If I proposed a solution around a filing cabinet that all your team members worked from, you’d think I was a bit crazy. But we think nothing of living from digital filing cabinets, which is what email inboxes have become.
Whether it’s dealing with HR requests or answering customer queries, inboxes have become de facto databases, work management tools and comms solution all in one.
The trouble is, it’s not what they were designed for. And they do it pretty badly.
Personal mailboxes are bad enough, with siloed information reliant on one person to process. But shared mailboxes are no solution either, and they have their own challenges. There’s no way to understand if an email has been acknowledged and is being worked on. Emails are easily marked as unread and missed. Flags and folders are a clumsy solution and require manual intervention every single time.
There’s little history and audit trail. Management information is virtually non-existent. How many queries are being picked up? How quickly are they responded to? Are people satisfied with the service? What time is being spent on answering the same questions repeatedly?
IT is one of the areas that has combatted many of these issues with ticketing. It’s rare to be able to just email an IT team, and you’re unlikely, as a result, to get a response from someone typing in a shared mailbox. But for some reason, that typically hasn’t spread to other teams.
You may think that’s because other teams aren’t as transactional as IT support, but I challenge you on if that’s really the case. Many teams are processing requests whether they’re internal or external, and many follow an identical pattern (work requests, wage enquiries etc.). And, of course, you may not know if that’s the case because you don’t have that management information. Catch 22.
From those conversations, a new app has taken shape at UP3. We talked to our clients about their ways of working and the challenges they faced, then built our Support Services application on the back of their feedback.
The app takes some of those good ticketing principles, but this isn’t just an IT tool. It can be rolled out to any team, and it can be customised to their needs.
This isn’t an email killer, nor would we want it to be. We know people still like email, so while they can use a portal, they can still email – and each team can set email addresses as needed to deliver specific routing. But behind the scenes, the app then does the magic.
Someone’s off ill? If they are marked unavailable, you can instantly see what they have outstanding and avoid any new items being assigned to them. Complex issues where only certain team members will be able to help? Then using skill profiles, you can see exactly who can deal with the task most efficiently.
From a management perspective, you’ll see the volume of queries, how you’re meeting SLAs, the nature of the queries, who they’re assigned to and breakdown by status. You’ll also have a complete audit trail and accountability, no deleted emails or things falling down the cracks.
From a user perspective, it also makes sense, making it easier for the team to interact and see what’s on their plate, and drawing from pre-templated emails to speed up responses. You’ll boost the employee experience – for both those sending and dealing with requests.
Really there is no excuse to use inboxes to manage processes in today’s business landscape. It’s bad for your teams, bad for efficiency and bad for visibility.
I can’t help you with your hundreds of unread emails in your own inbox, but I can help you banish mailboxes as a shared work tool. Drop me a line to find out more.
The first in our series looking at Advanced MID Servers. Taking a look at scripting on a MID server, including how to run MID Server ScriptsFind out more
Q+A Blog interviewing a SeviceNow Technical Consultant on their first six weeks in the job, to learn about their goals, company culture, and working with ServiceNow.Find out more