Together with telephone, e-mail is the communication form that is used most in business communication today. Unlike telephone, though, e-mail correspondence can be centralized and archived. Many companies use generic email addresses for different purposes, such as email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. When such e-mails come in, they are often forward to the e-mail clients (Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail or similar) of specific people that are then tasked to take care of them. So far, so good; but when it comes to processing those e-mails there are several problems that need to be addressed.
Let’s say a client sends an inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org. Sales reps John, Sally, Ingrid and Jack all get the message forwarded to their personal e-mail accounts in their Outlook. To illustrate what happens then we will look into several typical scenarios now:
Scenario 1: John is the first one to see this e-mail. He takes it over and answers to the client as email@example.com. He sends additional questions to the client to get more info about the request so he can prepare to close this deal.
A bit later Ingrid notices this same e-mail, but since she has a better understanding of the product in question she quicly prepares an offering and sends it out to the prospective customer according to her interest in closing the deal.
Sally and Jack have no idea what the other two sales reps already did, so they both send a forward-e-mail to the entire team to find out if anyone is already processing this request. So everybody writes a quick answer which consequently alerts John and Ingrid that they were both trying to close the deal in a different way.
And the client got two different e-mails from the same company, answering the same inquiry in two different ways. Clearly he is confused now. He might also doubt the professionality of the company he just addresses. There is a good chance now that he will reconsider and address another vendor.
So although basically the entire sales team was somehow involved in this single request, chances to close a deal are low.
Scenario 2: Again, John is the first to notice this e-mail. He takes it over and answers to the client as firstname.lastname@example.org but includes email@example.com in the CC. He exchanges two messages with the client and every time their messages go to him and the entire mail group, so Sally, Ingrid and Jack need to keep track. But as they see that John is handling this, they soon just delete the messages as they do not wish to spend any more of their time on this.
Then John informs the client that his colleague Jack will take over to provide better help and to send additional data, expecting Jack to follow the correspondence on firstname.lastname@example.org and, consequently, to take over the dialogue with the customer. But Jack doesn’t see this because he just deletes all mails with the customers name in the header.
So what happened here? One customer request generated a huge overhead, with literally dozens of e-mails written, forwarded, received, answered or deleted, most of them with basically zero relevance for most of the acting people. And on top of that waste of labour, in the end the customer will be lost due to Jacks failure to take over when asked to.
And again, although basically the entire sales team was somehow involved in this single request, chances to close a deal are really low.
The solution: Platformax Zero Inbox
To prevent the described scenarios, to raise productivity and to ensure 100% tracking and a consistent customer experience, Platformax supports inboxes with the “zero inbox” concept for generic e-mail addresses instead of mail groups. Rather than forwarding e-mails between team members in Platformax Zero Inbox appropriate actions are defined for each incoming message. That works like this:
All incoming messages on a given generic e-mail address are checked periodically by a dedicated team member who decides whether they will be unprocessed or processed. If he decides to “process” an e-mail, he has to assign the e-mail to one of three labels:
- Ignored – for spam, commercial messages and messages that no one cares about.
- Create opportunity – in case of a relevant inquiry or a possible business opportunity which then is forwarded it to the appropriate sales rep’s sales pipeline to be further processed.
- Create new ticket or add to existing ticket – in case of a support request or matter that requires team collaboration and further processing, the e-mail message will be transformed into a ticket and delegated to a specific team member to follow up with the issue and the client in order to solve his issue.
Advantages of the Platformax Zero Inbox
Many people mistake their e-mail inbox with a sort of a ToDo-list, resulting in decreasing productivity and, in cases where e-mail groups are in use, in increased overheads due to the involvement of team members that do not really need to be involved in the first place.
Using Platformax Zero Inbox ensures that any given e-mail is processed in an appropriate way, that no e-mail gets lost and that no requests will ever go unprocessed. Possible actions to take on each message are common to all team – ignore, create opportunity or create new/add to existing ticket. As soon as anyone chose any of those actions, completion is guaranteed, and further overhead prevented. Zero Inbox let’s your team get focussed on things that need to be done rather than checking their inboxes all the time!
And, apart from unlocking team productivity, Zero Inbox also ensures maximum customer satisfaction, minimizes the chance of loosing business due to poor performance, and finally gives you a powerful tool and competitive edge to prevail in today’s highly competitive market place.