Inbox Zero – 7 Productivity Hacks to achieve Zero support requests

In an ideal world, what is the total number of pending tickets you would like to see in your organization’s support inbox? That answer is quite simple – Zero. Now, what would you as an organization, need to do to achieve the Inbox Zero situation?

Productivity expert Merlin Mann defines Inbox Zero support as a rigorous approach to email management aimed at keeping the inbox empty, or nearly empty at all times. Merlin’s concept is not of an inbox that is empty. It is driven more towards freeing up the time and energy of a support agent so that his productivity never takes a toll.

Why have a Inbox Zero?

The Inbox Zero is the ultimate goal for all support teams because it signifies two very important things. It is solid proof that you are having an awesome product/service and that your customers are absolutely happy and have no complains. The other achievement is that you have empowered your customers really well to handle their own issues, as a result of which they never have to reach out to your support staff.

How do you achieve Inbox Zero?

The concept of Inbox Zero might be tagged to a mailbox, but it is primarily about stabilizing customer support. To achieve the same, you need a robust, feature-rich help desk. With the help of the right help desk, you will be able to successfully execute the five commandments of Inbox Zero according to Merlin Mann.

  • Delete
  • Delegate
  • Respond
  • Defer
  • Do

Merlin’s slogans are simple. Any support team can achieve Inbox Zero if they are consistently able to do one of the above to every ticket in their inbox.

  1. If the ticket is spam or pointless information, immediately get rid of it.
  2. If the ticket has to be addressed by staff from another team like sales or development, transfer it across to the appropriate team and notify them of the same
  3. If the ticket is just a clarification/request, respond and close it right away
  4. If it is not of priority, defer it to a specified date and move it to a different folder
  5. If it requires that some task be completed, do it then and there

How HappyFox can help you achieve Inbox Zero

Inbox Zero is difficult to achieve with a basic email account like Gmail because it does not have the necessary features required to manage your inbox efficiently.

HappyFox help desk has been built with a goal of making customer support extremely simple for the support team. Here’s a look at HappyFox’s 7 productivity hacks to achieve Inbox Zero.

1. Categorization and Prioritization

The primary advantage of using a dedicated help desk over your regular Gmail inbox is the categorization and prioritization. Half the support work is plainly about organizing your support inbox. If the inbox is cluttered, it makes support chaotic, affects your first response and resolution times and most importantly, makes you miss out on critical tickets.

HappyFox lets you create categories, prioritize tickets, move them to folders depending on priority and address them periodically. You can immediately respond to tickets that require one line answers, move urgent tickets to a separate category called ‘Urgent’, escalate tickets etc, to ensure that you always know which tickets belongs where.

2. Smart Notifications

To maintain a Inbox Zero, you always need to be on top of all the issues that come to your mailbox. With the help of HappyFox notifications, support staff will always be notified about incoming tickets, changes in tickets etc, so that they can immediately respond to the ticket or categorize it depending on the ticket and priority.

3. Self-service, Knowledge base and Forums

Over and above the five rules of Delete, Delegate, Respond, Defer and Do, there is a very vital component to the Inbox Zero. It is to reduce incoming tickets as a whole, so you have a smaller cleaner inbox to handle. This is where self-service plays an important role. With HappyFox’s robust knowledge base management, you can enable your customers to help themselves using the support center and eliminate chances of reaching out to you.

With a clear, concise and easily accessible set of knowledge base articles that contain quick and effective solutions to commonly asked questions, you can completely stabilize the support process and achieve Inbox Zero state.

Forums are also very useful as they cultivate cross-customer interaction, allows customers to help one another and thereby reduce chances of incoming tickets.

4. Well-trained, motivated and equipped support agents

At the end of the day, great customer service is all about informed and intelligent support staff who are humane, polite and understanding. With the right kind of training, support agents will be able to handle issues without having to accumulate your inbox with tickets.

5. HappyFox Mobile for support on the move

With the help of HappyFox Mobile, support staff can even check tickets and reply to them from wherever they are. With both iOS and Android support, all that is required for support agents is a smartphone for them to be in constant connect with all incoming tickets.

HappyFox notifications update appropriate staff on changes in tickets, replies etc, so that staff can reply to tickets or do the necessary actions right from their mobile phone.

6. Smart Rules and Automation

With the help of HappyFox Smart Rules, you can configure a set of predefined instructions on how tickets should be categorized, prioritized and escalated.

For example, if you want all sales tickets to be assigned to your sales manager Paul, just create a set of rules for the same and mails that come in will automatically be converted to tickets and assigned to Paul and your inbox will remain clean.

You can similarly create rules for prioritization so that tickets nearing SLAs can be escalated and there are no pending or unanswered tickets ever in your email inbox.

7. Reporting, Analytics and feedback

HappyFox Reporting is robust, clear and identifies process bottlenecks that prevent you from  getting a Inbox Zero. By eliminating those pain areas, you can improve your support and pick key performance metrics that help achieve the same.

This also comes via proper motivation from customer service managers. Support agents should be encouraged to take feedback from customers both via phone and email, that have to be reviewed regularly to understand what your customers feel are lacking in your support.

Feel free to add comments on any other valuable point you might have to achieve Inbox Zero support and we will be happy to add them to our list.

 

Murali Satagopan

Customer service blogger, HappyFox enthusiast.