Operate - Two-way Emailing

Use Two Way Email to Send Your Inbox to essensys Operate

Alex Taylor avatar
Written by Alex Taylor
Updated over a week ago

What does two-way emailing do and how does it work?

Two-way emailing allows you to communicate with your customers through your own personal email whilst having the ability to keep track of all correspondence in Operate. This is achieved by routing all email communications through our mail servers.

In order to set up two way emailing you will need to setup a distribution email address with a forward to our mail servers as described in the steps below.

When you send an email from Operate the reply address is set to this new distribution email address. When the customer replies the email arrives to that distribution email and is then therefore appended to the email history in Operate and then forwarded back to you.

When you reply to this email (from your email or from Operate) it will again be sent from the new distribution email address. This will in turn, append the email to the Operate history and then forward to the customer.

Step 1

Go to Settings > General > General/Getting Started > Email Setup to get the forwarding email that the distribution email you set up will need to be forwarded to. Once you have this, you need to set up a distribution email with your own mail providers, i.e operate@yourcompany.com, and provide them with the forwarding email.

The forwarding email address will be listed here:

Step 2

Enter your newly created distribution email address in the box:

Step 3

Check the box to enable Two-Way Email, and choose whether you want to see notifications of unread emails.

If you have enabled email notifications, you will see an envelope icon in our navigation bar which will indicate the amount of unread emails in your team's inbox.

Save your settings and two way emailing will be enabled.

NOTE: If you want to disable two way emailing in the future you can uncheck this box at any time.

Advanced Two-way Email Options

(Optional) Setting up SPF for Operate to send email on behalf of your email domain

An SPF record is a tool you can use to authorize Operate to send email on your behalf.

You can set up an SPF (Sender Policy Framework) record to verify that Operate can send outgoing email on behalf of your email server. This is optional, but recommended if you've set up forwarding to an external email address.

For example, if you receive email from your customers at help@acme.com, and you've set up an automatic redirection to forward all email received there to your Operate, you can authorize Operate to send out notifications as if it originated from your own email address (for example: help@acme.com). That way you can preserve your branding throughout the entire process.

Understanding how it works

An SPF record is a single line of text that declares which SMTP servers, other than your own, are allowed to send email as if it originated from your domain.

This is accomplished by adding a DNS (Domain Name Servers) text record. (Think of DNS as a publicly accessible record for the internet.) This record enables you to state publicly that Operate is an authorized sender for your email domain.

When an email client receives a message, it usually performs an SPF check to verify that the email came from who it says it did. If there isn't a valid SPF record identifying the IP address which sent the email as a sender, some receivers might consider that email spam or a phishing attempt, and flag it as untrustworthy or not display it to your customers at all.

Operate avoids this by sending email using our own domain when we're not authorized to use your domain, and by using your domain only when you authorize Operate with a proper SPF record. Either way, email sent from Operate should never be marked as spam.

Deciding whether you really need to do this

So, do you have to set up an SPF record? The short answer is:  No.

The slightly longer answer is: Only if you really don't want your customers to see the Operate name on their messages.

When Operate sends an email message using your email address (which is what happens if you've set up a support address with forwarding) the message identifies the sender as Operate to avoid getting rejected. However, if you create a valid SPF record, Operate will stop sending messages as Operate, and send them on behalf of your email server, completely preserving your branding.

If you don't set up an SPF record, your customers might see something like this:

If you add an SPF record, however, that "via" statement is removed.

Setting up an SPF record

Ideally, this is a task you'd get help with or have your domain administrator take care of, if you can.

Setting up an SPF record is different for different systems. Your DNS records are managed alongside your email domain. How you add an SPF record to your DNS configuration depends on how and by who your domain is being hosted.

Note: As an example, here are the instructions provided by GoDaddy.com: Managing DNS for your domain names.

If you have already set up an SPF record for another purpose, you can simply add a reference to Operate to it.

To create or edit an SPF record to reference Operate

Edit your domain's DNS settings to add a TXT record. (These steps will vary depending on your hosting service.)

Operate recommends using the following SPF records:

v=spf1 ip4: ip4: -all

Note: If you're curious, you can read more about SPF records at www.openspf.org.

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