It is undoubtable that e-mail communication remains the largest form of business communication used in Namibia to date. E-mails are used for anything from a quick personal message sent to a friend to an extensive Business Plan sent to a bank or corporate company.
In smaller businesses, e-mail communication is ideal as it provides both the customer and the business owner with a quick and effective method of conducting business and communication. Corporate companies, on the other hand, might be limited or frustrated by the use of everyday e-mail solutions for their communication.
With a small company, you know who your clients are, what they like and what they don’t like. You understand their exact needs because you work with them on a daily basis, but what happens to that relationship if there are 100 or even 1,000 employees working for a company. What happens to all of that customer information when an employee leaves?
While this might not pose a problem to you at this point in time, have you considered the following? Namibian consumers are unique in the way they conduct business, due to the size of our country many consumers believe in working with people and not companies or corporations. Instead of hearing, Company Xs Call Centre helps me with my enquiries, you hear Namibia consumers say, “A young girl by the name of Michelle at Company X always helps me when I have a problem – you should speak to Michelle, she will be able to help you.” So what happens when Michelle leaves the company, who does the customer deal with then? Will the customer continue to deal with Company X or will the client decide to move with Michelle or to move to another service provider.
Improving Email Communication within Corporations
One of the most effective methods to improve email communication within corporations would be to centralise the emailing system. By developing a robust business email client, which allows multiple employees from the same department to use the same email account or address; however as the emails are received they are automatically funnelled to the correct employee based on previous correspondence and trends associated to not only the employee but the customer as well.
Such a system will introduce the following benefits to corporations:
Profile your Customers
Another huge advantage of such a robust custom developed email client is the powerful customer profiling possibilities available, which in turn could improve the overall customer service provided by the company.
For instance, a simple tool could be added to the email client, allowing the employee to tag important words / key phrases used in a client email. These tags or key phrases are automatically saved onto the clients’ profile, allowing employees to build a database of useful information about customers. E.g. When one employee communicates with a customer and determines the customers age, the tag tool is used to add the customers age. When another employee communicates with the customer and finds out their gender or where they work, the tag tool can be used to add the customers’ gender or where they work.
The more information collected and known about a customer, could allow your employees to better target their audiences and provide useful insight into the products and/or services the customer would be interested in.
Since the profiling of customers is no longer limited to a specific program, employees can also include social media communication channels used by the clients. Such information will allow your employees to gain a wider insight into the Social Media Platforms used by your customers.
Streamlining To-Do Lists
Such a centralised email client could also assist in the streamlining of to-do lists for employees. Upon receiving an email, employees can create To-Do Tags directly from the email. When such a task is created, the task itself will always link back to the email or original communication – allowing your employees to recap on the contents of the email before completing the task at hand.
This sort of functionality would be especially useful if multiple employees work with the same customer, when a task is created multiple team members can be assigned to tasks. In addition to this private notes and documents can also be shared about a specific task or email received via the centralised email client.
Automating Tedious Responses
Another element of frustration that can be addressed with such a system is the automation of tedious email responses. For instance, if you run a technical company where your call centre receives the same questions day-in-and-out, automated personal responses could be generated for specific questions. When the technician receives the response, they can simply assign the automated response to the email or client.
Such functionality will decrease the number of hours employees spend on replicating the same response or information for customers.
If at this point you ask, but what about my current intranet or internal system – would I be able to incorporate this with the centralised email client. The answer is mostly yes! Due to the fact that such a system will need to be conceptualised, designed and developed from scratch it is possible to incorporate bridging systems to further streamline other aspects of your business, if the internal or third-party allows for such functionality, which most systems do offer.
For instance, if your company issues several vacancies per month a bridging system could be developed in which the vacancies are uploaded to the centralised email client and once uploaded all vacancies are automatically published on a number of Social Media Platforms and other vacancy listing portals including your own website.
Online Solutions like Sales Force and Sharepoint can easily be integrated with such a centralised email client system, allowing you to pull and push data from multiple systems.
The more data the better
At iWits, we are firm believers that if a system does not provide its owner with useful data / information – the system is useless – the more data you have and the better you understand your company and industry, the better decisions you can make in future.
The correct data could provide Managers the ability to track general “moods” or “tones” of emails, in order to determine what their customer satisfaction rates are.
Since digital data can be tracked in real-time, the system could be developed in such a way that it starts tracking response times of email communication allowing you to anticipate unnecessary bottlenecking situations due to limited employees available to respond, etc. This could also be used to track employee workload and productivity.
The possibilities are endless; the data tracked by such a system could provide you and your marketing team with priceless insights and information to your existing and potential customers.
What about the marketing opportunities?
Wherever there is data there are marketing opportunities. The correct data could allow the system to assign specific email signatures to specific employees; it could offer a variety of predictive marketing possibilities to give your company an extensive marketing edge. The more data you could collect about your customers, the more direct marketing opportunities you open.
There are hundreds of functions and tools that could be incorporated into a custom designed and developed system, which allows you to not only streamline internal- and external business communication and procedures, but it could also guide you towards a new future of predictive marketing and direct sales.
It is important to note that if such a system is custom designed and developed for your company, a lot of time and resources needs to be placed on the concept phase – ensuring that all forms of security are considered. In addition to this, it is important to ensure that such systems do not change internal procedures too much, as it will slow down adoption. The easier the systems are to use or to migrate to, the more likely employees are to adopt the new system.