A company’s greatest asset is its people. So it makes sense that employee happiness and engagement are key areas of focus for businesses.
This is especially true today when burnout is rampant and employee experience is rocky, particularly with blurred lines for work life balance while remote:
So as a professional in outsourced HR services, you already know that companies are putting incredible trust in you to take care of their employees. And any good HR business would want to do the same for their own employees.
One easy way to improve the employee and client experience? Improve your email processes.
Here’s why: your team relies on email to communicate with clients. Since teams are in email all day, every day, improving email is an easy way to improve your team’s day-to-day experience.
Read on for 5 ways to improve client and employee experiences with better email practices.
1. Get email volume under control.
One reason email is part of the problem for employees is sheer volume. Teams are overloaded. In a study of more than 2,000 workers across the US, 68 percent said the number of emails they've sent and received has risen over the last three years.
And the pandemic isn’t helping the problem—50% of respondents say they receive more than 20 additional emails each week than they did before the transition to remote work.
Cutting down on email volume can free up time, allowing your team to do better work for clients and feel less stress on a daily basis.
A lot of teams depend on individual email inboxes and distribution lists to manage communication with clients. One great solution? Moving to a shared inbox model. It can fix this and cut down on volume significantly. We’ll cover this in more depth below.
2. Create shared visibility and context
You likely have in-depth and sensitive knowledge of your clients’ businesses. It’s absolutely needed to be successful with HR-related projects. So your team has to be available for urgent issues when they arise, for issues with payroll, tax forms, onboarding, and more.
To keep client communications smooth, you need to have the visibility and context of the message. One of the most frustrating experiences for clients is having to repeat themselves several times when they need help. Often times, a lot of the context gets siloed into individual inboxes, making it hard to be efficient or productive.
That’s where shared inboxes come in: instead of depending on individual inboxes and distribution lists, move to shared inboxes.
This means less duplication of messages, more visibility across the team into messages with clients, and better transparency for anyone helping, without piling up individual inboxes and overloading individuals.
This produces an overall better client experience too—since your team can reply faster!
3. Free up time by automating email triage and organization.
When you’re working at an HR outsourcing firm, your expertise is your main product. That means spending a lot of time communicating—usually over email.
The average worker spends 28 percent of their work week on email—that’s more than 11 hours a week! Anyone working in outsourced HR probably tops that.
Gmail and Outlook both provide some basic automation functionality that allows you to trigger actions like moving or labeling messages. But they don’t help with more rigorous workflows, like SLA adherence.
That’s where traditional email lets you down. It’s hard to tell what is most important, and emails slip through the cracks. This results in a stressful experience for your team—and a poor experience for your client on the other side when they don’t get a reply from you.
4. Connect email with the other apps your team relies on.
Your team likely references CRM, project management tools, and much more to get work done.
But email doesn’t connect with all these apps your team uses. This means your team is left clicking around and losing track of everything—essentially, wasting time with every unneeded click.
But it’s more than just wasted time: it increased the chances that your team inputs outdated or wrong data, which hurts client experience, especially when it’s confidential information around hiring, compensation, or employee experiences.
5. Give clear ownership to emails.
If you're using a distribution list or group alias, there's no way for your team to know who's responsible for replying to an email from a client. This brings about two key problems:
Your team sends more than one reply—maybe even with different answers
Or, no one replies because everyone thinks (or hopes) someone else has already replied
With clear accountability over emails, there’s no confusion over who should reply. Less stress! Shared inboxes are again helpful for this, so you can assign a clear owner to every email. It’s beneficial for the team too so everyone is confident in what they need to be doing and what they’re responsible for.
That’s of course not the outcome you want for your clients, and for your business, you want clients coming back for more. A few adjustments to email—and using a shared inbox—can help you prevent that, making employees and clients happier.
Improve employee engagement and happiness by getting email under control
Written by Emily Hackeling
Originally Published: 21 January 2022