How many times have you "marked something as unread" to deal with it later?
Don't get us wrong, email is perfectly fine if used appropriately. Especially for early stage startups that need to focus on launching their first product and getting their first customers. But once the "early stage" days are over, it's time to consider more powerful support tools.
For starters, using one shared support email can be challenging for a team of 2 or more to begin with. But there's also every helpdesk team's nightmare called "agent collision".
"Agent collision" - is when several support agents start answering the same support request. Proper helpdesk software apps track this kind of conflicts. For instance, our helpdesk ticketing tool shows small notifications like "agent Chip is also looking at this ticket right now" or "agent Dale has just posted an update while you were typing". Trust me, this saves a lot of hassle.
How many emails have you handled last week? What was the average response time? What was the average resolution time? Which area causes the most support burden - is it the installation procedure or payment issues? No idea.
While all of these questions can still be answered using an email app, it takes a lot of your (and your customer's) valuable time.
Email is good enough for, ahem, email support. What about phone support - where would you log the incoming calls? How about social media - Twitter or Facebook? Also, how do you browse the customers "previous requests" if they didn't come via email?
Hint: actually, both Twitter and Facebook have an option to send an email when someone mentions you or sends you a Facebook message so you can still kinda work this around.
How do you pass an email to another person for further handling (or simply "to have a look")? Actually, your only option is to "forward" or "cc" it to your colleague. And now the customer doesn't know where he should send his further communication - is it still you or is it "John from Accounting" now? Wouldn't it be easier for him to keep replying to the same support address, while all the "routing" happens on your side?
Alex has founded Jitbit in 2005 and is a software engineer passionate about customer support. He holds a degree in computer science and is a Microsoft Certified Solution Developer