Client answers by email and updates a record in airtable

Hi Everyone, :wave:

Maybe someone can shed a bit of light :flashlight: about how to do this, if possible.

:speech_balloon: Actual Scenario:
When a member of the team (there are 5 members) makes a question about a certain proyect (we have many at the same time, around 100) the related client receives the question automatically in its email. But in order to answer he has to go into our portal (we use miniextensions.com) log in, find the question and answer it. Which is quite a slow process.

:star_struck: Desired Scensario:
When a client receives a question he can directly reply the email, and his answer will be updated to the related record.

Any Ideas where to start?
I guess integromat would be needed for this, or webhook to trigger an airtable automation?

That type of behavior is probably a lot more complex to set up than you realize. I’ve never done something like that (or even marginally close), but it requires an email server that’s designed to parse incoming messages for certain content. The server would have to do the bulk of the work in custom code and then pass the data to Airtable via webhook to store the answer. If you really want to go that route, you can try posting to the #developers:work-offered category and see if anyone knows how to make this happen.

Another option would be to build a simple form in JotForm that lets the user enter their answer, passing the Airtable record ID as a hidden value. The form can then be sent to Integromat, which can update the relevant record in Airtable.

Note: I had originally mentioned something about using JotForm’s webhook feature to send the data, but a quick test wasn’t successful. Maybe it’ll work after a bit more play, but I’ve used the Integromat setup before with great success, so I recommend going that route for now.

Yeah, as @Justin_Barrett said, if you want to do this entirely via email, I think the quickest/easiest way of doing this would be to just use Integromat to parse the emails on your behalf — but you’d have to “encode” the outgoing emails to the clients in some way that you would know what question the person is replying to, and you’d need to know which person is doing the replying. (You’d also need to make sure that the person doesn’t alter the parts of the email which you’ve encoded.)

So, for example, you could put the Record ID of the question within the subject of the email. Then, when the person replies to the email, Integromat can parse the subject of the email to figure out which question the person is replying to. Then, Integromat can grab the person’s email address, and do a search for that person by their email address in Airtable.

And then Integromat can link that person to the question + their reply in Airtable.

You could also setup scenarios for what to do if the Record ID is missing or the person’s email address doesn’t exist in your Airtable base.

Also, Integromat offers mailhooks, so the “Reply To” email address on your outgoing emails could be the Integromat email address, meaning that replies will get sent directly into Integromat — without any need for a normal email address to be monitored by Integromat.

p.s. I am a professional Airtable consultant and an Integromat Partner, and the Integromat links contain my personal referral code. If you have a budget for your project and you’d like to hire an expert to help you set this up, please feel free to contact me through my website at ScottWorld.com.

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Thanks for @ScottWorld and @Justin_Barrett for taking your time in providing such detailed answers.
Adding the Record ID to the email to later parse it is kind of what I was thinking about.

Thanks again!

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