Email Management – Opportunities and Challenges

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Organizations are losing business because of poor email management and business practices. Email Management software provides the necessary tools to create a substantial differentiator between competitors and results in immediate ROI. 

Recent studies indicate that when customers or potential customers contact an online organization, 80% prefer communicating by email over phone and over 50% will not do business with a company if they do not receive an adequate response to their email within 24 hours. The average response time to a customer email inquiry is 72 hours. 

Most Online organizations communicate regularly with customers and clients by email, but few provide a level of email customer service that satisfies their clientele. While email service standards are low, the benefits of communicating via email are palpable:

Cost - an email conversation generally costs 75% less than a phone conversation. 

Time - the time it takes to respond to an email is significantly less than a phone call. Email also allows both the customer and your company representative to multitask, responding to email messages while attending to other matters. 

History - email allows for the easy tracking and retrieval of email conversations, which ensures accountability and allows for organizational benefits derived from the sharing of customer history and knowledge. 

Effectively managing email is critical to an organization's ongoing ability to service customers. The customer of today is increasingly familiar with your competitors, and is no longer willing to wait for a business to get back to them. From the moment an email inquiry reaches a company, the clock is ticking. The company must have the capacity to: 
  • Answer customer inquiries quickly and efficiently, despite potentially high volumes of email
  • Answer customer inquiries accurately, with information relevant to the customer’s needs
  • Build and sustain lasting relationships with your customers
As you research means of managing the opportunities and problems of email communications, you will also find that the successful formula differs considerably from a traditional call-center service. There are new concepts and models which, when used properly, can greatly enhance your online customer service capability. 

The Problem with Client-based Email 
Traditional email, though widespread in use, fails to provide a framework for efficient and successful customer interaction. In the traditional model, each company representative runs email client software on their workstation for the purpose of interacting directly with customers. In such an environment, email communications are dispersed and isolated, and opportunities to manage, facilitate, and standardize customer interactions are practically non-existent. 

Drawbacks include: 
  • Very difficult to monitor employee productivity
  • No ability to intelligently or efficiently distribute employee workload
  • No centralized store of communications history with customers
  • Limited system administration potential (backups, archiving, etc.)
  • Limited ability to increase productivity and training potential via collaboration
  • No ability to access email systems from remote locations via the web
  • No centralized store of customer contacts
  • No ability to report on mail loads in order to refine business processes & operations
Email Management Benefits
Email management software, especially browser-based solutions that focus on human-to-human interaction as opposed to automated systems, can provide a litany of tools and features designed to allow managers to intelligently and proactively direct the flow of email through their organization. 

Email Routing - Email management software can effectively route email correspondence sent to an organization into individual queues. This allows groups of individuals to process messages sent to sales@, info@, support@, and other email inboxes, or the results of web form submissions. Specialized routing rules can be applied to inbound email messages, allowing for intelligent direction and pre-processing of email. 

Centralized Knowledge Base - Email management tools can be used to build up a centralized repository of effective answers to common email inquiries. These can then be re-used by employees, providing productivity gains and quality control, as well as facilitating training efforts. 

Incident Tracking - All email messages (inbound and outbound) relating to a specific incident are tracked automatically and viewed as a single unit of correspondence. This greatly facilitates customer interaction and personalization potential. It also ensures that email messages are never lost, overlooked, or forgotten. 

Communications History - Employees working with email management software have the ability to view the entire history of communications with any customer. This ensures that conversations with customers are always "in context"; the customer won't need to start from scratch each time they contact your organization. 

Notifications – Email management software can alert employees and supervisors if email volume becomes unmanageable, a customer replies to one of you’re your messages, a co-worker assigns you a email, or if email response times fail to meet company guidelines. 

Email Policy and Standards - Enforce your organization's business rules with email processing features that allow for the application of headers and footers to outbound emails. These can be used to add notices and disclaimers to emails, decreasing liability and increasing standards conformity. 

Reporting and Analysis - Email management reporting systems can provide important insights into an organization's communications trends and efficiency. Reports can be used to identify problems early on, before they affect customers. 

Browser-based Access - Some email management solutions are accessed by nothing more than a standard web browser, allowing employees to provide superior email customer service from any location that has an Internet connection. 

Email management systems can provide an open, shared, and collaborative environment that obviates the need for "big brother" style email monitoring solutions. By providing access to the communications history of employees (based upon security rights), these systems allow management to increase accountability and head off problems early. 

