Outsourcing Email Management? Companies are getting the Message


 Outsourcing Email Management?  Companies are getting the Message

Outsourcing email management is a good way to ensure that your inbox stays uncluttered and you stay on top of all conversations. As more companies look for ways to reduce their costs, they are outsourcing the job of managing their emails to a third party provider.

But not every company needs to go this route. That's because there are other things you can do at home or in the office that will keep your inbox clean and make sure your employees' email etiquette doesn’t create a PR nightmare for your company. 

One key tactic is enforcing email policies by setting up auto-reply so people can't continue conversations using multiple channels outside the inbox. Another is using an email policy to define limits on certain kinds of emails.

In short, there are ways to take the automation out of email management without turning your company into a machine.

The 10 Things You Can Do Right Now That Will Keep Your Inbox Clean and Maintain Email Etiquette
1) Use Auto-Reply
If people are writing you back on multiple channels, chances are they want something from you. If that's the case, choose a generic reply for all messages so that future conversations can't be conducted by other means.
2) Review Email Policies
Many companies have email policies so that they can establish limits on certain kinds of emails. For example, you might have a policy that requires employees to send an alert with any urgent messages sent outside your company's email system, like a fire alarm or burglar alarm test notification, and not respond to those messages until they are returned to sender.
3) Autorespond Emails
You can also use an autoresponder to send out generic replies on behalf of multiple users who are writing back in the same matter. For example, you could set up the autoresponder to send back a response to every email that contains "You've reached the voicemail of...”
4) Have a Message Area
Many companies have message areas where employees can post messages to be read by other employees. This can act as an alternate channel for employees answering back in the same matter.
5) Set Up Forwarding Rules
Forwarding rules let you run your email management system with one click or one press of a button. By populating your forwarding rules with specific messages that are sent from your typical customers, you will narrow down your email management workload and reduce it so most of what gets sent is what you want dealt with personally.
6) Scripts for Your Sales Team
If you have a sales team, you may want to consider setting up different scripts for different sales situations. This will help your sales team respond faster and establish some automation in your email management process.
7) Set up Auto-Forwarding Emails
If people are writing you back that they'll be late for an appointment, confirmations for reservations or anything else where the same message gets sent out to multiple people, it will save time if they can forward the emails on their own so you don't have to deal with them individually.
8) Create Auto-Forwarding Scripts
If you have a bunch of emails you always send to people, it probably makes sense to create an autoresponder script for them. Using the auto-forwarding email feature, your sales team can write out all the emails they send to new customers and forward them on their own so they don't have to type the same thing over and over.
9) Turn Off Your Phone
It's tough to manage your inbox when it's constantly ringing with "important" phone calls. If you can turn off your phone or put it on vibrate, you'll give yourself time during the day to deal with emails without having to juggle multiple conversations.
10) Make Use of Other Automated Features
If your email system has other automated features, such as bulk-deleting, you should take advantage of them so your inbox doesn't get too full.
You can also manage your email on the go with a mobile app.  These apps will help you manage multiple email accounts, check the inbox while you're away from the office and even make sending emails and attachments easier. Your employees will appreciate it if they can check their messages on their mobile device when they are away from the office or on the go.  Here are some of the best email management apps for your business.
Figure 1: (left) The IMAP Gmail app; (right) The Apps for Business app
How to Keep Your Inbox Clean and Maintain Email Etiquette
Many ways work for different companies.  Sometimes people can be disciplined and follow the rules, but other times it is easier to be more lax so that you don't create a PR nightmare.  That's why it's critical to have a good set of email policies in place that take into account what your company does on a daily basis so that you can establish rules around what qualifies as an acceptable email message.
As part of your email policy, you should have a couple of benchmarks for what types of emails can and cannot be sent.  For example, you might have a policy that states that your employees can't send out messages regarding lost pets or raffle tickets unless the recipient has previously requested such information.  Letting people send out such announcements to everyone on a "free" basis will just complicate your inbox management efforts over time.
The key to effective email management is to create rules for your employees so they know how to follow email policies and follow them without having to ask for instructions all the time.  Having a good set of email policies will minimize the amount of time you spend managing your inbox and keep it clear from all the "noise" that could easily fill it up.  Here are some helpful tips on how to manage your inbox and keep it clean.
1) Get Organized with Folders
Create folders that align with specific categories or types of emails. For example, if you create a folder titled "Pets," any messages that come in about lost pets will go right into that folder. If you receive multiple messages related to pets, use different folders to categorize each message.

Email is a critical part of modern communications. It can be an effective means for employees to communicate with their colleagues and employers.  Email management systems can help businesses establish email policy guidelines and take the load out of managing email inboxes, allowing for greater productivity.
Article by: Roberta Brinkerhoff, MBA, Founder of CareerSurge.Org
This article was originally published by Business 2 Community (http://www.business2community.com).
Photo Credit: Julien Tromeur/Shutterstock.

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