Standard Responses? More like Stellar Responses!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Blogger Universe. Don Hoyt again. One of the things I’d like to talk about on this Blog are the features in MailFlow that the MailFlow community of users know, love, and of course, take for granted, but that non-MailFlow users are missing out on. Today, I’d like to talk about standard responses.

Pre MailFlow, I was an ambitious young man who was genius enough (or so I thought) to copy my most often used emails into a Word doc. Every morning I’d open it up and throughout the day copy and paste messages into Outlook. A few problems with this strategy: one is that I can’t share all of my poetic prose with colleagues, and going from Outlook to Word, then scanning through my library of responses, copying the exact, applicable text and pasting it into the appropriate spot in Outlook was cumbersome to say the least.

While MailFlow customers around the globe have different environments and utilize different features, the feature that customers utilize as much as any other, and appreciate immediately when they start using MailFlow, is standard responses. The amount of time that this feature saves is astronomical and the level of uniform quality assurance, especially for users coming from no collaborative message sharing to MailFlow, is a giant leap. Some of the things I love about our implementation:

1. My colleagues make me look good. Because this is a global SR library, I can use the SR’s created by colleagues that are more proficient in some areas than myself, and get the correct message across to the customer. This is a great way to share knowledge between your staff.
2. MailFlow Knows Me So Well. MailFlow automatically keeps track of which standard responses I use most often and gives me a quick menu to choose from. Turns out our customers have a lot of the same questions on their minds, and instead of clicking through the library of responses, I’m just one click away from SR’s I use on a daily basis. It’s a little thing, but it saves a whole lot of time.
3. Sky’s the Limit. There’s no limit to the amount of Categories of SR’s or SR’s in each category. You can make your categories and responses as broad or as granular as you like.
4. Just the Right Amount of Automation. Depending on the amount of email your organization receives, amount of staff devoted to email, and the importance/value of a lead in your organization, it’s tempting to want to have your email system analyze inbound messages and automatically send a response that (hopefully… fingers crossed) adequately answers customer questions. Looking at systems that provide this functionality, one thing is clear, there is no way to guarantee an accurate, automated response to inbound inquiries. And while some organizations might be comfortable with an “X” % accuracy rate, the result of an errant response to a customer that took the time to write your organization is lost business opportunities, and this truly goes against the way MailFlow is designed. So (stepping off my customer service soapbox), MailFlow instead allows you to enter “keywords” that apply to each SR you create, then it indexes each inbound message and presents Agents with a percentage likelihood that a SR would apply. This “suggestion” implementation is the best way we’ve found to introduce a level of automation into SR’s, but we still find that some level of manual selection or sanity checking is best.