In recent decades numerous digital communication channels have become mainstream, leaving many assuming that email has gone the way of the dinosaurs. But while myriad apps and social media have exploded in popularity, email remains a predominate communication vehicle for millions, particularly when their alternative is a phone call.
According to research firm Statistica, 333.2 billion e-mails are estimated to be sent and received daily in 2022, with growth projected to be over 376.4 billion daily mails by 2025. Further, the Email Addition Research Report notes that over 70% of consumers believe email is the best channel for company contact, preferring it almost twice as much as any other channel. Although many people prefer other communication channels, almost everyone still maintains one or more email addresses. Additionally, email is near real-time, works on virtually every platform and mobile device, is application agnostic, and has no character limit or content restriction.
Most companies also continue to rely on email for both internal communications between employees and external communications with customers, suppliers, partners, investors, media, etc. Even the most cutting-edge technology companies that offer multiple contact channels, or even their own apps, still find that many customers prefer to use email to connect.
Interestingly, email management has often been overlooked by companies’ digital transformation initiatives, and thus continues to be a mostly manual activity. As emails arrive, a human agent must typically open, read, and answer each message. Depending on the content, it may also require the agent to research answers to specific questions (like order status or troubleshooting procedure), and it could even require routing to another specialized person or team.
Traditional email process
As the volume of email increases, companies face the difficult choice of either increasing their staff of human agents, with commensurate cost increase, or providing less timely or detailed responses, which inevitably results in negative human experience impacts.
Email response templates and expert agents can certainly help, but it is impractical and expensive to scale a team of human agents to manually read and respond to every one of the hundreds or thousands (or millions) of emails a company receives. The time is now to digitally transform the email management function.
The ActioHX Cognitive Email solution analyzes each email to identify the action needed, then either auto-responds with the right information or intelligently routes it to the team or individual best able to serve the customer.
Cognitive Email process
Cognitive Email significantly reduces the human effort associated with reading and responding to customer (and prospective customer) queries. First, emails are classified to identify those that don’t actually require any response.
With one company’s support email channel, ActioHX found that a quarter of all email received required no response at all. These included messages acknowledging successful resolution of an issue, auto-replies, spam, and a variety of other conditions. Eliminating thousands of “no response required” emails enabled dozens of human agents to be redeployed to other more valuable activities without need to hire additional staff.
For the 75% of email volume requiring a response, the classification engine found that more than 10% were asking for information like order status, pricing details, and other commonly asked questions, making them perfect candidates for an auto-response with a link to self-service options, or in some cases, a simple answer. If a company were concerned about fully automating these replies, perhaps because of sensitive or highly technical content, the automated email responses could be prepared and queued for an agent to review prior to sending.
With a third of the emails already dispositioned, the remaining two-thirds of the volume is further classified to evaluate the customer’s urgency and intent, enabling routing to the appropriate individual SME or team best able to answer and reply to the customer.
Beyond the reduced labor requirements, Cognitive Email drives more accuracy and consistency into email responses, while at the same time enabling responses to be more personal and relevant to the customer.
After the emails are fully processed, the ActioHX sentiment engine analyzes the full volume of processed emails, both the original customer intent and the final resolution, and classifies the messages into user-definable categories. Then specific actions are identified to improve both the process for finding the answers to customer questions, and the knowledge content itself. This helps increase the number of future emails that can be handled with auto-response and improves capabilities for both self-serve and human support.
Sentiment analysis and insights
Examples of insights could include:
More examples could be added, but the takeaway is that customers are providing a lot of rich data to companies with whom they communicate via email, and those companies have tremendous opportunity to improve human experience by listening more effectively.
ActioHX is ready to help you analyze that data and uncover the hidden sentiment in your email to turn this costly obligation into a source of insights to improve human experience. Contact us to today for a no-obligation assessment!