A Google search for the phrase “I hate email” yields 1,190,000,000 results. Now that’s a lot of hate! But get ready for even more hate if Outlook (or Gmail) were taken away from us. Can you imagine how support forums would erupt in seconds, how Twitter would crash under the burden of #bringbackemail tweets, how people would actually start paying for email accounts they’ve always had for free? This love-hate relationship with email is founded on dependency. At one time or another, each one of us succumbed to the demands of email. Almost automatically, we put email on a pedestal as being the centre-of-all-things. Well, it's NOT. Think about it. Can email function as... ... your CRM system, keeping track of customer enquiries and producing the history of your relationship at the snap of your fingers? ... your filing system, logically putting away anything from tax advice to payment confirmations and delivery notifications? ... your replacement for real-time meetings and conversations? (Is it really that efficient to exchange emails with 5 colleagues scattered over the office, when you could have a meeting and gauge all opinions in one sitting?) Small businesses are uniquely positioned to deliver that warm and fuzzy feeling consumers crave more than ever. However, no matter how friendly or empathetic the service is, it won't be effective if it’s not timely. An email – however personal it may sound – is worthless once arriving in a customer’s inbox two days too late. This is the risk of using email as the small business toolbox for everything. Inboxes get fat and flubby as soon as you stop training them – and seriously, do point out the small business owner with the time and discipline to trim his or her inbox on a regular basis. Correspondence trails get lost, emails end up unanswered, and precious time gets wasted looking for a specific message containing the information required five minutes ago. There are tools out there – such as Casengo (now in beta) – that improve customer support efficiency for small businesses. They are the tools that store all the information, such as customer histories and an indispensable knowledge base, in a logical way. They funnel email, chat and internal collaboration into the channels where they belong. They actively do what it takes to increase conversion. Let's face it: Outlook does not. The Google search proved it: we are ready for whatever comes after email. We are ready for something better. Thanks for signing up! You’ve got mail...
Outlook, the business toolbox for everything. NOT.