  • Most organizations are losing business because their email customer service does not meet their customers' standards. 
  • Isolated email clients, such as Microsoft Outlook, do not provide the necessary functionality to disperse, manage and oversee organizational email. 
  • While customer email service expectations are low, there is a definite opportunity to exceed customers' expectations and create a significant differentiator between yourself and competitors.
  • Akin to the progression from individual phone lines to a phone distribution tree, Email Management Software automatically routes email to appropriate groups and individuals and ensures quality, timely responses, resulting in vastly improved customer satisfaction and immediate, recognizable ROI.

Learn More about VisNetic MailFlow, email management customer service software at: 

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

In warm appreciation of your business during the past year, all of us on the 
VisNetic MailFlow 5 Team 
wish you a joyous Holiday Season and a successful New Year.

Check | Check | Check

Friday, November 16, 2012

Check Check Check

Working our way towards the release of VisNetic MailFlow 5.

Feature Complete
Admin & Agent Guide Edits
Installer and Database Updater Tweaks
What's New in MailFlow 5 Draft
Coming Soon

VisNetic MailFlow 5

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

VisNetic MailFlow 5.0 Coming Soon!

We are putting the finishing touches on our most exciting MailFlow release to date!

A few hints:

VisNetic MailFlow is screaming fast with Chrome!

The only upside when watching my Detroit Tigers lose to the Giants in the World Series was I was able to sit on the couch and reply to MailFlow tickets on my iPad while our pitchers were getting shelled in game one.

Lots of cool stuff coming like Auto Ticket Actions, Standard Response enhancements, and Remote Reply options.

Did I mention MailFlow is screaming fast with Chrome?

Check here for updates and follow us on Twitter.

Email Security - In The Cloud

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It's not uncommon for VisNetic MailFlow customers to contact us seeking ways to help control the amount of unsolicited emails, aka SPAM, from making their way into their MailFlow.  VisNetic MailFlow itself does not provide direct spam-fighting features however there are many viable, cost-effective solutions that can help, including the cloud-based service MXPurify.

MXPurify is a new generation of cloud-based email security. It’s easier, faster, more accurate, and more flexible. And with 100% Uptime Network, there's no safer solution.

By moving your email security to the cloud, you spare your organization the bandwidth, processor, and storage costs that must otherwise be dedicated to removing the email you don’t want in the first place. Moreover, you remove the administrative burden required to install and maintain a diverse set of in-house email security products.

So how does MXPurify work in a VisNetic MailFlow environment?

Once subscribed to the MXPurify service all email destined for your domain will be scoured by the MXPurify servers, providing protection from Spam, Viruses, and imposter Phishing messages.  MXPurify deletes the junk, quarantines the questionable, and then releases the good stuff to your mail server.  VisNetic MailFlow then collects the clean email from your mail server.

Even with these benefits, many firms are hesitant to give up control of their messaging security infrastructure to a cloud provider. Have a closer look at MXPurify, sign-up for a 30-day free trial and decide for yourself.

Learn more about MXPurify

Sign Up for a Free Trial

Questions? Drop us an email at or call 989.732.8856

BYOM - Bring Your Old Mail!

Friday, July 27, 2012

I was recently asked to provide a VisNetic MailFlow demonstration, highlighting the benefits it could bring a small online retailer.  The CSM of this retailer was practically "sold" on MailFlow before the GoToMeeting even started. It turns out a friend of his had already recommended MailFlow. 

The manager had several notable requirements;
1. He wanted to efficiently route email to the correct individual or group, and not waste time forwarding emails.
2. A means to confirm every email was getting answered, and when necessary a means to spot-check the correspondence.
3. Teams members needed to be able to collaborate on responses.
4. Quicker response times.
5. Easy to learn interface.

MailFlow was hitting the mark with flying colors until we reached the 6th and final requirement.

6. Must be able to import their existing email into MailFlow.

Problem is MailFlow does not have an email import utility. 

Most MailFlow administrators set a "go-live" date with the understanding from x date forward all correspondence will be retained in MailFlow, anything prior would remain in their old email client.

Bottom Line - if we could find a way to get their old .pst mail into MailFlow we could add their name to the list of MailFlow customers.

We knew we could define a process for getting their mail in, the challenge would be to retain the original received date and sender, as well as attachments.  

We did it - Here's How:

1. We had the Mail Server Admin create a new account called "Import".
2. The VisNetic MailFlow Admin created a new Message Source to collect email from the account.
3. MailFlow then had to be configured to utilize the first inbound message date.  (This is under Administration/General Configuration/Settings/Ticket Settings tab, Ticket List Date.)  

Now we're ready to go to user #1 and setup their email client so MailFlow can collect their mail.

