5 Reasons to Quit Using Shared Email Forms

Full shared email

This last week I sent emails out to several companies looking for information that I couldn’t find on their websites.  On almost every single website I had to fill out a form to be able to send my question to their customer service team.  Unfortunately, in several of the cases, the question I had did not fall under any of the categories that had been assigned.  In one case the question was a pre-purchase question to clarify information about the product I was looking for.  The company I was looking at had the email form, but I couldn’t even ask the question without providing a specific order number.  Unfortunately for that company, another company with the same product allowed me to find an email for customer service to ask my question, and they got back to me in a reasonable time.  As a result, the first company lost a sale. 

 As a result, the first company lost a sale.
1.     Customers reach out to companies all the time. Looking for answers to what they think are basic questions that the FAQ’s don’t touch.   If their question is not listed in your categories, then you are putting up a barrier for your clients to reach you. 

2.     Email box dumps can cause client contacts to disappear:  Who is checking the shared email?  Is it automated?  This is what is called a single point of failure, if something goes wrong with the person or the system responsible for checking these emails, then client contacts go unanswered.  There needs to be backups to make sure that emails are assigned out. Key word filters can help direct emails to the correct department, but some emails will still fall through the cracks by not appearing to fit into any pre-defined category.  These emails still need to be addressed.

3.     Customers still want interaction. When people feel that they have a connection with someone inside your company they tend to be more forgiving of minor mishaps.  The feeling of having and “inside” connection goes a long way to customer satisfaction.  Even if that “someone” is different for every question the customer asks. 

4.     Consistent follow-through on an emailed question means that the customer does not have to repeat the issue over and over as new people respond to answers.  I ran into an issue where someone posted one of my kid’s cell phone on an adult website by mistake.  After finding what sites the number was posted to I emailed each explaining the situation and asking for the number to be removed.  Most complied, with a quick apology.  One website however, every email was answered by a different person who kept sending me back to the beginning of how to “Edit” my post.  The problem was, the post wasn’t mine.  In this case, I had to threaten to get legal and the police involved to get the issue addressed.  Most clients won’t have that serious of a problem. But the frustration level involved when they must repeat the issue over and over, eventually leads to them throwing up their hands and moving on, with their money, to someone else who is easier to work with.

5.     Historical, mineable data:  By having a single person handling the email from a client, from beginning to end, service tickets can be created and tracked. Assign a client’s email a customer number, have a customer who emails questions in regularly?  You have a chance to target marketing to them based on the questions they are asking.  Do they need more training?  Would your new product (bundle, subscription) be beneficial to them?  

I had a customer who I spoke to on a Monday morning.  She had made a note for herself over the weekend to call us.  I was helping her with yearend processes when she found her note, but she forgot to write down what her question had been.  I directed her to our website and showed her how to submit an email ticket.  I explained that this was an easy way to get questions to us when either our call queues were overwhelmed, or she was working outside office hours. This would prevent her from having half-finished reminders laying around her desk. It had the added bonus that since she was two hours behind us, when she got in the next morning, her question would probably be answered.  This was better time management for her, and for us as well.  Our online ticketing system would take the customer’s request. The customer would choose which department they needed, then would ask their question.  The ticket would then be assigned to one person the next morning to address.  This process gave her the ability to ask questions on the go, and keep working, and her productivity was not hampered.  

Maintaining customer satisfaction means that companies need to make it easier, not harder for the customer to reach resolutions to answers.  Email ticketing is often an easy way for a customer to reach out, especially if your help desk has specific office hours. Assigning each ticket to individual support person to allows your company to address the issue in question from beginning to resolution, with minimal bouncing, and rerouting of the client. By having a representative take ownership of the issue helps give the customer confidence in your support and your perception of their value.  Customers vote with their dollars, and dollars travel with customer satisfaction levels.  


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