For a moment, when I just started working at Trengo, I found it strange that I had no personal (firstname.lastname@example.org) or team (email@example.com) email address. I assumed the company and its operations would be a complete mess.
How was I ever going to reply to emails in an efficient way, without searching thousands of emails to find those appointed to me or my team?
You probably think the same. But in reality, using only one email address with the whole company is the best product pitch we could ever give.
In this blog, I won’t say you should only have one email address as a company. However, I will explain why you should rethink the way your company is operating when it comes to email (and all other communication channels).
Email is here to stay
There has been a lot of discussions if new communication channels will replace traditional channels like email. You probably have seen the headlines shouting “WhatsApp will replace email”, “Messenger will replace email” and later “Email is here to stay”.
Contradicting right? That’s because a lot of those headlines are simply written to attract readers. Fueled with opinions to release mass engagement on each post, because that is what works on the internet.
You probably did not find the answer if email is here to stay, or that WhatsApp or Messenger will be replacing it.
The speed of innovations and the availability of new technology increases as we leap into the future at a higher speed than ever before. First, we had email in 1971, then we had WhatsApp in 2009 and now, you are using both (and we’re not even naming all the others here).
Would be nice to just use one app right? We’ll get back to that later in this blog.
Some technologies replace others, some don’t. If you are not generation Z then email will probably never get replaced (for you). The mass adoption of email by people, and actually the first proper and accessible way to communicate digitally with each other makes sure we will use email to the end of time. Or at least our time.
There most likely won’t be a day where everyone just ditches their email address and suddenly uses telepathy to communicate… However, when telepathy does ever become a thing, email may be in trouble. You get the picture.
The differences between Email and other communication channels
We tend to forget that communication channels are used for very different purposes, which we somehow all accept. Where WhatsApp is for friends and family (and now slightly evolves to communicating with companies), Messenger is for friends, distant relatives and fake friends (really depending on which continent you live, though), while email is used to communicate with almost everyone.
It is hard to change the way we think of these channels, people actually get emotionally attached to the communication channels, simply because they spend so much time on there.
Sending email, like a phone call, is a more generic way of communicating. Accepted by most people to communicate with known and unknown people. Communication might switch for you from email and phone to, for instance, WhatsApp and Messenger, but those are just complementary communication tools focused on their own target market with their own audience. People usually do not use only one channel, they use them all, each for a different purpose.
So, as a company, you should be accessible for all clients, via all these channels. Otherwise, you will miss out on a number of customers using a channel that you are not available on. Unless telepathy really starts developing. If that ever really happens, the law will probably prohibit companies from using it with their customers. Which means you’ll have to resort to email, phone and WhatsApp again.
But enough about telepathy. For now.
The limitations of Gmail and Outlook
Gmail (owned by Google) and Outlook (owned by Microsoft) are the most used and best-known email clients. You have probably registered an email address through one of these providers. Still using Hotmail? Same story.
The point is, these clients are mainly focused on email. Just email for communication between people. Your company may be using one of these email providers because they offer a full suite of things your company also uses. And don’t get me wrong, you definitely should use these services.
But why the hell can you only receive emails? Have to forward emails to colleagues? Put CC’s and BCC’s if someone has to join in a conversation? Or have endless threads of conversations?
It’s 2020, can’t we make this less complicated?
The answer is: of course we can. The next generation of inboxes already exists, and it is not limited to only email and its ancient features. If email will disappear in the future, these inboxes will stay, because, well, they are not only focused on email, they simply evolve along with the technology.
Just one email address
Let’s get back to where we started off. So yes, we were running our company with just one email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) for our whole team. And no, we are not a company with just 2 employees and also not a 1000 (that would have been insane, but possible). Let’s say we would have at least enough people working from the same email address, that if we were to use a normal email client, we would have probably killed each other.
The point I want to make is that a lot of companies are still not working efficiently. They use Gmail and Outlook to email, go to Facebook Messenger to send messages or pick up their voice solution for calling. And, if there would have been more contact points, they would become completely inefficient.
Even worse, ever needed help from a colleague within an email conversation? Only to constantly forward emails, forget to add people to CC and have a ton of internal emails sitting in your inbox. Especially for customer service teams, this becomes a mess very quickly. But there is a solution.
This solution makes it possible to never forward an email, no endless threads, no switching portals or hoping your colleague has time for help when you walk up to him or her. You could even work with one email address, like we do, and never lose sight of any conversations.
Your productivity will increase so massively, that the return on the (software) investment will be noticed from day one. The value it brings will make you fall in love with something you never expected. The next generation of inboxes (software) arrived and they are here to stay.
Well, they are already here for a while, but now it is time for you to adopt them.
So what can these inboxes do?
Everything a normal inbox can not.
The first part is easily collaborating with your team. Even if it is only email you are using, imagine how your productivity will increase if you could collaborate with colleagues. Easily assign conversations to the right user or team, or have automated rules that will perform this task. Need help? Just tag your colleagues in the conversation thread and collaborate easily by chatting internally.
Indeed. This way we can run our company with just one email address. Not necessary to do, but we can easily handle email overload. And that is what I wanted to show you, how a simple solution can transform into powerful results.
Also, it is not just one email address, also just one WhatsApp Business number, one SMS number, one WeChat number, one Telegram number, and so on. And whatever the amount of channels, in the end it doesn’t really matter. You could even run endless email addresses, phone numbers and live chats from the inbox and you would still have a clear, easy to use and productive inbox.
Who wouldn’t want this right?
The second part is that the inbox is multi-channel. So you do not ever have to switch inboxes again. Email, WhatsApp Business, Facebook Messenger, SMS, Voice, Live chat, WeChat, etcetera, are all available from one shared inbox. Yes, you can communicate via these channels as a team, without leaving the inbox.
Now close your eyes and imagine collaborating with your colleagues from a shared multi-channel team inbox. All problems solved at once. Your frustrations will vanish. No more time-consuming processes to answer questions. You will have more time to focus on what is really important.
And the last part is. Well, you have to experience it for yourself. Let’s not forget user-friendliness, the most important part of your experience. Because it has an interface like normal email clients, you will understand how it works and there will be almost no training needed to understand.
So what are you waiting for? Increase productivity today.
I do have to admit we recently added a @finance email address, and shortly we will add the private inboxing feature (including LinkedIn). Just because privacy is a thing for people.