The good and bad of email
Email has long been a core tool for business communications – both for internal communication, as well as client communication. It is cost-effective, easy to scale, and enables targeted communication.
While a company email account is a primary means of communication within an organization, its usage is essentially limited to only sending and receiving emails. This means that while information is being exchanged regularly, real communication could still be lacking. There is no scope to collaborate or find the status of an email or how it is being handled.
Leaving emails unanswered in your inbox or failing to respond in a timely manner may sound like minor infractions, but can quickly lead to damaged relationships and diminished productivity across the organization.
Email was originally designed to facilitate one-to-one communication, which it does effectively. But, it is not conducive to assigning a specific task to one or more team members and it does nothing to facilitate transparency or collaboration. This led organizations to using google groups and group email accounts.
But, are group emails delivering what they promise?
A group email account is essentially a mailbox that multiple users can access in order to read and send email messages. Using a shared email account provides a generic email address that customers and prospects can use to reach out to your company. It also enables multiple users from within your organization to read and respond to queries from customers and prospects.
While this may sound convenient on the surface, it is actually a sloppy approach because there is no clarity on who is handling what. Forwarding from the shared account to individual accounts only serves to clutter inboxes of everyone involved. This approach can also quickly lead to prospects or customers receiving responses from multiple users. This would obviously spell disaster in a variety of scenarios, but especially so with sales related queries. Also, there is no distinct separation of internal and external communication, which could result in emails inadvertently getting sent out to customers, instead of an internal team member.
While shared email accounts do offer a convenient and effective way of handling customer email queries, since the responsibility to respond is shared across all users within a specific department, there are still issues you may encounter:
- If there are multiple users accessing one shared account, there can be chances of it getting blocked
- This approach is not conducive to scalability
- Employees will have to keep switching between both their personal and shared email accounts
- Users are not aware of who needs to handle an incoming email. There isn’t a mechanism in place to assign or prioritize. Because of this lack of clarity on who is working on what, confusion will ensue. It may even lead to emails not getting responded to. Worse still, imagine a sales query that is responded to by two different salespersons!
- Assigning an email or task to someone would involve sending it to a user’s personal account. This just leads to more clutter and disorganization
- Since you are assigning the email to a specific person, staying updated on progress would require contacting that person separately. There is no information to be gleaned from the mailbox itself. Group email accounts do not facilitate efficient collaboration
- There is no way to know how well users are performing, in terms of addressing customer queries and resolving their issues, hence there is no scope for improvement, possibly leading to disgruntled prospects and customers
- If there are too many users logged in at the same time, it can lead to blocking of accounts in Gmail
While shared email accounts are definitely an upgrade from using disparate accounts that often lead to confusion and inefficiencies, unfortunately Gmail or group email accounts are not effective for many to many conversations.
Taking all of the above mentioned challenges into account, we specifically designed ClientFlow to enable effortless collaboration between teams. But we’ll get to that a little later. First, let’s dive into how a shared inbox can solve your email communication problems.
How a shared inbox addresses your communication challenges
A shared inbox offers you a single, streamlined platform to address all your collaboration needs. By using a shared inbox, you will be able to manage both internal and client communication efficiently.
- All your emails can be accessed from a single platform, which allows for greater visibility and accountability
- Once emails are assigned to the right person, internal comments can be added to gather feedback or decide on next steps. This eliminates complex email threads to everyone’s inbox and keeps required updates confined to only relevant team members
- Shared inbox eliminates the hassle of having to switch between your personal inbox and the shared inbox
- Email deluge will be a thing of the past. Using a shared inbox will ensure that your team will never miss an email again
- Drastically reduce email response times by equipping your team with the right context. Everyone knows exactly who is assigned to an email and any data required to address the email can be obtained by gathering feedback via internal only comments
- Increase your team’s efficiency by routing and escalating emails to the right people
- Monitor your team’s workflow with ease. You will no longer need to switch between multiple platforms in order to respond to customer queries or make updates – all of these workflows can be tracked on the shared inbox
- Internal and external communication can be handled completely separately, therefore eliminating any overlaps and chaos
- Obtain insights into how well your team is performing. Transparency is key to facilitating better performance. With a shared inbox, everyone on the team has visibility into the decision making process
- Leverage analytics to determine how you can optimize strategies to increase performance and efficiency – this may sometimes even mean expanding your current team.
Looking for the right shared inbox for your organization?
Thousands of businesses across the world are starting to consider a shared inbox to resolve pain points created from using group email accounts. With several options available in the market, it is important to carefully evaluate which features will offer greater benefits for your business. Switching your teams to a new system will have to be planned to minimize disruption and to ensure that you are able to generate expected results from your investment.
As you evaluate various tools to find the best fit for your organization, we’d like to take you through ClientFlow’s Shared Inbox and its valuable features.
A closer look at the features ClientFlow Shared Inbox offers:
ClientFlow facilitates seamless team collaboration, centralized client communication and is incredibly easy to use. Here is a breakdown of the features that help accomplish this:
- Assign emails: Assign emails to either yourself or a team member to ensure that workload is shared effectively and ownership is clearly assigned.
- Internal-only comments: Communicate and coordinate with other team members through internals notes that are only visible to your team. You don’t have to flood other members’ inboxes with repetitive follow up emails. Simply add comments and notes for them to see.
- Follow conversations: If you want to stay on top of what is happening with emails that you have assigned, you can turn on the follow functionality to ensure that you’re kept abreast of all the latest updates.
Send email to a group: Every department, sales, marketing, accounting, and so on, can have its own group email for close and personalized collaboration
- Custom emails: Use a custom email ID for your agency (@companyname.com), to which you can forward all client emails, so that you have all client conversations on a single platform
- Approvals: Unlike Gmail, with ClientFlow you can track status for client emails you have received, sent or assigned to a team member. You can see if they have been approved or if they are delayed and by how many days
- Integrates with social media channels: ClientFlow is literally a one-stop platform allowing you to access all your social inboxes such as Twitter, Facebook and others to keep track of all client communication
- Increase productivity: You can access both private and shared conversations, any time, anywhere, enabling every member in your team to collaborate and respond to emails in a timely manner.
- Incredibly easy to use: ClientFlow’s Shared Inbox has the same effortless ease of use that you are accustomed to with Gmail. This means, there won’t be a learning curve and you certainly will not require any training for onboarding
Client Communication and Project Management on one platform
A major advantage that ClientFlow offers over other shared inboxes is that it consolidates all conversations, projects and client information into one location. This facilitates synergy between client conversations and project management. It’s project management and client communication rolled into one easy to use tool, that requires zero training time to get started! No matter how many projects or customers you are handling, ClientFlow can help you grow.
If you are currently evaluating options for shared inboxes and are interested in learning further, we would love to walk you through ClientFlow’s Shared Inbox.