Creating a Customer Service Conversations Inbox in HubSpot

With a central conversations inbox in HubSpot, your service team can streamline communication with your customers.

Your customer service team, or customer support, should be available to help your customers with efficiency and all the information they need. Maybe your team already shares an email. Now you can add the HubSpot layer onto that to bring them even more data (and power).

Your support team can see all of the interactions your customers have with your brand— including how they prefer to communicate, what products or services they've purchased and more— when your communications are connected to HubSpot's CRM platform.

Let's learn how to connect different channels to your customer service team inbox so you can view, reply and manage all ongoing conversations in one place. 

Create your inbox

In your HubSpot portal, click the settings gear icon in the right side of the main navigation bar.

Creating a Customer Service Conversations Inbox in HubSpot - navigation
In the left sidebar menu, find Inbox > Inboxes.

Next to the dropdown menu titled Current view, click the Actions dropdown menu, select Create new inbox, and in the Team inbox name field, enter a name for your inbox.

Now you can add team members to your inbox. Click the Add team inbox members dropdown menu to choose who can interact with messages in this inbox.

If you need to add or remove team members after creating your inbox, you can do so in your team management settings.

When choosing team  members in the inbox, you have two choices:

  • Everyone: every HubSpot user in this account can see the inbox
  • Specific users and teams: only those selected users or teams you choose can see this inbox

Now it's time to select a channel to connect.

  • Connect Team email to view and reply to any messages sent to your company email address.
  • Connect a Chat channel to view and reply to messages sent to your live chat or bot.
  • Connect a Facebook Messenger account to view and reply to messages sent to your Facebook Business Page.

If you'd prefer to set up your channels later by editing the inbox, click Connect a channel later. When you first set up an inbox, you will connect one channel to start, but you can also connect additional channels at any time by editing your inbox.

Connect your conversational channel of choice

Connect a team email channel

A team email address is an email address that multiple users have access to and use to communicate with contacts.

With a team email channel, your team can view, manage, and reply to emails in your conversations inbox.

On the other end of the spectrum, a personal email is an email address that is unique to your user and not used by anyone else on your team. You can use a personal email to send one-to-one emails from the CRM, log email replies to the CRM, send sequences emails, and install HubSpot Sales to access the sales tools in your inbox. We don't suggest connecting a personal email to your inbox, as the team will be able to see all incoming emails.

When you're ready to connect your team email address, follow the steps below:

Select Team email, then Yes, this is a shared account, then click next.

Select Gmail, Office 365, or Other mail account.

At this time, HubSpot does not support IMAP.

Creating a Customer Service Conversations Inbox in HubSpot - choose email provider

To connect a Google Groups account or a hosted email account, select Other mail account, then follow the instructions in this article from HubSpot: Forward emails to a hosted email address in the conversations inbox.

Next, review the terms for sharing this email account with HubSpot, then click Continue.

Select the email address you want to connect, enter your login credentials, and complete the connection process to allow HubSpot to access your inbox.

From here you'll be redirected to the Email Details screen where you can customize the information that contacts will see when they receive an email from you. To customize the from name that displays, click the From name dropdown menu and select one of the following:

  • Agent and company name: contacts will see the user's name and the company name when they receive an email. Enter the company name in the text field.
  • Company name: contacts will see the company name when they receive an email. Enter the company name in the text field.

To include a team email signature in emails you send from the inbox, select the Enable team signature checkbox. Then in the text box, customize your team email signature in the Simple editor.

Use the rich text toolbar at the bottom to format the text, insert a link, or insert an image.

To insert a personalization token that will populate the sender's full name or first name, click the Insert Token dropdown menu and select Full name or First name. When the contact receives an email from the team email address, the name of the user who sent the email will appear in the email signature.

You can also click HTML and edit the signature in HTML.

Preview how the from name and email signature will appear in the contact's inbox, then click Next.

By default, incoming conversations are left unassigned for your team to triage. If you want to route the conversation to specific users and team members, click to toggle the Automatically assign conversations switch on.

Click the Automatically assign incoming conversations to dropdown menu and select a routing option:

  • Specific users and teams: route incoming emails to the users or teams selected. Select the users or team names from the Specific users and teams dropdown menu.
  • Contact owner: route incoming email to a contact's owner. The contact must have an owner assigned to their record and be tracked with a cookie. If the owner is offline, the submission will be emailed to the visitor's owner.

To create a ticket for each new conversation, ensure that the Treat incoming conversations as support tickets switch is on. To customize the ticket properties, click Edit ticket. Edit the properties in the right panel, then click Save.

Click connect & finish.

Note: HubSpot limits the number of objects that you can associate with a contact record. If a contact record hits the limit, a ticket will not be automatically created when they start a conversation. You can learn more about the technical limits for object associations on HubSpot's Product & Services Catalog.

Your team email is now connected so you can compose and reply to emails in the conversations inbox.

Connect a chat channel to communicate instantly with your customers

Want to truly serve your customers and offer chat on your website? Here's how.

In settings, navigate to Inbox > Inboxes. Choose your Current View and click Connect a channel, then select Chat.

Creating a Customer Service Conversations Inbox in HubSpot - choose channel 1

Start by customizing what visitors will see when they start a chat. By default, your chat widget will apply the colors you selected in your account's branding settings. To change the accent color for your chat widget, select another color.

Creating a Customer Service Conversations Inbox in HubSpot - customize chat widget color

You can also select a custom color by manually entering a hexadecimal, or clicking the color to the right of the hexadecimal value field and using the color gradient to select the color you want.

