Immediacy in Disguise

The almost inaudible “ping” of new mail may not convey the same urgency of a ringing phone, but impatient customers are still waiting on the other end for a response. For email support to be satisfactory, it not only has answer customer queries, but it must do it quickly. Lagging response times won’t cut it in the Internet world, where transactions and connections are performed in real time and customers seek promptness.

E-businesses that don’t have a dedicated 24/7 customer support staff often have difficulty managing the amount of email they receive. Inquiries have to be read, routed, researched, and answered, sometimes while employees perform other work-related duties. When email queries don’t receive an immediate action, they risk falling through the cracks, being forgotten, or sometimes getting accidentally deleted.

Better email management yields higher employee productivity and increased customer satisfaction. A simple “” is adequate when the company is first starting out, but the system should be expanded before the email becomes unwieldy. Here are some methods for keeping track of customer service email:

One of the most effective ways to manage email is through a system completely devoted to the task. These solutions can be quite costly, so measure your return on investment (ROI) before implementing. For instance, it doesn’t make sense to deploy a comprehensive enterprise-wide system if the enterprise comprises three part-time employees. A listing of email solution providers can be found in the ECommerce-Guide Product Finder. Find a scalable solution that can adapt to the changing needs of your e-company.

Web-based forms and problem-specific email addresses can be constructed to meet various customer service needs. Separate support contacts can be established for sales, technical, fulfillment, complaints, and so on. By categorizing the incoming mail, it can be quickly routed to the appropriate department where it can be answered expediently.

For small online ventures or e-companies that are just starting up, a highly configured Microsoft Outlook can help keep incoming email under control. The rules system can be customized to route email to separate folders, based on keywords in any of the email fields. Since Outlook is not a Web-based application, each desktop would have to be individually configured for consistency.

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