“Awesome.” “The real deal.” “Most exciting app of the year (…) and I don't even have it yet.” Positive comments poured in when TechCrunch published a rave review of Mailbox, ‘The Best Email Management App You’ll Ever Use’. (Check out the article URL, which suggests the title originally read: ‘OMG Mailbox Is Amazeballs’.) That was five days ago, but the story is still trending. Why? Because most of us identify strongly with the TechCrunch writer: we too get ‘antsy’ just looking at our inbox. “It’s difficult to overstate how big the email problem is,” Mr Lawler analyzed. “Many of us struggle to keep up with the hundreds or thousands of emails that we get every day, each of which is asking for some action.” Kudos, then, to the Palo Alto guys from Mailbox, fighting hard to ‘put email in its place’ for the sake of our productivity. In case you’re wondering, I’m not one of the company’s stakeholders. I’m not even a beta user. I’ve just been preoccupied solving the email overload problem myself.
Inbox Zero for companies While apps like this one might solve the email problem for individuals, they won’t work for companies. Achieving ‘Inbox Zero’ from your corporate email address is like a mirage – just when you think you have it in sight, it’s gone. Inbox maintenance works fine if you can instantly delete messages or provide a conclusive reply within a minute, but after that you find yourself playing email ping-pong – again. Unless you deal with it head on – like Facebook now does. TechCrunch recently reported that the company had begun using live chat to support its advertisers. Between the inconvenience of its phone support and its labyrinth of a resource center, Facebook realized that the main obstacle to conversion was its ability to solve its advertisers’ problems in an instant. If you’re a small business owner, chances are you just heaved a groan. Facebook is big enough to handle those many chat requests, but you’re not. You don’t have a huge call-center, and you don’t have the budget to staff an efficient chat support team, right? Sure. But who says you need to?
Blending the best of both There’s a new technique in town, that can instantly turn any static email into a live chat conversation. All those hours or even days wasted on email exchanges can be condensed into a live chat exchange that takes place in minutes. We call this technique ‘hybrid messaging’, but call it what you want. Fact is: it’s amazeballs for companies, especially small and medium ones. With hybrid messaging, you take up live chat whenever you feel like it – on the go, or at your desk – and so do your customers. If you happen to be online at the same time, you can start a chat conversation; if one of you goes back offline, you continue seamlessly with email. My startup incorporates hybrid messaging with the other elements small to medium-sized businesses need to support their customers across channels, such as phone call management, social media monitoring, and case tracking. Our beta users – we launched out of beta last week – were surprised how easily their customers took to this new form of messaging. We weren’t. Just think about it: how long did it take you to get used to WhatsApp or iMessage? Exactly. Messaging – the best of email and the best of live chat – is logical. It’s the future of email, for both individuals and companies. So what are you waiting for? Try Casengo now. The first agent license is –and will always be –free.
UPDATE FEB 3, 2015: Casengo adds WhatsApp to customer service software.