We had limited insight into metrics for our primary communication channel: email

It’s standard within customer service industries to be able to track phone calls, but while that’s somewhat beneficial, for Ontellus, 80% of their clientele communicate with them via email.

“These are attorneys, they’re busy and on the go, and can shoot off an email very quickly,” Lonnie explained.

With that, the customer service team had growing concerns about their email turnaround time.

“We conduct periodic health checks on our clients. I noticed a consistent theme in that customer service was one of the most important aspects with ‘responsiveness and knowledge’ being two of the primary factors considered to be conducive to optimal customer service. This led us to prioritize the need for insights and analytics around our primary communication channel.”

We set out to partner with a company to position us to ascertain the critical email analytics information we needed. When you’re looking at the opportunities to grow existing business, go into health checks, or strategic interactions; we wanted to position ourselves with the right information ahead of those interactions. We wanted a tool that would help us make sure that we were as responsive as we needed to be, and that the quality and content of those responses were where they needed to be.”

Evaluating options and trying alternatives

Lonnie explained that Ontellus trialed a couple of other email analytics solutions before demoing timetoreply.

“timetoreply was the third company that we reached out to, demoed, and had the best experience with moving from a demo to a pilot. The requirements were minimal, the tool integrated well with our system, and the dashboard and metrics were fairly easy to adopt. There were a lot of upsides to timetoreply from the onset.”

For Ontellus, the most important thing when deciding on a tool was its the ability to integrate with Microsoft Outlook, as well as the breadth, depth, and integrity of reporting it offered.

“When you’re working with a customer and say there’s an escalation that involves email, or the timeliness of the response, we’re able to quickly leverage the timetoreply tool at an agent level to report on the average response time, and also look at the exchanges back and forth within the email thread and provide that feedback.”

Lonnie went on to explain that what they really like is the ability to provide the firms (their clients) with their response times back to the Ontellus team.

“We’re able to provide analytics to the firm on their response times because we can have great response times, but if they’re not responding in a reasonable amount of time, that also hinders cycle time progress. This info has proven very beneficial when we’re in sessions. “

"In terms of our responsiveness, it’s gone up from 62% to 86% as a company."
Lonnie Jackson

Lonnie Jackson
Vice President of Customer Management

Trialing and implementing timetoreply

After finding timetoreply, Lonnie and members of the Ontellus leadership team piloted the solution, ensuring that it was the right fit for Ontellus’ needs.

“timetoreply kindly increased our pilot time to allow the executive leadership and account management team to see the benefit of the tool. It became evident very quickly that this was the direction we wanted to move in.”

Initially, Ontellus linked 22 of their team’s mailboxes to track, but have since linked over 60 mailboxes with plans to expand.

“There is still a lot of opportunity for growth,” Lonnie commented. “What I like about the relationship with timetoreply is the team’s ability to listen and adapt, based on our feedback. It’s essentially like we’re growing with this tool and with the timetoreply brand, which has been great as it’s added a touch of personalization.”

Team introduction and usage

When asked if Lonnie informed his team about linking their mailboxes, he replied that they did. His team’s reaction?

“It was received very positively. I am a firm believer that everyone wants to know if they’re doing a good job. Especially when you’re investing 40-60 hours per week, you want to walk away with a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day and know that your work product is sound and effective.

“We’ve set up timetoreply so that our agents can log in and look at their analytics in real-time and say, ‘hey today, I was able to answer 80% of my emails within 4 hours, and 95% in 8 hours.’ And so this really gained favor quite quickly within the Ontellus group.”

Importantly, this also gave Ontellus a useful set of metrics and KPIs by which to measure their team.

“This can be a struggle in customer service when you are challenged to build out a scorecard and measure your agents’ success. In this sense, timetoreply also works very well, as it’s something that’s well within their control. They can monitor their email performance themselves, and have a sense of investment and ownership by which they’re measured.”

How Ontellus uses timetoreply now

Lonnie explains that how they use timetoreply varies by business unit.

“On a high level, leadership uses the daily reporting feature. It encompasses how many emails we have answered within 8 hours, 4 hours, average response time by business unit, and the volume of emails incoming and outgoing on a daily basis. Our directors us the reports within their own teams and for individual agents.”

“We also use the outlier management feature, as we have specialists that will fall out of the 8 hour reply time parameter. And even some that we’re performance managing from an 8-hour reply time down to a 4-hour reply time.”

Most recently, the team at Ontellus has been making use of the company filters to keep a close eye on specific firms.

“We place a lot of emphasis on new firms that we call pilots. For the first 4-6 weeks, those are managed very closely. timetoreply helps us to pay very special attention to them by setting up specific reporting. We also have what we call ‘priority firms’ who are on a special watchlist, and so we have a report for those as well.”

Ontellus also uses the scheduled reporting that goes out every morning to a selected distribution list.

The Results

Since implementing timetoreply, Ontellus has seen a significant improvement in response times.

“When we started, we were only responding to 62% of emails within an 8-hour business day, which is a scary metric for me. Now, it’s gone up from 62% to 86% as a company, and we are working towards a target of 95% within eight hours.

“The other thing that was interesting was the volume of emails. When we started, we were getting hundreds and hundreds of incoming emails a day. Part of what the timetoreply tool has allowed us to do is go into the data at a firm level and look at where the largest concentration of emails are coming from. Using the timetoreply email threads tool, we are able to look at the nature of the conversations, and analyze why some firms were emailing back and forth a lot more than others. This helped us to accurately identify process and training issues. This meant we could go in and have some important conversations with our customers about the frustrations experienced on both sides and how we could better our communication.”

“We’ve seen a reduction in the transactional volume of email by approximately 20% even though we’ve experienced consistent customer growth.”

On Gaining the Competitive Edge

Lonnie explained that timetoreply will certainly factor in to their goal to increase their share of the market and drive brand recognition.

“It’s helping us to cultivate deeper relationships. The nature of our relationships with the paralegals and attorneys is time sensitive & trust that we can effectively deliver. So the more interactions had with optimal response times, the happier our firms are which in turn means happy insurance carriers.

“When you look at like that; they’re able to reach out to us and have an expectation as to how quickly we’ll respond, and not just respond quickly but also well and with the right info they need. That’s now measured on a daily basis with high visibility within our organization. We’ve raised awareness about it within our department and it’s one of the top metrics and measures everyone talks about. It makes for a stickier relationship when those attorneys and paralegals can count on you.”

“We are creatures of habit, and when that relationship of trust is established through our consistent behavior, they’re not going to disrupt that relationship. If anything, they’ll refer us to their colleges and recommend us, which leads to increased brand recognition within the industry and sustainable opportunities for continued growth.”

Time to see the insight, improvements and results for yourself?

Trusted by high-performing inbound sales teams and customer-facing teams globally.
Close more deals and delight more customers with the faster, smarter, deeper email analytics and performance optimization software that works straight from your team’s inbox.