Collaboration is a Beautiful Thing

Thursday, November 20, 2008

One of the 1001 things I love about MailFlow is how it’s so conducive to collaboration. The product is inherently built for sharing, being installed on a single server where any number of Agents and Admins can login and access the same email, reports, configs, etc, as opposed to isolated email clients on their own workstations.

As a regular ol Joe Six Pack (I refuse to let this saying go) working in MailFlow there are several features I use every day for collaboration. The first is ticket boxes. Ticket boxes are shared inboxes that allow multiple Agents to concurrently respond to the same stream of messages, without duplicating efforts. Should an Agent get all Mavericky (OK, I’ll stop : ) and try to respond to a message an Agent is already replying to, they will receive an error message. Ticket boxes are built for teamwork, allowing a group of Agents to work through an inbox and answer messages as quickly as possible. Not only are Agents working together to get the job done, but there also tends to be (there certainly is internally at Deerfield) a friendly sense of competition to see who can answer messages quickly and contribute most. This shared responsibility for clearing out an inbox, in our experience, produces better customer service and response times than the outdated one-man distribution method still used by many organizations, where one poor sap reads and forwards each message to specific individuals.

Notes in MailFlow are another feature that allow users to share critical information internally. Notes can be created at the Ticket or Contact level. A practical application of this feature I run into on a daily basis is, a message comes into our Sales ticket box with a smattering of sales questions and a sprinkle of high level technical questions. Being in the sales department, I answer the sales questions (most professionally I must say : ) and write in the message that a Technician will be following up with him/her momentarily with answers to their technical questions. I send the reply, but leave the ticket open, add a Note to the ticket indicating the sales questions have been answered, ask the Tech to answer the more technical questions, and include any other relevant details, such as the customer’s ID number, order number, etc, then I change ownership of the ticket to the Support ticketbox, and wallah! The Tech has all of the info he/she needs to answer the customer’s questions, the customer receives knowledgeable responses to all of their questions, and everyone lives happily ever after.

Speaking of Notes, a new feature was recently added to MailFlow called Phone Notes. This feature allows Agents to indicate that a note is in reference to a phone call and leave notes on the conversation for all in MailFlow to see. A Phone Note window can automagically be triggered within MailFlow simply by selecting a Contact and clicking the Call button (this feature assumes integration with 3CX IP PBX). Once a Phone Note is created it is tied to the contact, and Agents are able to view all of the contact’s phone and email history at a glance.