Keeping colleagues in the loop

Published: Thursday, Jun 4, 2020 Last modified: Sunday, Sep 20, 2020

Say your business @example.com is interacting with a customer client@bank. I’ve long lamented the need for mailing list archives, but in practice:

Office 365

A Group is created within Outlook

So for example it would be bank@example.com becomes to integration point. In the Microsoft world, it feels a bit primitive, as the Group is just an alias.

Pros:

Cons:

To share a message in the past, what I’ve seen people do is create an .eml attachment. Referring to attachment in my experience is incredibly awkward compared to a URL you just click.

Fastmail

Fastmail has the ability to share a folder, so you get the ability to add someone to the folder, and that new person has context of the previous correspondence.

In the past I’ve created a Sales folder and when sending emails it would be:

From: hendry@example.com
Reply-to: sales@example.com

You can conceivably split up folders and move mail between folders, so most of the cons from Office 365 are addressed.

However there are some cons like:

Gmail / Gsuite

Use a group as a Collaborative Inbox appears to be Google’s answer to shared mailboxes with the added ability to tag, which appears quite useful. Sidenote: Fastmail claims to support tagging/labelling in the near future.

I have not tried Gsuite’s Group feature, so I don’t know the nuances of the product, however my trusted Singaporean corporate secretary had this to say:

The interface doesn't make clear what is the status of each topic or ticket for lack of a better word.

Are you able to tell when a colleague is crafting a reply in the group?

That’s one problem. You have to assign, otherwise it just sits there.

Another problem is that you can’t easily tell if the ticket has been seen by the colleague and resolved.

So checking and managing is a problem.

I recall some weird quirk too where you had to cc the group email to keep all correspondence in the ticket. If you replied to an external party without cc, it wouldn’t show on the ticket. But I think that’s been fixed by now.

Other solutions

I am not a fan of “ticketing systems” since they tend to bring email out of … standards based email, but there tools I’ve used like https://www.helpscout.com/ which are quite effective.