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Build your own Airtable email CRM

Many businesses are starting to move their Customer Relationship Management system to Airtable due to the flexibility that Airtable offers. Additionally, many startups and businesses already have their data in Airtable so it’s a natural to migrate their CRM to Airtable as well. When you use Airtable to track the interactions with your customers and pending tasks, you don’t have to pay a hefty subscription for a dedicated CRM system like Salesforce or worry about syncing your data from Airtable to other platforms.


How to save emails to Airtable


One issue with Airtable as the CRM is that you cannot easily and automatically log emails to your Airtable base by sending or forwarding them directly. This is why we built TaskRobin to help you integrate emails into Airtable. The TaskRobin extension will automatically create a table with all the necessary fields such as Subject, Sender, CC, Attachment files etc. to store your emails in Airtable. Then, you just need to manually forward or setup auto forwarding with your email provider to TaskRobin for the emails you would like to save to a TaskRobin private robot inbox, and all your emails will be automatically uploaded to your Airtable base.

So now we have a table with all our emails in one place in Airtable. The next challenge would be to create customer-based views so you have visibility on when was the last email communication with this particular customer and what are some pending items to resolve.


Customer-based Table Views

Use TaskRobin to have emails saved to Airtable view
Emails saved to Airtable view

Let’s start with something simple. We want to have a table view of all the emails communications we have had with a particular customer, say, Daniel <daniel @taskrobin.io> (this is not an actual email).


Now, we want to duplicate the default view of the table with all our emails saved by TaskRobin.


Find the current view on the left side panel, right click on that view, and select “Duplicate View”. As a best practice, name this view to the name and email address of your customer. So in our example, we will name this new view as “Daniel <daniel @taskrobin.io>".


Filter by Customer Email


You will notice that there are still no filtering yet, so all emails are still being displayed under the customer view. We will add filters to this view to only display logged emails relevant to this customer in the next step.


Click on the “Filter” button on the horizontal menu right above your table entries and add the following rules to the filter section to show emails where our customer is either in the Sender, CC, or To column.



Airtable filter emails by contact in a view
Airtable filter emails by contact

It is important that the rules are “OR” rules so that if our contact’s email address is in their of those fields, the emails will appear in this customer view.

At this step, you are free to customise the filtering to suit the needs of your business and organisation. You could add additional keywords to check for in the subject line, or in the content of the email for more fine-grained filtering.


Filter by Email Tags


You can also create email tags automatically with TaskRobin. All you need to do is to create some tags in the “Tags” column and add #hashtags as the first line of the forwarded email to TaskRobin. Then, all such forwarded emails will have the tags saved in Airtable automatically.

With our customer table view, we can also filter by the tags we have added to our email records in Airtable.


Our filtering rules will look like this now.


Airtable filter emails by tags
Airtable filter emails by tags

We have created a “condition group” with the “+ Add condition group” button at the bottom of the filter pop up, and dragged all our existing 3 rules to show only emails for this particular customer into this group.


Then, we add one more condition depending on the value of the “Tags” column.

With this set of filtering rules, this customer based table view will display all emails that our customer is either a sender, in the CC or To field, and has “Urgent” and “Todo” tags added. This would be useful to create views on pending tasks for a particular customer.


Customer-based Calendar Views


What if we want to have an overview on the engagement frequency with a particular customer so we don’t lose steam with them? It is best to create a filtered Calendar View to have a quick dashboard on the last logged communications. You can probably guess the general steps to take here but I will still explain step by step on how to achieve this.

To keep our views organized, we would also suggest to name the calendar view based on the customer contact, e.g. “Daniel <daniel @taskrobin.io> Calendar”


We will first create a Calendar view in the left vertical panel. This newly created calendar view is not filtered, so all emails will appear for now.



Track emails in an Airtable calendar view with emails being items in each date of the calendar
Track emails in an Airtable calendar view

Next, we are going to add filters like we did with the Table based customer view just now. But the difference is that we can now just copy the filter rules from the customer based table view, instead of entering everything again.


Click on the “Filter” button again, and this time we are not going to add each conditions ourselves. Click “Copy from another view” button on the bottom right of the filter pop up. Then, select your customer based table view and copy all the filtering rules.



Copy existing Airtable filter from another view to this view by selecting "Filter Conditions"
Copy Airtable filter configuration

Once you hit “Copy configuration”, you will see your filter conditions for the new calendar view updated to whatever you had in your table view. It’s that simple!


And now, the calendar view will only display emails relevant to the particular customer, and plus any tags that you have decided to filter on as well.


Create a customer contacts table


So now you can save emails to Airtable, but a good CRM system also allows you to have an overview of all your contacts, allowing you to enter customer information such as name, email address, title, company, website, additional notes etc.


You can create a Contacts Table via TaskRobin’s Airtable extension and keep track of all email contacts in the emails that you have saved. After you have completed the setup, TaskRobin will automatically add new contacts to your ‘Contacts’ table in Airtable based on your email information.


An automated Airtable contacts tracking table created and managed by TaskRobin
Automated Airtable Contacts table

Each time a new contact is found in your saved emails, TaskRobin will create a new row in Airtable with the new contact’s name, email address, email domain, first contact date and last contact date automatically. All these meta data will be stored in appropriate fields in your ‘Contacts’ Airtable table.


Subsequently, whenever an existing contact in the ‘Contacts’ table appears in yours saved emails, the last contact date will be updated in the ‘Contacts’ table for that particular contact.


This makes managing contacts and customers from different organizations seamless with Airtable. All you need to do now is to add the additional fields to record the other necessary information regarding these contacts such as ‘company name’, ’title’ and ‘additional notes’.


Conclusion


So now you have the basic elements of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system in Airtable. With these modules, you can customise and create a powerful email logging and filtering system that best suits your needs. If you need additional help, feel free to read more about TaskRobin or talk to us directly on live chat to get more ideas.

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Nov 21, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thanks for making this!

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