Let's assume the user's email client is "account 1". 

4. The user configures a second account in their email client, this will be the new account.  
5. The user then performs a simple drag & drop of the email from "account 1" into the "import" Inbox of their email client.

The MailFlow Message Source will collect the mail from the import account.  The original sender will be listed as the Contact and the original date the email was received will be retained.

6. The corresponding Agent in MailFlow should then take ownership of all their imported email, set TicketCategories if needed, then Close the Tickets.
7. Delete the import account from the user #1 email client.

Repeat Steps 4-7 for each user's email you wish to import to VisNetic MailFlow.

There you have it - My recomendation would be to test this process on a small scale prior to importing everything you have.

While admittedly not the most elegent of processes, it satisfied the needs of the customer!

Questions? Drop us an email at, or if you would like a quick demonstration of the process.

Uh-oh! Customer service via email is slacking

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Customers often don’t get the answers they’d like from contact centers – and one form of communication is missing the mark half the time. 

On average, retailers answer customer emails completely just 54% of the time, a new study by STELLAService found.

That leaves customers either disappointed and either turning to the phones to get the answers they need or turning away from the company altogether.

Recently STELLAService analysts sent an email a day to 25 premier retailers with simple questions like “I live in an apartment and I always miss my delivery guys when they come. How many times will they attempt? And, “How long do I have to go pick it up at the shipping facility before they send it back?The analysts were looking for complete responses.

If you’re wondering what the difference is between a complete response and an incomplete response, here’s a simple example: You want to know if a retailer has the shoes you see online available in the color red and size six. Your email asks both questions clearly, but the retailer only replies “Yes, they’re available in red,” leaving you wondering whether you’ll fit in the shoes at all. A complete response would also give you the information about sizing that you had asked for.

Fortunately, there are retailers that take the time to address all inquiries in full.

Of the companies included in the study, the bottom performers in answering the message completely sent automatically generated responses that provided a link to their home page. They then suggested looking for the answer in the help index. In all, they provided complete responses less than 20 percent of the time.

“It’s extraordinarily rare that an automated response will solve a customer’s question,” STELLAService Chief Executive Jordy Leiser said. “While it’s a potential cost-saver for retailers, a less than adequate reply puts at risk the lifetime value of a customer.”

Here at Deerfield Communications, developers of VisNetic MailFlow, we could not agree more. Even though it is an oft requested feature (intelligent auto replies) we have steered clear for precisely the same reason - a response based upon what the software "thinks" you're asking versus what a live human believes you are asking, if often night and day.  Instead, we offer customer service agents a customizable Standard Response Library, allowing the agent to choose from a host of appropriate, company prepared replies.  

Customers love the ease and practicality of email, but it is clear from our research that retailers are not being diligent about quality replies,” Leiser said. “In order to meet the needs and expectations of their customers, it’s time for retailers to deliver the same level of quality and speed when communicating with customers via email as they do on the phone.

A few keys to boosting response to email (and potentially curbing some phone demand) from STELLAService:

 » Use templates - If the answers are right, customers won’t mind if they’re not all that personal.

VisNetic MailFlow utilizes templates, known as Standard Responses, allowing Agents to maintain a consistent message across the entire company. Helping Agents to reply quickly with accurately while providing message personalization. 
 » Send an auto-response to all incoming messages, letting customers know when you’ll respond so the wait won’t seem so long.

VisNetic MailFlow can send the appropriate auto reply based upon defined criteria.

 » Link them - If the issue is complicated, and needs more attention, give customers a brief response with a link to get them started and let them know how you are proceeding to get the full answer.

VisNetic MaiFlow provides functionality above and beyond this core requirement.  Reply, leaving the message open, add private notes to alert co-workers you are gathering additional information for the customer, etc. Replicate the message asking the Shipping Department to address the customer's shipping question, while replying to the size and availability question. All the while providing improved email customer service by immediately acknowledging receipt of their email, followed by a personal response answering their questions, and rather than delaying the reply, indication the Shipping Dept will be contacing them directly, etc. 

VisNetic MailFlow will revolutionize the way your organization uses email to provide service and support to your customers. 

MailFlow is Easy to Try & Easy to Buy.  Learn more, Contact us today. 

MailFlow Test Drive

Monday, July 2, 2012

Customer Service Managers - Are you looking for a logical organization of email so the right individuals or groups are receiving the correct messages? Would you like to have a tool that guarantees an increase in productivity while ensuring a prompt response to every email?

Perhaps a solution to collaborate on customer email while reviewing a history of correspondence?  Are you looking for a secure, easy-to-learn solution with notifications, reporting, and more?  Look no further, you've found it, VisNetic MailFlow!

