Estes Forwarding Worldwide boosted team morale by cutting down duplicate emails when they moved from Outlook email to Front.
Estes Forwarding Worldwide, a leading domestic and international freight forwarder in the United States, creates customized logistics solutions for clients worldwide. EFW is highly focused on the “EFW Experience,” a catchphrase the company has adopted to define its key differentiators and its commitment to delivering the highest level of service. The company has implemented a formal Net Promoter Program and uses the data collected to continually improve and enhance the EFW Experience, keeping its partner and customer relationships strong. As you might imagine, EFW handles a high volume of email communication to accomplish this mission. So much, in fact, they needed to find a way to make it more efficient and manageable.
Marissa Taylor, Manager of Business Process Improvement at EFW, noticed the email flood issue as she traveled to talk with EFW’s teams to help identify opportunities to improve processes. She says, “As I was sitting with a team member, I noticed they were getting notification after notification. It seemed to be endless. It was an overwhelming amount.” After reviewing some data, Taylor found most of the 150+ teammates across 15 teams were receiving an extremely high number of emails.
A flood of emails overwhelmed the EFW teams
Taylor quickly identified the root cause of the issue. The teams were using shared inboxes in Outlook on Exchange, with a plethora of distribution lists that continually split out emails. She shares, “We had almost as many shared distribution lists as employees! So it’s possible that one person could be tied to a dozen distribution lists.” Some team members were receiving hundreds of emails, even up to a thousand emails, a day.
Reducing the “noise”
With distribution lists, when one email is received, it multiplies by sending a copy to each member of that distribution list. Their teammates had to dedicate time each day to identify if someone handled the email, if it still needed to be handled or if it’s an email that can just be filed away. With the volume of emails their teams were receiving, the time allotted to removing the “noise” was extremely high. Taylor knew that they needed a solution to streamline and reduce the number of emails flooding each team member’s inbox. This would provide their teammates additional time to perform exceptional service to their partners and customers.
EFW began onboarding their teams onto Front’s shared inboxes at the beginning of 2020. Currently, 15 of the teams are using Front.
Onboarding was simple and allowed teams to get started with ease
Taylor is enthusiastic about how easy it was to onboard EFW’s teams with the help of Nicole Tettke, their Onboarding Manager. “Nicole was just the best. She’s very well-versed in all things Front, and she’s been a great partner during the process.”
Taylor also shares that it was invaluable to have everything working correctly when they rolled out Front’s system. They were able to provide a seamless onboarding experience and ensure everything worked when it was launched, which made it much easier to get users onboard with the new platform.
Using Front, EFW reduces email volume 80%
EFW recently ran the data for their Atlanta team, which was onboarded in July and was one of the highest volume teams in terms of email. Since using Front, daily email volume was reduced by an average of 725 emails per person per day, which equates to an 80% reduction of daily volume. Taylor says, “Front is a no-brainer for teams that have a high volume of email, share an inbox, or collaborate with each other to help service their customer. I love the platform. I wish I had it years ago.”
Rules and chat keep the email flood controlled
The teams use a combination of rules based on client or keyword and tags to route each email to the team members who need to handle the message. If a teammate is unsure how to respond or has a question, they use Front’s commenting feature to get help. Eliminating the distribution lists and forwarding of messages significantly reduced the email deluge.
When EFW onboarded the first team onto Front, Taylor immediately started getting feedback from happy teammates. She says, “I remember one of them sharing ‘It’s so nice to open my email and not have 1,000 emails to work through! I only have to look at the emails that I need to handle.’” And when the pandemic hit, they were ecstatic about how easy Front made it to work together remotely. The ability to collaborate within the platform made transitioning to remote work more seamless.