A new year, a new Zenbox - And some stats!

Over the past few months, we've seen uptake surge, as people continue to use Zenbox to track customer data across services. I'm personally humbled at the scale we've been able to help out - at the end of last month, we were tracking over a million customer profiles across our users, combined from dozens of SaaS apps, and servicing over 10,000 requests a day from within GMail for combined profiles. I love the thought of how much time, energy, and frustration we've saved our users.

So with that in mind, we've been hard at work completely revamping Zenbox with three goals:

  • Stabler
  • Much, much faster
  • Easier to use

Install Zenbox here to try out all the new goodies!

The Challenge

GMail is unique amongst web applications, in that it's highly dynamic, left open for days at a time, and not designed for any extension on the frontend - so it can be a challenge to deliver an exceptionally stable plugin. However, with some great effort from everyone, I think we've done just that. I'd like to mention just a few of the high-level improvements we've made with this release.

The Revamp

We've touched up the UI to be far more intuitive than before. Users of the new extension have picked up on the menus far more quickly than before. As a quick example, each menu item only has one function, whereas before a single menu item could both open a link and open a profile editing box, depending on where you clicked.

Beyond that, we wanted this release to be configurable, so that pieces could be easily removed or added. You can now make Zenbox as small and spartan as possible, or equally as big and detailed. Each section is collapsable and toggle-able. This makes it easy to get Zenbox to be as powerful as possible, but not overwhelming, depending on how you use it.

It's All Inside the App

And we've moved all configuration to be in-app: With the Zenbox menu, you can easily add more services directly, exclude emails from being looked up, etc.

Not only that, but you can suggest features, tell us about bugs, and open live support chat from the same menu. This has been a huge hit with our users so far, and we've got a great deal of feedback as a result.

We've also scaled back some features: We've removed the Zenbox-anywhere feature, dropped compatibility with the Rapportive extension, and removed the single-field edit feature - though we'll be looking at how to bring them back in an appropriate form in the future.

The Future

We'll continue to roll out new features and fix bugs rapidly, and we'll be sure to update the blog when we do.

 

If you haven't already done so, install the Zenbox plugin to bring together all your SaaS apps into GMail right now!

Zenbox CustomData: Make Gmail your customer admin dashboard

It's time for a formal feature announcement: Our CustomData is here, and it's awesome.

The frustration of dark data...

Your individual customer data - data you need dozens to hundreds of times a day doing sales and support - is locked away in your database. Before responding to a support email or contacting a sales lead, you want to know about payment plan, usage history, jobs run, and really all sorts of custom-data that's specific to your business. So how do you get to it?

If you're lucky, you have access to the database. SQL queries for sales people, anyone? If you're really lucky, you or your developers have built an internal admin panel that exposes the data you need. But even then, you'll need to jump out of email, your CRM, or helpdesk to get access to it.

With Zenbox, we bring all of that perfectly actionable customer profile with you wherever you go, available instantly in any context.

 

The extendable box of Zen

When designed Custom Data with three goals in mind

 

  • Secure: The data never touches our server. All requests for CustomData travel directly from your browser, to your server, and back, and we never see any of it. You can put your server on private VPN or use only SSL backends to make it even more secure.
  • Actionable: The data and actions you want to see for your customers are unqique to your business, and only you have access to them. We want to expose those for you wherever you are on the web.
  • Easy: This is crucial - it has to be so easy a developer gets excited at the idea. If your backend can provide properly formatted JSON to a single request, you can be up and running extremely quickly.

Having access to dynamic customer profiles cuts down your response time and drastically improves the quality. 

You can define custom 'quick-actions' from the backend that keep you from jumping back to the admin panel, so you stay in-flow while helping customers.

For the technical nitty-gritty, check out the Zenbox help page: https://www.zenboxapp.com/help#custom-data.

Trust us, you're going to love it.

Built a business on Parse? You need Zenbox.

We're big fans of Parse's service here at Zenbox - get to market quicker, and focus on what matters: your product, and your customers. And now we're here to help Parse users with the latter.

