What is wrong with Outlook?


Using Outlook to manage a customer service center’s electronic communications is like

  • asking the finance department to use Excel for financial management
  • equipping the marketing department with the Office package to produce brochures and videos
  • getting rid of the phone system and asking your customer service staff to take calls on their own cell phones, by listing each and every cell phone number on your company’s contact page – “pick a number”

Why then is that exactly how so many companies organize their daily work? The answer is usually that “we’ve already got it, and it works alright,” – but no one would ever apply the same logic to the other departments.

Outlook is an excellent tool for managing your personal mailbox, but when it comes to a busy workday with a high email volume coming in from numerous clients and partners for many different agents, it becomes a real handful.

  1. One or more employees read all the incoming mail before forwarding it to the right person and department
  2. Mails are forwarded to a bewildering array of shared mailboxes that several employees can access (or are sorted into sub-folders in the mailbox)
  3. Another employee reads the mail again – he might then forward it to yet another employee or have to tell the customer that they don’t have all the information needed to solve the task.
  4. If the employee does respond to the client, the answer will now be located in the employee’s personal outbox – and nobody else in the company can view the response if the customer replies to the main address or shared mailbox
  5. If employees are sick or on vacation, the email just languishes in their inbox
  6. The customer profile isn’t updated once the ticket is closed – and no one knows what agreements or promises have been made until the customer writes back with the same problem.

And yet the list of issues is much, much longer. Very often a number of manual procedures are set up to deal with the problems, and they require moving emails around between inboxes/outboxes, as well as using colors and flagging them – and any time an employee overlooks the agreed-upon procedures or appointments, “the system” will be spoiled.

Management is flying blind
Everyday work is one thing – management problems are a different matter entirely. Outlook does not provide managers with insight into time consumption, employee efficiency, number of emails per solved ticket, number of emails without final resolution, resource expenditures at different times of day, week or month. In fact, it is a mystery to us how anyone can manage to staff a customer service center with the right qualifications at the right time - and/or isolate processes that need to be changed to optimize workflows, customer experience and employee satisfaction.

Every customer service center has a phone system for handling phone calls and no manager could go without statistics and detailed reports. Etrack1 offers the same kind of efficiency, insight and transparency for all the digital channels – and email. So if you are using Outlook to handle electronic requests today, you have got a good reason to book a meeting with us – the business case is obvious.

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