Oops! I Shouldn’t Have Sent That!

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We all know that sinking feeling – that “oh no” moment when you realize you’ve hit “Send” too soon.  Was the customer still in the distribution list?  Did I just forward confidential information or embarrassing comments to my customer?  Did my colleague reply-to-all without taking the customer out of the thread?

Email is notorious for accidents like these.  You need to discuss a customer issue internally to come up with a response, so you forward the email.  The internal team shares information and opinions privately with each other.  Then you accidentally include the whole thing when you reply.  Or maybe someone just replied-to-all without realizing the customer was in the distribution list.  There are a lot of ways email can trip us up like this.

Why do these mistakes happen? 

We share customers’ emails internally because they help us frame the discussion.  The customers’ messages provide important context. The problem is that internal and external email communications can easily get comingled.  It takes a lot of discipline to scan the distribution list and all the forwards of forwards that scroll on seemingly forever.  Who has the time for that?

How can we avoid these mistakes?

The trick is to separate the internal discussion from the customer conversation.  Let internal staff follow the customer conversation, but keep their comments separate.  Include only the customer-facing staff in the customer conversations.  Keep the customer’s email address out of the internal discussion.  It sounds simple, and it is, but not if you’re using email.

Customers are going to keep sending us emails.  We can’t ask them to change, but that doesn’t limit us.  We can use tools that automatically structure internal discussions around customer email conversations – tools designed for customer-centered internal collaboration.

Learn more at www.backflipt.com.