Developers and sales people hate context shifts, so with Zenbox you'll see the customers of your Parse app appear right in Gmail when they contact you. No alt-tabbing out of the email flow to find out who you're talking, and you'll know how they've been using your app right inline.

 

As usual, Zenbox's Parse integration takes just a few seconds to get going. Just log into your parse account, copy your AppID and REST API key into the Zenbox settings page, and you're done.

Trust us, your sales, support, and cofounders will all thank you - and without you having to write a single line of code.

Install Zenbox to get over 20 SaaS services, including Parse, in your Gmail right now

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Zenbox acquires Wishery

Wishery and Zenbox share a core belief - that email communications, and business workflows, are greatly enhanced by context - when you know what your business knows about the people you communicate with, your communications become vastly more efficient and effective. Cooper and his team have done an amazing job designing and executing around that vision, and the decision to come together was a clear win.

Additionally, we both believe that bringing simple productivity features into the email client can help you and your colleagues get more done with much less effort.

Both products make it fast and easy to connect your other business apps, like MailChimp and Shopify, so that details from those systems appear in Gmail automatically. Zenbox has gone further and now allows connecting any data source, via custom integration points - and Zenbox is rapidly adding new integrations (Highrise, SugarCRM, and HelpScout are coming soon!). Wishery Pro allowed editing of MailChimp email list subscriber records - ZenBox Premium has this too, and it also allows editing of any Salesforce profiles as well.

Everything you could do with Wishery, you can now do with Zenbox - and much, much more.

So on that note, we wish a cheery farewell to Wishery, and a warm welcome to Zenbox!

 

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Using Zenbox and Mixpanel for Support and Sales (for fun and for profit)

Continuing on our mission to unify your customer data wherever it may be, we've just enabled Mixpanel support in production. Here's an example of what it looks like:

Now Zenbox will pull in any customer profiles you're storing alongside your analytics, so when you're doing sales or support you'll know who you're talking to.

To enable Mixpanel integration in Zenbox, just go to the Zenbox settings page, click on Mixpanel in the sidebar, and enter your API Key and Secret.

 

To find your Mixpanel API Key and Secret, simply log into Mixpanel and clicking 'Account'. Find the project you want Zenbox to show you customer profiles from. Then just copy the API KEY and API SECRET over to this form, hit save, and Mixpanel profiles will start pouring in.

Developer Note: You'll need to be identifying your users via the mixpanel API with their email address, as well as setting their `$email` special property, in order for Zenbox to be able to find your customer profiles for you.

Where are the events?

Right now we only pull in profiles - as soon as Mixpanel releases the right API's, we'll be able to pull in recent your user's activity stream inline as well, so you can see where they've been on your site in realtime.

Zenbox Omniwrite, a supercharged customer admin panel that works with your existing services

This is a big one. A doozy, if you will. A proverbial bombshell. We call it omniwrite.

Zenbox Omniwrite lets you update customer profiles inline simply by double-clicking on any editable field. It's like having a sleek, super-charged admin panel that works with all of your services!

To start with we're rolling it out for Mailchimp and Salesforce backends, and it's already released. So if you're already grooving out on Zenbox, go try it now - otherwise, install Zenbox and see how slick the world is when all of your tools works together in harmony.

Zenbox brings your Shopify customers with you across the web

Even early on in Zenbox, we knew there were going to be some very powerful integrations. Shopify definitely qualifies.

Shopify:  Powerful, simple hosted ecommerce

Shopify is a hosted ecommerce solution that allows you to set up and run your own online store. Pick an ecommerce website template, list your products, accept credit card orders, and ship your goods — all with a few clicks of the mouse. With Shopify it's easy to sell online and there's no software to download or maintain.

As with all of our other integrations, Zenbox brings your Shopify experience with you wherever you are on the web, and it takes under 20 seconds to setup.

Any time you hover over a customer email anywhere on the web, you'll see all of your Shopify info appear inline, along with their order history. Here're some previews.

Customer Profile shown inline:

Previous customer orders:

Zenbox and Shopify together - better sales and support, in less time, for all your customers.

Install Zenbox and bring Shopify with you wherever you are on the web!