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Author patilint
#1 | Posted: 15 Aug 2007 06:47 
The manager in our CS department is trying to initiate a 'group' email for orders that come in so in case someone is out - their orders get processed in a timely fashion. This is a great way to insure that all orders are processed timely, however, it does present some alternative problems.

We now each handle certain market segments and physical territories in the world- and now all orders will be dumped into the group email.

Is anyone out there using this method, and if so, how is it working and what have you found that may help us start this rolling?


Author Pankaj
#2 | Posted: 15 Aug 2007 06:56 

You have a point.

Though this will be a very effective step towards prompt processing of the orders that are coming in however the incentive will be a problem.

In my view, either the territory in charge should take care of all the order that are coming in from his territory or he should be ready to share some incentive with that team member who has processed that order in his absence. In all such cases the system should facilitate the processing person some flagging facility so that all such orders could be calculated at a later date.

Pankaj Trivedi

Author patilint
#3 | Posted: 15 Aug 2007 07:37 
The problem is that there are 5 reps with 5 different customers and territories. Who handles what orders- each handle their own? who handles the 'difficult' ones? how do you measure promptness of handling? who moniters when someone or two are out?

Who is accountable if orders are not done and the rep is in the office, but maybe in meetings or just busy with other duties, calls etc.

Lots of questions need to be answered....would like to talk to someone who is using this...any ideas?


Author ayaree
#4 | Posted: 17 Aug 2007 19:49 
Howdy, Pati, not sure if I have the best answer for this. I have about 30 different clients over the course of a year, and most of them ("them" being the customers or suppliers of my clients) communicate with us by email--and we have a group email account for each of these distinct client areas. I don't know if you use a ticketing system, I am assuming you have a climate that involves person-to-person by name (ie, an email is sent to Pati@hercompany.com and not contact@thisproduct.com . A ticketing system might be able to parse these up the way you want. But even if you don't use one, you can use different email accounts for the different regions you have. Trouble there might be that this would require a campaign to communicate the email info to the customer users.

I may not be grasping the situation correctly, so you will of course and please note that.

I think what you are looking at is the basics of "do I know if this is for me or not" and "did you handle that or not, it was for me, but you covered me, and I am making sure you did." Assignment management we can call it for short. There is a portion of business support I provide that involves people monitoring "group" emails and checking with others in the group and asking those very things I listed. They have methods of storing completed communications/actions that are pretty "manual" and basic (they just store the email in a certain folder when completed). this would get messy once that small business area became much more active though. I think you are probably looking at intra-team coordination of incoming emails and there may be some degree of sloppiness to it, but it is not impossible to manage. It's going to involve a discipline around the sender-to-your group (and who handles that customer) and "did that get done?"

Can you come back to me with any comments on what I have said, so I can see if I capiche enough? I don't know when the manager wants to have this new situation up and running, but some habits need to be formed among the group, I think.

Author patilint
#5 | Posted: 20 Aug 2007 06:34 
You are correct with thinking that there will need to be disciplined habits among the group and that is what is bothering me. Even though I will probably be in Arizona before all this happens, it worries me that my customers will not get the service on their problems and orders that I provide now.

Not that I am the only one that provides quick, accurate and timely service, but there are some that are more laid back and if they get to something ok - and if not it can wait till the next day. I don't work like that.

I think if we had a general email by region it might work better but that is basically what we have now. There are only 5 of us for the entire North American and South American continents - and some international customers
and each of us has our own email...so there is one email for each region.

I am not a fan of change just for the sake of change. If something doesn't work, then you need to change it...but, if something works and you just need to tweak it - then don't change the whole system...just amend it.

The reason they are doing this is for vacations and sick days so that email gets covered. I think we could do the vacations but just leaving our email addresses with the manager and someone signs on to it if you are out sick. Vacations are not a problem as we leave an 'out of office' message before we go. To change to something which will involve alot of manipulation and 'ticketing" for every day seems to defeat what we already have that works well.

Oh well...nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Author ayaree
#6 | Posted: 20 Aug 2007 19:04 
Pati, do you think this new manager is not cutting it from a service standpoint? You sound like you are about to leave a company that is your second home and you are having to leave it in improper hands. Mind you, you are moving on to things that are very meaningful, but that doesn't mean you have to like the present situation. I wonder if an exit interview (if those exist where you work) would do any good. I get the impression the new person coming in is not making you feel good.

The share-the-email password method can work, but it might look like people are doing just that (sharing email/network passwords instead of some other solution). I know you mentioned Out of Office (presumably with alternative contacts) is something you have been doing. I think there is room for something more rugged (not robust like a new ticketing system per se, but sturdy) without eliminating a personal touch from the usual person. A shared email account can help with this scenario.

Frankly, if someone is not keeping up with the service standard, or at least an approximation of what you described in terms of email service, Pati, they need to be reeled in and counseled to conform and step up. I would think you've adapted to some changes over 30 (or 27) years; the others can follow suit.

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