The first step that most firms take when developing a customer service strategy is streamlining how teams communicate. The reason is that when one is starting with a one-person team, setting up a communication platform is easy and managing the same is not a problem. Additionally, there are no financial investments, and most probably, workers already know how to manage their emails.
However, as your firm expands, the volume and complexity of customer service issues will surge with sales. That implies that your customer service strategy needs to be agile enough to scale with your operations. On the other hand, modern teams work remotely, cross-functionally, and collaboratively across departments and time zones.
Also, although email remains the predominant communication option, especially when considering inbound messages from external stakeholders, it is not ideal for a collaborative environment. Indeed, email is good enough for one-to-one communication, but it requires adaptation to meet the needs of a modern team.
For that reason, shared inboxes or shared mailboxes as they are also called become a viable solution for transparent communication, team collaboration, and modern workflows.
It is possible for several individuals to manage, send, and receive emails using the same email address. That is what a shared mailbox is all about. When you create a shared mailbox and share it with relevant team members, anyone among them can manage and collaborate on emails coming from respective inboxes.
For instance, your sales team can work on an inbox that specifically deals with sales conversations, while your customer service team works on a separate inbox that includes all of your support staff.
As a customer service team manager, your worst-case scenario is that your entity does not just live up to the hype. Creating a shared mailbox workflow will always maintain the same level of experience in each interaction. Remember that over time, consistency and continuity are the two keys to retaining clients and delighting individuals when it comes to customer service.
Here are a few tips for managing shared mailboxes.
Crossing off a customer conversation once you resolve an issue is easy when using a shared mailbox. Unfortunately, focusing solely on problem-solving through a customer service mailbox will leave your firm’s best opportunity to build relationships hanging. The solution, in this case, is for customer service professionals to ensure that every conversation ends by adding extra value.
As a support manager, you can suggest other ways of using a shared mailbox or a new shortcut to save a client time. Also, asking whether you can do anything to make one’s life easier can go a long way in this case. By doing so, the people you address/serve will understand that you care about them, their opinions matter and that you are willing to accord them the necessary support. That will, in turn, transform customer service from a cost centre to a revenue generator.
Probably, a shared mailbox is your team’s primary tool. If that is the case, you need to develop shared mailbox rules that clarify everyone’s workflows. There are different ways you can bring accountability into the queue, including;
You also need to spare time to work out the kinks while double-checking that each customer receives the support they need when building out your system. Additionally, ideal teams go the extra mile to onboard new workers by offering extensive training.
A ton of coordination is necessary when managing a shared mailbox as part of your team. So it does not matter how much experience your team members have in a support setting since new processes will always require new training.
When managing customer information, security is always a priority. As such, you need to take extra steps to protect your customers’ data and business insights within a shared mailbox environment. That will entail frequent changes of passwords and ensuring that each team member observes the best practices in place. Such best practices may include;
It is also worth mentioning that you need to change the password of a shared mailbox every time a team member leaves your entity. Otherwise, a ton of valuable customers’ information and business insights will remain at the disposal of former employees, which is quite risky. The reason is that today, data is a treasure.
The implication here is that losing company information can break trust with your community, which can eventually bear far-reaching effects on workers and your firm’s future.
Sometimes, you are not sure about a response you may be working on. When that is the case, you should consider forwarding the email to everyone within your team to get a reply before sending it out. In any case, the team is there to help you. That way, you will not just work towards replying to every email in the queue but will ensure that you address each issue in the best way possible.
If your team receives tons of emails in the shared inbox each day and there are worries about email overload, using filters can come in handy. The reason is that filters help individuals determine the most important emails and the notifications they should be getting. Also, using filters means that you can set emails requiring an immediate response time to send notifications directly to your phone. Tagging particular threads to alert you whenever one receives a reply is also possible in this case.
Undoubtedly, a shared mailbox bridges the gap between the modern collaborative way of working and Gmail, and it can prove a valuable resource when you manage it well. Adopting the tips above will make the work easier for your team, but it will also improve interactions with clients while enhancing the latter’s experience at the same time.
Enhancing management and gaining visibility into your team’s shared mailboxes is possible when you opt for timetoreply, and you can download the shared inbox management guide here.
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