Capturing Email Communication in Traditional CRM Systems is TERRIBLE
There, I said it. And I’ve been implementing CRM and business systems since 2004. The challenge with the traditional CRM approach is that most CRMs offer one of two options:
- You get a plugin for your email client (if you’re lucky and your CRM supports your email client) and for each and every email, your users need to right-click on the email and click Archive. The user then has to search for a record to archive the email against and then finally the user can save the email. Rinse and repeat for every email you receive.
- You get an email address to CC or BCC on every email. You’ll capture any emails you remember to BCC on and miss any client responses.
The reality of both of these approaches is that you’ll capture communications intermittently at best.
We decided to build an email integration that we actually wanted to use. Here’s how it works.
When an email is sent from Fieldmagic as a quote, a job notification, customer invoice, purchase order or supplier invoice, the email is sent via our cloud email infrastructure, which automatically tags the original email with a unique identifier in much the same way that ticketing systems work. However, instead of the email thread being linked to a ticket, the email thread is linked to the original Fieldmagic record.
When the customer reads the email and then replies to that email, the email is sent to a unique email address associated with that email thread, which triggers a number of key events:
- The email is sent to the Fieldmagic servers as the first step. This triggers our scalable, event-based email handling infrastructure, which automatically captures the email into the original email thread within Fieldmagic.
- The email is automatically forwarded to any recipients on the original email thread (recipients can choose to unsubscribe to each thread as needed).
From your user’s standpoint, it appears as if the customer has responded directly to them, when in reality the email has passed via our email handling infrastructure and been automatically forwarded to the relevant recipients, ensuring that critical customer communication is captured in the meantime.
The same is true when your users respond to the customer emails. The email that is forwarded to the original thread participants behaves in the same way as the original email. This means that your user does not need to go back into the CRM to respond to the email - they can simply reply to the message as they would any other email and it will be captured automatically into the CRM and the customer will be sent the email as if the email came directly from that customer.
What’s the end result?
The end result of this is:
- You’ll have an email archiving system that users will actually use.
- When you view a record within Fieldmagic. you’ll see all relevant email communication related to the customer, quote, job or invoice, not just communications that your users remembered to send to their CRM.
- We group email messages by thread, so your users aren’t overwhelmed by endless emails that obscure other types of communication within the CRM (i.e. notes, phone calls)
- When you capture an email against a job, for example, we automatically make that email thread visible in the associated site site and customer record. We’re able to do this because our CRM is designed for field services, and so we’re able to create the automations that matter to that industry.
It’s not just for customer communication
Consider this scenario:
- You’re quoting on a new opportunity for a large project and need to get quotes from multiple subcontractors or suppliers as part of putting that quote together.
- You want to track the communication with those suppliers against the opportunity so that you can quickly reference those quotes in future when creating purchase orders.
If you simply send the original request for quote to your supplier from the opportunity, any replies to that email along with any associated quotes included on that email are automatically captured against the opportunity with no additional effort from your users. It’s seamless.
Check out a few screenshots of the screens involved below.