Illustration by Ariel Sun

How Email Management Software Improves Customer Support

Although email connects us to the world, it’s also a source of daily angst. Email management only gets more complicated when your job is to help people every day. For customer support professionals, email management software is no longer optional — it’s essential for an efficient workflow.

As simple and affordable as they are, email distribution lists and shared Gmail and Outlook mailboxes can lead to overlooked customers, dropped work and duplicated efforts. Chaos can descend on the daily queue, making it harder for customer support professionals to do their jobs well.

Here’s our guide to improving your day-to-day by shifting to the best email management software.

Finding email management software that improves your queue

The North Star for any support team is an exceptional customer experience. To consistently “wow” customers, you need to support the people who make that happen every day. The more you can do to empower team members to enjoy their jobs, the better.

Any new software should make people’s jobs easier, so team members can focus on going above and beyond for customers.

Assess your team’s workflow for big pain points

What doesn’t work about your team’s queue right now? Are you using multiple email accounts or a shared mailbox? To select the best software for your team’s needs, you have to dive into the workflow.

Across the board, most teams experience some common difficulties with a shared mailbox. The lack of accountability means individuals often drop the ball or collide with other employees, sending multiple responses at the same time. Miscommunication runs rampant because no one has access to the context of each inquiry.

To get to the heart of the problem, list step-by-step the ways your team tackles each request in your shared mailbox. Next, talk to team members about their biggest frustrations on the job and review customer feedback for patterns. These day-to-day processes, employee frustrations, and customer woes all point to the benefits and the drawbacks of your current workflow.

When you’re sifting through these nitty-gritty challenges, match those common workflow obstacles with internal results and their corresponding outcomes for customers. By connecting the three issues, you gain a pretty clear picture of what needs to change. Here’s an example:

Workflow challenge Internal result Customer experience
No clear assignments or accountability Dropped emails Never hears back from us
Siloed work Colliding emails, inefficient work and limited collaboration Perceives us as unprofessional, receives conflicting information and slow responses
No customer profiles No context for each ticket Needs to spend more time bringing us up to speed; feels frustrated, especially with complex issues
No place to keep feedback and notes Valuable information is lost Believes the business won’t improve based on feedback

Although these issues may seem limited in scope, they pave the way for an unhappy, inefficient team and a poor customer experience. If your company is growing, these pain points will only become more pervasive and persistent as you team scales up its efforts.

Select a tool designed for transparency and accountability

The right email management software will solve your team’s biggest problems and improve your customers’ experience. We’ve found that most support leaders can tackle their pain points by focusing on two priorities: transparency and accountability.

Angela Bradburn, Senior Communications Coordinator at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, explains why her team struggled without transparency and accountability: “There were a lot of situations when we felt like we couldn’t be completely organized or that we weren’t giving people the sense of, ‘okay, we care about your email.‘”

Switching to Help Scout gave Bradburn complete transparency and accountability into every request. This small shift transformed their entire workflow, and customers could tell the difference.

With more accountability, teams can collaborate with the awareness that’s nothing slipping through the cracks — and even gain insights into their own performance. With transparency, team members understand and record the context for every conversation, which makes teams more likely to save time by getting it right the first time.

Committing to a new process that empowers customer support all-stars

Once you’ve selected new email management software, focus on making it work for your team. Just the way you need to onboard new employees, you need to invest in integrating a new email management process into your support team’s day-to-day tasks.

This collaborative process begins with asking customer support professionals to participate in the transition. Be transparent about each step, from investigating new options through demos and, eventually, committing to a software. By nurturing team buy-in from the beginning, you’re incorporating the perspectives of people who will use the help desk daily.

Next, set aside multiple training opportunities, and make sure everyone is involved — from leaders to the newest team member. Be thoughtful about timing, too. If your team gets slammed with support requests before, during and after the holidays, don’t make a change until after the busy season. On top of formal training, extra time to play with the tool and explore the new workflow sets the foundation for an organic transition.

Reaping the benefits of a new approach to email management

Once you’ve selected and integrated new email management software into your workflow, you’ll benefit from the momentum of a streamlined routine. Instead of getting caught up in the tiresome administrative work of managing a shared Gmail or Outlook mailbox or multiple email accounts, you can automate and allocate your queue effortlessly.

At Tattly, the shift to a group email management software meant that its customer support team had the bandwidth to treat customers like valued human beings and community members.

“When people interact with Tattly, I want them to feel like they just got a hug,” said Founder and CEO Tina Roth-Eisenberg. “My team is super bouncy, happy, and friendly, and I want that to come out in the emails we send out.”

By bringing transparency and accountability into the queue, email management software frees up team members to give out those kinds of virtual hugs. “My favorite thing about using Help Scout is, quite simply, the ease of being able to correspond and follow up with the customers,” says Tattly Customizer Yng-Ru Chen. With a system that strengthens the customer experience, everyone is happier.

There are many ways to improve customer support, and awesome group email management software can help you tackle a bunch of challenges at once.

At Help Scout, we believe in win-win solutions. If you’re considering a change to your customer support processes, check out our 15-day free trial.

Elizabeth Wellington
Elizabeth Wellington

Liz writes about business, creativity and making meaningful work. Say hello on Twitter or through her website.

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