5 Reasons to Use Gmail as Your Customer Support System
It is not always needed to invest into a fancy and expensive customer support system. In fact Gmail turns out to be very reliable and useful for customer support e-mails if you don’t have to answer 1000 e-mails a day. It provides all the needed features like filter, predefined answers, displaying discussions on one stack and – known how to – even automatically labeling and answering customer requests.
Reliable and free
First of all Gmail is a pretty cheap solution, it’s free. And it provides a lot of space, tons of features and is a reliable service. By using Google Apps for business you even can route all your emails directly to gmail and using your own URL in the e-mails address. There are two services: standard and premier. Use standard, it’s free too.
Labels, labels, labels
In our system we use labels to classify e-mails to whom they belong, if they are answered, resolved or urgent. The labeling makes it very convenient if you have several people who handle the customer requests. So you can create for example a label for “Billing” and then everyone knows which e-mails to process. At the end of the post you’ll see how to let Gmail label your mails automatically.
Usually a lot of people ask the same questions. A very big time saver to cope with that is the feature to insert predefined texts into an e-mail.
“Canned responses” is a feature of the Gmail labs. Simply enable it there and go to “Compose message” and write your first predefined text. As soon as you are done click below the subject field on “Canned responses” and choose “New canned response…”. That’s it, next time you want to use this text-snippet you can simply chose it from the “Canned responses” dropdown.
Filters – start to automate your customer support
Filters make Gmail very flexible. You can forward certain incoming emails directly to your account. Or you can mark messages “as read” that is useful if you receive automated messages from other sites like your autoresponder-system which is notifying you about new subscribers.
Magic labeling and answering
If you combine the labels together with filter, you will be able to define rules, which will apply the labels on mails with certain characteristics. By time you will see how your customers write and that will let you create rules for automatically labeling. For example you can create a rule to add the label “Finances” if an e-mail contains the phrase “refund”. Well, let’s hope you won’t get too many such e-mails, but you get the idea.
It is even possible to send automated responses after a certain filter rule has been triggered. So it is possible to send to every e-mail a message to confirm, that the request has arrived and that you will answer it within 24 hours or something like that. You are very flexible to create rules for all kinds of messages.
What are your experiences with customer support systems? Do you already use Gmail too?