Take VisNetic MailFlow for a Test Drive.

Managers have told us it's often time consuming or difficult trying to get the IT Department to install evaluation software onto one of "their" servers.  We've eliminated the hassle by making an evaluation of MailFlow available on our server!

Evaluate VisNetic MailFlow for FREE on your server or ours for 30 days.

You can Download VisNetic MailFlow from HERE  

Test Drive VisNetic MailFlow on our servers - drop us an email at: demo at

A Little Catching Up...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A little catching up.  Over the past few months we have released several minor versions of VisNetic MailFlow that I have failed to blog about.  
Here is a recap of What's New.

HTML Signatures - HTML formatting options include bold, italicize, underline, hyperlinks, images, font color and more.  This addition reinforces the organization’s branding through email correspondence.

Message Composition Email Address Autofill - When composing a message, the autofill feature allows the Agent to see matching contacts as they type and quickly make a contact selection. This time-saving feature pulls from the Agent’s My Contacts.

SSL/TLS support for Message Sources and Message Destinations - Securely pass emails between MailFlow and your mail server.  Improved Gmail for Business support.  

AND/OR Logic to Ticket Subject Search - Improved search results.

Improved Message View:
  • Added option to not include copy of auto reply in Ticket to Custom Routing Rules, TicketBoxes, or AutoResponses
  • Added option to not include copy of forwarded message in Ticket to Custom Routing Rules

VisNetic MailFlow is available from our Download page.

Read the Release Notes.

If you have questions or would like a personal demonstration of these new features, send us an email at sales at

Google Gmail for Business

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Organizations running Google's Gmail for Business are able to use VisNetic MailFlow to distribute, route, track, and report on their customer service emails.  VisNetic MailFlow allows organizations to continue using Google's corporate hosted email service while leveraging MailFlow to dramatically reduce their email response times for customer inquiries.

Google Apps (including Gmail for Business) have helped more than three million businesses of all sizes, in various industries around the world, save time and money, while improving how they work together securely. 

VisNetic MailFlow's ability to service companies using Google’s Gmail for Business Mail Servers demonstrates the flexibility of the product and works with all existing corporate mail servers including Exchange, Kerio, IceWarp, MDaemon and others. The integration with Gmail for Business is very secure and utilizes standard SSL enforcement for secure access.

Okay - so how do I configure VisNetic MailFlow to collect email from Google's mail servers?

Step 1. Log into your Gmail account, select Settings, then Forwarding and POP/IMAP.  Enable POP.  Save your changes.
Step 2. Log into MailFlow as an Administrator, go to Administration / Message Handling / Message Destinations
Step 3. Create a new Message Destination.
a. Server Address: 
b. Description: This can be anything descriptive
c. Port 465
d. Use SSL/TLS: Select this option
e. Use SMTP Auth: Select this option
f. User Name: Enter your full email address
g. Password: Enter your email address password
h. Save
i. Select the Test Login button to confirm the details are authenticating correctly against Gmail's servers.

Step 4. Create a new Message Source. 
a. Server Address: 
b. Description: This can be anything descriptive
c. Port 995
d. Use SSL/TLS: Select this option
e. User Name: Enter your full email address
f. Password: Enter your email address password
g. Message Destination: Select the Destination created in Step 3
h. Save

Select the Test Login button to confirm the details are authenticating correctly against Gmail's servers.


Have questions or would like to learn more about VisNetic MailFlow? Contact us today.

Why Email Management?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Does or redirect to you?  These customer emails shouldn’t be owned by just you...

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

  • You and a co-worker take care of all emails coming into a single Inbox and recently realized the both of you have been answering the same emails. After comparing notes you discover many customers were given different answers. Not only unprofessional but an inefficient use of resources.
  • All of your email dumps into a single Inbox; you spend valuable time all day, every day, forwarding messages to co-workers to answer.
  • Important sales email goes unnoticed for days because your partner forgot to check his email while out of town.
  • Your co-worker is out sick.  You need an important email exchange that is only on her computer.  The client can’t wait while you try to track down the password; instead they go to a competitor.

If this is you – you need VisNetic MailFlow!

VisNetic MailFlow is focused solely on the management of customer email. The framework is intuitive in design, so as to humanize the relationship between the customer care agent and the customer. This one-to-one relationship emulates the interactive nature of chat and voice within an email message conversation.

Similar to a phone systems routing of phone calls, VisNetic MailFlow automatically routes customer email messages to the appropriate customer care agent.

