Response Detection Troubleshooting and FAQ

Response Detection is a great way to prevent unwanted followups. To set it up, go to your Inbox connections page and connect the inbox for one of the email addresses on your account. If you are having trouble, this page has a number of tips and answers to commonly asked questions.

How To Test

  • Send a test email to an email addresses which you can access but is not yet connected to your FUT account. Place in the bcc field
  • Go to (v3) or (v2) and find the followup you just scheduled. On v3, it will verify that response detection was set for that followup
  • Reply to the email you sent yourself
  • Hit refresh on the followupthen website to ensure the task was completed. This usually happens after a few seconds.

When are followups canceled?
Only when a reply is received from an email address that was in the “to” field of the original message. This allows you to bcc other addresses or forward the message to start another conversation without canceling the original followup.

to:, <--- only a reply from one of these cancels the FUT

Do I link email aliases?
You do not need to link alias email addresses, only the base email address. In short: As long as a response ends up one of your connected mailboxes, it will be detected.

Email address not listed?
Make sure the address has been linked to your account.


Not Working At All

Are your inbox(es) connected?
Response detection requires a connection to your inbox so FollowUpThen can monitor for responses. You can set this up on the inbox connections page.

Trouble connecting via IMAP?
First verify your credentials are correct by signing in to your email account on a separate device (computer, phone, tablet). You may have to specifically enable IMAP for your provider, or use an application-specific password. If you could successfully sign in on another device, or you’re using another connection method (Google, Microsoft, etc) please contact us.

Are you on the right plan?
Response detection is available only on certain plans. To check your plan level, make sure you are logged in, then navigate to our features page. Your current account level will be highlighted. (Note: If you already upgraded one email you can link another email address, enabling premium features on both!)

Are you including -r in the date format?
(For example, indicates the followup will be canceled if a response has been received. If you would like response detection to be active on every followup, you can make use of our default options feature.

Is your email coming from the right address?
Check the “from” address in your test email. Does this address correspond with one of the connected inboxes? If you don’t see it listed you can link that email address to your paid account.


Intermittently Working

Did you schedule more than one followup for the same/similar thread?
Response detection may have cancelled one followup, but left the other one active. To check, go to My Followups  filter by “completed” followups and search a few words in the subject. If there are multiple followups with the same subject, you’ve found the culprit. If this happens frequently, you may want to consider adding the “-c” option (ex: to auto-cancel other followups in the same thread.

Check the “from” email address of the reply
Make sure the “from” message exactly matches one of the emails in the “to” field of your original message (not “cc’ or “bcc”). This was a deliberate design choice on our end to prevent canceling followups as a result of private, internal conversations that happen to be on the same thread. For example, if a personal assistant bcc’ed. Also, in the rare event that a recipient replies using a different email address that the one in the “to” field, this also will not cancel the followup.

Are all of your inboxes connected?
Note the “from” address on your outgoing followups. Is response detection working when you send from one address but not another? You may need to head over to your inbox connections page to connect an additional inbox or link your accounts.

How quickly are replies being detected?
Going to your response detection skill settings (version 3) look for the “Last updated” date and compare it to to the last email in that inbox. Generally responses are detected within a few seconds.

There are edge cases
There are thousands of variations of email content, addresses and providers and not all systems work the same way. It is possible that our response detection may miss a reply in some circumstances.

Note: This is especially important when using the ‘cc’ field (where your sender gets the followup, too).

Here are some things to look out for if response detection missed a reply.

Emails That Hide The Fact They Are Replies
For example, you send an email that goes into a help desk system (ex: The response may or may not reference itself as a response to the earlier message. The response may even come from a separate email or the subject may have even changed.

Another example is when your recipient has set up elaborate email forwarding between their accounts. Ie, you send an email to someone who has their mail forwarded to another email account (which they then reply from), and the fact that it is a “response” may have been stripped in the forwarding process.

Close Calls
Sometimes a response is received just before the followup should be sent – too close for our system to cancel the followup before it became due.

Your Email Provider Might Be Throttling Responses
Sometimes, your email service provider will throttle the number of connections. It may also require re-authorizing an external system. If you suspect a connection problem with your email service provider, head over to your inbox connections page and look for the status indicator by your email address. Reauthorize your account as needed. You can also contact support.

How Response Detection Works

All emails have a unique id stored in a header called “Message-ID” (This is visible if you “View Original” or “View Headers” in your email program). When someone replies to an email the Message-ID of the one they are replying is in a different header called “In-Reply-To”. This is how we detect that an email received a response. Here are more details with an example:

  1. You send an email to someone and, bcc
  2. FollowUpThen receives the email, notes the Message-ID, sets up a “listener” in your inbox(es)
  3. If an email arrives with that same Message-ID in the In-Reply-To field, we know it was a response

Now you know how it works behind the scenes, you may be able to troubleshoot you can see where responses might slip through the cracks. For example, a ticket system may not put the original message-id back in the “in-reply-to” field in the reply. Or, someone may copy and paste a reply in a new email with the same subject. If that message-id is lost, we cannot detect it as a response.

Contact Us If Needed
If you’re stumped, contact us! We want to make sure you get the most out of your FollowUpThen upgrade.

[private role="editor"] You can view events relating to response detection in the admin
panel under this user's account. [/private]

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