Is there any dread as great as the one ahead of opening your email inbox on a Monday morning? Even if you love your job, the deluge of emails that pile up over the weekend can be terrifying. Filtering through the complaints@ or manager@ in your inbox is a nightmare and can eat up your entire morning.
Even with omnichannel support in place, more than half of customer conversations happen through email. As many of 68% of customer support queries come through email channels, and 37% of customers still prefer email as their primary contact method. Here are some brilliant ways to manage your shared customer support inbox.
1. Schedule intermittent email checks.
Checking your personal email account is an important task for any manager and keeps your inbox manageable throughout the dat. Checking the shared email inbox too often can be overwhelming and make you lose track of priorities.
Schedule generic email checks during the day. Decide to only check your email first thing in the morning, before lunch and at the end of the day and stick to that allowance. This keeps you free from any distractions and helps focus on other tasks. To keep to this schedule and to avoid the temptation to look at your email, turn off your audio and visual alerts.
In some roles you will have to check generic email on a regular basis, especially if email is the primary communication tool for your company. Use your judgment based on your team role and expectations.
With many email platforms, you can set your working hours and team working hours so that you will only be assigned emails at a specific times during the day. You can also assign emails to other department managers if you feel bombarded by the workload.
2. Follow the two-minute rule.
Implement the Two-Minute Rule from David Allen’s Getting Things Done. If an email takes less than two minutes to respond to, sort it immediately. If it takes less than two minutes to action, it won’t impact your greater productivity. Saving the quick emails to re-read and complete later reduces efficiency.
When you read mail from your manager@ or complaints@ inbox, you waste time. For any emails that take longer than two minutes to read or respond to, book time to action later.
Save even more time by creating automations. With automations that categorise incoming messages, you can drastically reduce on the number of two-minutes emails from your daily workload.
3. File it.
A clean inbox makes a customer support team more organised, focused and stress-free. A generic inbox with no emails sounds too good to be true. If you don’t have the right processes in place to organise it, this sounds totally unrealistic.
Set up a filing system to helps you manage your shared generic email. Use broad categories like “Waiting,” “Reference” and “Archives.” Develop a folder that acts as an informal to do list for the day with time sensitive and high priority tasks.
With many email management platforms, files are more customisable and go much further than Outlook and Google. Categorise queries, set up templates for automation, or add tags to remove the stress of having to manually file. Blacklist or rid your inbox of unwanted spam with clever filters to make your life easier.
4. Develop rules.
Email programs like Outlook and Gmail allow you to create rules that sort email into a particular folder as soon as it arrives in your inbox.
For example, you may receive several emails per day that notify you of sales that your company has made. You want to receive these messages, but you don’t want them to clutter your inbox. Set up a rule in your email program that moves incoming emails with “Sale Notification” in the subject line to the “Sales Made” folder. This manually files these important emails and allows you to keep all the sales emails in one folder.
Admitting that your business processes need revamping is the first step to better processes. Gmail and Outlook are great for personal emails, but adding generic email addresses (e.g. enquiries@ or sales@ etc.) can lead to endless confusion.
If you deal with a high volume of generic emails, email management software is the best solution. Platforms (like our very own Logicalware CX) provide the tools to distribute and assign emails, create automations and keep your email inbox manageable.
(This story was first published on 25/08/2016 and has been updated.)