastname@example.org, and your AffinityLive deployment is demo.affinitylive.com, your forwarding address is email@example.com.
In addition to scanning who the email is from to work out if AffinityLive should capture it, AffinityLive also looks at special, hidden fields in the email, which can help AffinityLive to understand if the email that's coming in is a reply to a conversation. If AffinityLive can work out that the email is part of a conversation, it puts the new email underneath the old one, so that when you're looking at a list of activities, you've got the ability to see the discussion in a "thread", making long conversations much easier to keep track of.
While incoming email capture is great, it is only half the conversation - you will also want to keep track of the emails that you and your colleagues send to clients. Unfortunately, while the ability to set up a forwarding rule for incoming email is pretty common in most mail servers, setting up an outgoing message rule is often more difficult.
The fundamental requirement for capturing outgoing email is for messages to be delivered to firstname.lastname@example.org - however, there are a number of ways to achieve this outcome.
There are currently three supported methods of Outgoing Email Capture, which are supported by different mail products.
|Mail System||Outgoing Relay / Smarthost||Transport Rule / AutoBCC||Sychronization||Message Rule|
|Gmail (stand alone)||Yes||Yes|
|Exchange 2007 & 2010||Yes||Yes, Transport Rule|
|Exchange 2003 & earlier||Yes||Yes, Journalling|
|Outlook (stand alone)||Yes|
The highlighted options in the table above are the recommended options for each mail system. We'll now cover each method in a little more detail below.
Note that you can always manually include email@example.com in the bcc field for any email (to an AffinityLive contact) that you wish to be captured by AffinityLive.
One way to get emails to be delivered to the special firstname.lastname@example.org address is by sending your emails via the AffinityLive servers. When you do this, our systems automatically pass your mail messages through to the outgoing log capture address, and provide a simple and low maintenance way to ensure your outgoing emails to clients are captured by AffinityLive.
Using AffinityLive as an outgoing relay or smarthost is relatively straight forward, and is supported by all major mail servers. In a general sense, it works in the following way:
The instructions for how to configure this method for various mail servers are contained in the following pages:
This option is actually three different options, and involves delivering mail directly or independently of AffinityLive's servers, and configuring your own mail server to automatically BCC or forward a copy of emails to the special capture account, email@example.com.
For more specific instructions, please refer to the help page related to your email server:
Synchronization works by having the AffinityLive servers periodically access the mailboxes of you and your users. Currently, only Google mailboxes - for both Google Apps and stand-alone Gmail accounts - are supported.
While the synchronization approach is easier to set up than the outgoing relay approach, this method is less responsive than the forwarding methods. This is because it relies on the AffinityLive servers "sweeping" your inbox periodically, whereas the forwarding methods happen almost instantaneously as email is delivered.
Currently very few mail clients and mail servers support the provision of message rules. One of the few that does provide this option is Novell Groupwise, and it is the recommended method of getting your outgoing emails into AffinityLive because it is implemented on a per-user or per-mailbox basis.
One of the most common questions users ask when they first configure AffinityLive's automatic email captue is "what about personal emails - will they be captured too?"
The good news is that in almost all cases, no, any personal emails you send or receive will NOT be captured by AffinityLive.
This is because AffinityLive only captures email that are to or from an email address in the AffinityLive client database. If your friend or loved one sends you an email, it won't be captured - unless they also happen to be a client.
In the infrequent case that a client is someone who is also a loved one or personal contact with whom you often have non-work discussions and talk about things you'd like to keep private, you've got a number of options. These are outlined in more detail under the Privacy Settings help page.