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The Top 5 Reasons Your Customer Support Can’t Survive on Gmail

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In a previous post, we discussed how to figure out when it’s time to move from Gmail to a dedicated help desk. Now learn how your team can transition smoothly from Gmail to a universal shared inbox and more easily work together to provide awesome customer support.

You can’t let any customer conversations end up in customer-support purgatory. When using an email provider like Gmail for customer service, chances are good that sooner or later a customer will be overlooked or have a bad experience. Why? Gmail only has one inbox — made for one person — so it’s not built for teams. This is an issue for growing support teams, but you’re not alone in trying to make Gmail work. According to Forrester Research, more than 80% of small businesses are on email but don’t have access to online collaboration tools.

The universal shared inbox: why you need it
You need a tool dedicated to customer service: a universal shared inbox. A universal shared inbox does more than help you manage, prioritize and organize your emails. It also clarifies to whom each email is assigned, its priority and when it was created, updated and resolved. This allows your support team to address every customer support email as a priority, and provide every customer with a consistent and positive experience.

Here are the Top 5 reasons you need a universal shared inbox (drumroll, please):

1. Automate awesomeness
Receiving email is great, except when you get too many. You need a system that dictates how emails arrive in your inbox and how responses go from your team to your customers. Creating rules within your inbox is a fantastic way to gain greater control of your customer support. Whether the rules are simple, like automatically setting a priority to email cases or more complex to route emails about “jobs,” “career” or “resume” to HR, you’ll get through your messages a lot faster.

2. Get more done, faster
Opening an inbox filled with dozens of unread messages is discouraging, but there are filters for that. Unlike Gmail, a universal shared inbox comes with defined filters that review the progress of incoming and outgoing interactions. Say a customer sends an email. Your filters automatically update when new emails come in, get updated or are in use by another agent. You know exactly what you need to work on and can avoid multiple people replying to the same email.

3. Better replies with email ownership
When a customer sends an email, who is responsible for replying to it? Gmail can’t help you there. You need a system that assigns an owner to support emails based on priority, agent availability and expertise. For example, a customer emails because he/she can’t login to his/her account. Assign this email to someone best suited to resolve the problem — in this case, someone in technical support. That way, you ensure the most appropriate person replies to each email and that every customer email gets a response.

4. Customer profiles and history at your fingertips
You can’t find a customer that likes to explain the problem twice. And no agent likes to be in the dark about a customer and their prior interactions. You’ll run into this problem using Gmail for support. The shared inbox lets you build a profile for each customer and keep track of your customer’s past interactions. This makes it incredibly easy to track details about your customers. Add contact and company info, Twitter and Facebook accounts and notes with important information about each customer. You can keep track of your customer’s history with you — you know if they’re a new, repeat or VIP customer. Your agents will have a leg up on making their customer’s day by getting straight to the heart of the matter.

5. Work together. Anytime. Anywhere.
A shared inbox does exactly what it says — it lets your whole team share the task of replying to customers. Your team has a single view of all the emails as they arrive in your inbox, and each agent can sort, prioritize and personalize their work queue the way they want it. No more email overlap or juggling your priorities. You can bring the best people in to solve any customer problem — whether it’s a full-time support agent or your CEO — and tackle each customer issue one email at a time.

Try Desk.com for free
The cornerstone of effective customer service is the commitment to a simple idea: you can’t let any of your customer conversations fall through the cracks. With a shared inbox from Desk.com, you get a customer-support safety net. With a shared inbox, your team gets to collaborate on email responses and can focus on one reply at a time. Desk.com’s universal inbox also allows you to add live chat functions, moderation of community discussions, quick response capabilities on Twitter and Facebook and tracking of all calls in and out.

Sharing the job of email support, and adding other functions, means less work for your agents, better replies and faster turnaround for your customers — wins all around.

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