Problem with the Inbox

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

One of the problems with using the standard email Inbox is the difficulty of managing ongoing customer conversations.  This becomes even more problematic as a business grows.  With just a few quick clicks a customer service agent could accidentally delete an email; a customer receives multiple, conflicting responses; agents or customers are added or removed from email chains.

Duplicate Emails - If you have three or more customer service agents handling one shared inbox, duplicate, overlapping email responses are almost guaranteed.

Consider this scenario:
A customer emails your company with a technical problem they are having with your new product.  Agent #1 begins to compose a reply to the customer with instructions on how to correct the issue. Agent #2 is just returning from a break, sees the email from the customer, and also begins to compose a reply.  Perhaps Agent #3 accidentally deletes the email or inadvertently drags it into another folder in their email client.  This could be a common occurrence and an example of two or more agents working on one problem.

The underlying problem of this scenario is the lack of communication agents have with each other.  In order for a system like this to run smoothly, agents need to constantly update each other about the opening and closing of tickets.  This kind of communication can be time-consuming and decrease productivity. Not to mention the likelihood of the customer receiving conflicting information due to multiple agents replying to the same ticket.

Delayed Responses - Recent data suggest customers' expectations for a fast response to their email continue to rise, with an expected response time of 6 hours or less. 

Delayed response times can happen for a number of reasons:
1. Customer emails are not being routed or assigned to the correct agent or group best suited to respond. The result - an unclear understanding of who is going to respond to the customer.  A perfect "I got it, you take it" or "I thought you were answering that one" scenario.

2. Lack of access to a history of correspondence with the customer. Agent #1 may recall the history of the customer but what if Agent #1 is unavailable?  Agent #2 could respond, not having all the information relevant for an informed reply.  Or Agent #2 may delay the reply until Agent #1 returns.

3. Limited access to a knowledge base of replies.  A customizable Standard Response Library allows agents to reply using tested and proven responses, enhancing accuracy and productivity.

Lack of Accountability and Measurement - There's no easy way to track how quickly agents were to respond, or how efficient they were is resolving the issue.  Are we servicing our customers within minutes, hours, or days?

Manual, constant monitoring of correspondence, and responding within the expected period of time with knowledgeable, accurate answers, has become increasingly difficult for companies of all sizes.  Small companies with a limited customer base might be able to keep up for a while, but as staff grows and customer demands scale, a company must position themselves with the tools necessary to allow their reps to efficiently, and effectively service the customer.  A shared Inbox does not have the capacity to handle customer support for growing businesses.

VisNetic MailFlow is powerful, affordable email management and tracking software that automatically assigns email to the appropriate groups or individuals, allows for efficient email workload distribution, and includes a shared contact database with email history. It gives employees the tools necessary to answer emails quickly with knowledgeable, accurate responses, and it allows management to monitor email distribution, response times and employee performance.

Learn more about VisNetic MailFlow and Sign up for a Guided Tour.