Never again will you shuffle email from one Inbox box to another, miss an important message, or suffer from the “I got it, you take it” type of mistake.  

We invite you to experience VisNetic MailFlow.  Schedule a personal demonstration. 

A "Crash Course" on Customer Service

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The 10 most important words:
"I apologize for our mistake. Let me make it right."

The 9 most important words:
"Thank you for your business. Please come back again."

The 8 most important words:
"I'm not sure, but I will find out."

The 7 most important words:
"What else can I do for you?"

The 6 most important words:
"What is most convenient for you?"

The 5 most important words:
"How may I serve you?"

The 4 most important words:
"How did we do?"

The 3 most important words:
"Glad you're here!"

The 2 most important words:
"Thank you."

The MOST important word:

Remember: You'll never be able to satisfy EVERY need and request. But if customers perceive that an honest effort is being made on their behalf, you'll please most of the people most of the time.

VisNetic MailFlow provides a strong foundation for managing organizational email correspondence, improving service potential where it matters most -- at the point of customer contact.  The system provides:

- Powerful email routing and workflow processing
- Centralized library of standard responses
- Automatic generation and tracking of service incidents
- Comprehensive reporting and analysis
- Access to customer communications history
- An intuitive, familiar web-based interface
- Security provisions
- Integrated logging, alerting, and reporting

Register for a no-obligation online VisNetic MailFlow demonstration. Register

Contact us to learn more.

MailFlow Keyboard Shortcuts

Thursday, May 24, 2012

VisNetic MailFlow supports the use of Keyboard Shortcuts within designated Ticket and Message lists and within message edit dialogs.

 Keyboard shortcuts are combinations of two or more keys that, when pressed, can be used to perform a task that would typically require a mouse.  Keyboard shortcuts can make it easier to interact with your computer, saving you time and effort as you work with VisNetic MailFlow.

Ticket List Shortcuts
The following shortcut keys can be utilized in Ticket List dialogs such as My Tickets, TicketBoxes and Ticket Search results.

Key Combination       Action
Alt + C                       Open Contact Dialog
Alt + G                       Get Oldest Ticket
Alt + N                       Open Notes Dialog
Alt + O                       Take Ownership of Ticket
Alt + P                        Show Ticket Properties
Alt + R                        Reassign Ticket
Alt + F1                       Display Help
Alt + F5                       Refresh Page
Ctrl + A                       Select All
Ctrl + M                       New Message for selected Ticket
Ctrl + T                        New Ticket with Message
Ctrl + N                        New Ticket with Note
Ctrl + R                        Restote Ticket (Search results only)
Ctrl + D                        Delete selected Ticket(s)
Spacebar                     Toggle Ticket Open/Close
Home                           Move to Top of List
End                              Move to End of List
Right Arrow                 Open Ticket
Left Arrow                   Close Ticket
Down Arrow                Move down List
Up Arrow                     Move up List

The following shortcut keys can be utilized when a Ticket is toggled open and a single message is selected.

Key Combination           Action
Alt + C                           Open Contact Dialog
Ctrl + P                           Print Message
Ctrl + L                           Reply to All
Ctrl + F                           Forward Message
Ctrl + O                           Open Message in new Window
Ctrl + R                           Reply to Message
Ctrl + D                           Delete Message
Ctrl + Q                           Mark Message as Read
Ctrl + U                           Mark Message as Unread
Ctrl + V                           Move Message
Enter                               Open Message in new Window
Home                              Move to Top of List
End                                 Move to End of List
Down Arrow                   Move down List
Up Arrow                        Move up List

Message List Shortcuts
The following shortcut keys can be utilized in message list dialogs such as Sent Items, Drafts and Outbox.

Key Combination            Action
Alt + C                            Open Contact Dialog
Alt + R                            Revoke Message (Outbox only)
Ctrl + T                           New Ticket with Message
Ctrl + N                           New Ticket with Note
Ctrl + P                           Print Message
Ctrl + R                          Reply to Message
Ctrl + L                           Reply to All
Ctrl + F                           Forward Message
Ctrl + D                           Delete Message (Drafts only)

Message Composition Shortcuts
The following keyboard shortcut keys can be utilized in message composition dialogs such as New Message, Reply, Forward, etc.

Key Combination              Action
Esc                                   Close Window
Alt + A                             Select Attachment Tab
Alt + C                             Open Contact Dialog
Alt + P                              Select Compose Tab
Ctrl + P                             Print Message
Ctrl + Q                            Close Window
Ctrl + S                             Save Message as Draft
F7                                     Spellcheck Message

Note: All key combinations are case insensitive.