Next, click the Chat heading dropdown menu and select the name and avatar to appear on the chat widget.

  • Specific users and teams: select the checkboxes next to the names to display. If you select more than three users, their names and avatars will randomly appear on the chat widget. Learn how the chatflow's selected language will impact your chat heading.
  • Custom name and avatar: display a generic team name and image.
  • Contact owner: if the contact is known and has an owner, the contact owner's information will appear. Click the New visitor fallback dropdown menu and select a fallback option for any new or unassigned visitors who start a chat.

In the text box, enter a welcome message that will appear when visitors first start a chat.

To set who incoming conversations are routed to, click to toggle the Automatically assign conversations switch on, then click the Assign To dropdown menu. Learn more about setting up routing rules in your conversations inbox.

To automatically display the welcome message when your pages load, select the Pop open the welcome message as a prompt checkbox.

Click Next.

Set when your team should appear available to chat and let visitors know when they can expect a reply. Select an availability option:

During business hours: select During business hours to set consistent days and times when your team should appear available to chat. If your chatflow includes a bot, learn how customize the bot's availability preferences based on your inbox settings.

  • Under Team business hours, use the dropdown menus to set your team’s availability. Click + Add hours to add additional day and time ranges.
  • To set up the visitor's experience when your team is available, click the Available tab. Click the Show typical reply time dropdown menu to let visitors know when they can expect a reply.
  • To set up the visitor's experience when your team is away during business hours, click the Away tab. Click the If all team members are 'away' or at capacity, then dropdown menu and select an away mode widget behavior.
  • To set up the visitor's experience when your team is not available, click the Outside business hours tab. Click the dropdown menu and choose to either show an away message, show a reply time, or hide the chat launcher when a visitor comes to your site outside of business hours.

Creating a Customer Service Conversations Inbox in HubSpot - customize chat channel team availability

Based on team member status: visitors can chat with your team if at least one team member assigned in your routing rules is available.

  • To customize the automated message a visitor will see when they start a chat, click the Available tab, then click the Show typical reply time dropdown menu and select an option.
  • To customize the message that appears when no one is available to chat, click the Away tab. Enter your away message text or click the dropdown menu and select Hide chat launcher so the widget does not appear if no one is available.
  • Always: your team always appears available to chat. Use the Show typical reply time dropdown menu to let visitors know when they can expect a reply. If you don't wish to show visitors this information, select Don't show a reply time.

Click Next.

Preview how your chat widget will appear on different devices using the device type buttons above the preview, then click next.

If you're using the chat widget on an external website, you'll need to add the HubSpot tracking code to your website pages.

To add the code yourself, click Copy, then add the code right before the </body> tag on every page you want the chat widget to appear.

If you need help adding the code to your pages, click the View instructions for dropdown menu and select your website provider. Click external link to view the instructions in a separate browser tab. If you host your website on WordPress, click I host my site on WordPress, then follow the instructions to install the "HubSpot All-In-One Marketing – Forms, Popups, Live Chat WordPress" plugin.

To send the code to your web developer, enter their email address in the Email a team member field and click Send.

When you're done, click Publish.

After connecting your chat channel, learn how to customize your chat profile then start chatting with your website visitors. You can also edit your chat's appearance and availability at any time, or create a new chatflow in the inbox.

How to connect a Facebook Messenger channel

Sometimes customers will want to chat via Facebook. Here's how to connect your business page to your customer service inbox.

Creating a Customer Service Conversations Inbox in HubSpot - choose channel 2

In settings, navigate to Inbox > Inboxes. Choose your Current View and click Connect a channel, the select Facebook Messenger.

Click Continue with Facebook.

In the pop-up window, log in to your Facebook account. Pop-ups must be enabled in your browser in order to log in to your Facebook account from the pop-up window.

Note: you must have an Admin role on the Facebook page you want to connect. Confirm or manage your role to move forward with the connection.

Click Connect next to the Facebook Page you want to connect.

Please note: you cannot connect a Facebook Messenger account to more than one HubSpot account.

In the Greeting text box, enter a message to display the first time a visitor starts a conversation with you.

Click Next.

To send a reply to visitors immediately after they send their first message, enter a response in the Send instant reply text box.

To set who incoming messages are routed to, click the Automatically assign incoming conversations to dropdown menu and select a routing option. Learn more about setting up routing rules.

Click Next.

To preview how your greeting and instant reply will appear, use the Greeting and Instant reply buttons above the preview image.

In the bottom right, click Done.

You'll be redirected to your inbox settings, where you'll see your Facebook Business Page listed with the status switch toggled on. On your Facebook Business Page, when a visitor clicks the Send Message button, the Messenger window will open in the bottom right. The visitor can compose and send a message that will then appear in the conversations inbox.

When a visitor interacts with the Facebook business or bot, Facebook Messenger’s Platform Policy Overview specifies that messages can be sent within 7 days for an inquiry that cannot be resolved within the standard messaging window. For example, if your business is closed over the weekend when an inquiry comes in, you have 7 days to respond. Automated messages or content unrelated to user inquiries cannot be sent outside of the standard messaging window of 24 hours.

Note: Because Facebook Messenger's Profile API does not allow HubSpot to collect a visitor's email address, duplicate records might be created in your account if you have multiple Facebook Business Pages connected. If a visitor starts a conversation on both pages, a new contact record will be added to your account for each unique thread.