Andrew: Hi Rob,
Rob: Hey Andrew! What’s up?
Andrew: Nothing much. Checking out some customer mails. This is interesting. Also, time consuming.
Rob: Why so?
Andrew: I like to know my customer’s feedback and their pain points. However, my lots of times goes in managing these mails prior I get the actual information. My team sometimes miss out mails due to one or the other reasons. I think I should go for any tool that stream line these things more properly.
Rob: That’s a wise decision.
Andrew: I need a simple tool that helps me managing customer queries and enhance customer experience too. Do you have any idea which one I should go for?
Rob: There are many CRM tools available in market. However, I know that you don’t need a system with full of features as of now. Those might cost you much more which is not appropriate.
Andrew: Exactly! You know my pain point buddy…
Rob: 🙂 Yeah. Don’t worry. You know you can build a free CRM using Gmail?
You can use Gmail as a simple and free CRM tool.
Andrew: How is that possible?
Rob: It will not just manage your messed up mails but it can also help you improvise on certain things such as improvise your service, product, shorten the response time, etc… Give a minute to think on the problems you want to resolve with your CRM system.
Manage contacts and groups in Gmail
The very first thing you must be thinking about is managing contacts of your staff and customers. May be of suppliers and some other people involved in your business too. Yeah?
Rob: Use Contact Groups in Gmail. This will make this easy… Using groups you can create groups of some important clients, staff members, etc…
Andrew: I see. Also, our lots of time gets invested in similar mails. How Gmail can help me with this problem?
Canned Responses in Gmail
Rob: Gmail has a feature of canned response. Save the similar replies as canned replies in Gmail and whenever you want to reply, just insert the saved text without copy-paste and you are done.
Andrew: How do I create a canned response in Gmail?
Rob: Go to the settings by clicking on Gear icon given at the top-right corner.
Under labs tab, find option named “Canned Responses”. Enable the option and click on “Save Changes” button given at the bottom of the page.
Once you do this settings, you will have an option in arrow in your reply window where you will have option to add, edit or remove the canned responses.
This will save your all’s lots of time typing/copy-pasting similar mails to your customer. With this it will improvise the response time also as it will enable you to response quickly.
Out of office message
While canned replies helps to reply to individual mails quickly, what if your mails get replied automatically?
Andrew: You mean Gmail will automatically reply to my mails?
Rob: Yup. Using a combination of “Gmail filters” and “Canned responses”, this is possible. Set a filter with a search result like mentioned in the screenshot:
Once you set this filter, it will auto send the mail you will do it manually to your customers.
Andrew: Rob, Sometimes I have lots of inquiries all of sudden due to discount offers, server down or one or the other reason. How can Gmail help me with this?
Rob: There is an Gmail add-on named “batch reply for gmail”. Using this you can reply to multiple mails at a time. Just mark all the mails you want to reply and there is a button titled “Reply” at top. Using it you can reply to all the marked mails with one response.
Andrew: That’s quite useful Andrew. Thanks!
My next concern is – How can I prioritize some important clients and mails using Gmail?
Prioritize customers and urgent Inquiries
Using starts in Gmail one can give priority to the mails. For example. To set up stars,
- Go to your Gmail inbox.
- Click on the Gear (Settings) icon at the top right corner.
- Click on Settings.
- In General tab find options named under label “Stars”.
- Define different color for different priority and you are good to go.
Andrew: Cool! But how can I distribute or assign prioritized/non-prioritized mails among team members?
Use Labels to bifurcate emails in Gmail
Let’s say you usually receive general product inquiry and new product requests. In this case, you can bifurcate these inquiries using labels.
To auto attach label to any mail, set up filters with the auto label action.
Once you have mails bifurcated, you can divide among your team members as well. This will help in distribution of support work.
Andrew: Interesting. Thank you so much Dan for these tips. I am sure these will help me and my team mates.
Rob: That’s my pleasure Andrew! Remember practice makes the man perfect. Unless and until you won’t practice these you will not get the expected results.
I feel many of you have the same story as Dan. Take out some of the Rob’s tips and try to applying to your mail account. You will get a free customer relationship management tool with the help of the simply amazing features of Gmail!