Enhancement: Fixed Email Thread Grouping for SMS Notifications by Email

  • 4
  • 6
  • Idea
  • Updated 2 years ago
  • (Edited)
In the SMS notifications by email; the current format for the automatically generated email subject lines is surprisingly problematic because it breaks normal email thread grouping, and thereby overfills the RingCentral customer's email inbox. This fix for this is to modify the default subject line format. Details are described below. I imagine this behavior would be a problem for almost all RingCentral users who use SMS notifications by email. Included below is a description of the problem behavior, and how the subject lines could be modified to fix the problem.

Report details:
Gmail, and most other email clients (including Yahoo, etc.), organize emails for their users in the email client inboxes by grouping the emails into "conversations" (or "threads"). A key way that the email providers' software determines whether or not a particular email is part of an existing conversation, is by comparing the text in the subject line to the subject lines of the previous messages. If the subject line is identical to a previously received email, (and if the new email was sent from the same sender), then a newly received email will generally be added to a pre-existing conversation. This message "grouping" is highly important from a usability perspective, because if emails are not grouped into conversations, then individual email replies would quickly fill up the screen in a user's inbox. (Too many separate emails would be a major problem for the user!)

Unfortunately, filling up the inbox screen is exactly what's happening with RingCentral's current SMS notifications by email. These emails are not being grouped into appropriate conversations, because every single subject line is currently unique. The subject lines are unique because Ring Central currently includes the -time- of the SMS message in the subject line. This means that if someone has a longer SMS conversation, for example if 20 text messages are sent by each party at the rate of one per minute, then they will receive 20 separate email notifications of the text messages... These messages are -not- grouped into a single conversation in the email inbox as would be expected. The RingCentral customer's "unread messages" email inbox will literally fill up by more than one page of new emails in the space of a few minutes.

Current personal workaround:
Turning off text message notifications is not an option, because if I don't happen to be at my computer, then email is the only way I have of knowing if I received a text message from a business customer. In order to deal with the situation, I have to go into my email box after every customer conversation, and manually delete all the extra separate notification messages. If the notifications were grouped into conversations appropriately, I would not have to do this at all. (Or, I would have to only delete one grouped "conversation" if any cleanup was desired, regardless of how many text messages were sent and received.)

Suggested fix:
The current subject lines look like this:
"New Text Message from (700) 555-5555 on 01/09/2018 12:12 PM"

Option 1- I would suggest changing the subject lines to look like this. (Removing the time of day from the subject):
"New Text Message from (700) 555-5555 on 01/09/2018"

Option 2- This would also be a reasonable alternative:
"New Text Message from (700) 555-5555"

If you change the subject lines as suggested in Option 1, then most email software will only create one unique email conversation per sender (customer), per day. This would likely be greatly preferable for anyone receiving these SMS notifications.

If you believe it's important to display -time- the SMS message was received to your RingCentral customers, then there are at least two possible solutions:
1) All email software that I'm aware of will indicate what time that an email was received.   Assuming that your email notifications are sent reasonably promptly, then you could rely on this behavior alone to convey the time of an SMS message. OR
2) You can place a copy of the full timestamp somewhere in the body of the message. This would also accomplish the same purpose, while properly preserving email conversation grouping functionality in your customer's email clients.
Photo of DanR


  • 120 Points 100 badge 2x thumb

Posted 2 years ago

  • 4
  • 6
Photo of Brandon

Brandon, Champion

  • 24,902 Points 20k badge 2x thumb
Yes!  And thank you for providing such a detailed description.  I am sure this helps get visibility.
Photo of Denco


  • 108 Points 100 badge 2x thumb
This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Remove sent time from incoming subject in Text Emails.

Presently when I get a text message, I get an email subject formatted like so:
"New Text Message from (xxx) xxx-xxxx on MM/dd/yyyy hh:mm aa"
I would like it to be:
"New Text Message from (xxx) xxx-xxxx".

Right now my email gets cluttered from text messages. If I text back a few times to someone, I end up with a different email "conversation" in GMail for every single incoming mail, because the subject changes every minute.

If it just was a new text message from the number, the conversation would be consolidated within GMail so it shows as 1 conversation for multiple emails, instead of separate ones.

The time of the text is shown in the body of the email, so there is no need for it to also be in the subject.