Your Company’s Customer Service Email Inbox, Unpacked


Are non-essential emails getting in the way of delivering the best possible CX? Let’s look at the data (and a real case study) on the impact spam can have.

This article is part of Simplr’s CX Data Lab, where we leverage analytics and data science from within the Simplr platform to uncover best practices and trends in customer service interactions.

It goes without saying that our email inboxes are overflowing. Personally, mine is chock full of automated messages, marketing promotions, news alerts, and updates from products I’ve never even heard of. Filters help but are sometimes not enough to stave off the influx of mail. 

Businesses have the same issue. We here at Simplr see hundreds of thousands of customer service emails every day. Of course, as a data scientist, it is my job to make sense of the data and help businesses remove barriers to providing the best possible customer experience. 

In this article, I’ll share what we found and offer up some best practices for managing a potentially unruly inbox.

What’s in My Brand’s Inbox?

The Simplr data science team looked at the ticket types across many of Simplr’s partners.

Here’s the breakdown of what we found in an average customer service email inbox::

  • 87% of tickets are standard customer service inquiries and communications (i.e. ones that should be resolved.)
  • 13% of emails were flagged as content that is not customer-facing. Specifically:
  • 4% marketing/promotional content
  • 4% blank messages
  • 3.5% spam
  • 1% legal-focused content
  • 0.5% “politically charged” content

While these may seem minor, they can cause major headaches without the proper processes in place.

The Best Ways to Handle Non-Essential Customer Service Email

At best, a crowded inbox is a mild distraction for your CX team. At worst, it’s a risk to your business –clogging up resources that could otherwise be spent responding to actual customers.

The key to success is to have processes in place to properly sort, escalate, or ignore non-customer emails. The earlier this happens the better. That way, systems are in place as the company grows. It also comes in handy during unexpected spikes in spam, but more on that later). 

This is what you and your team should keep in mind to ensure email inbox health:

  1. Set rules around which types of emails should not be answered. This one depends on your industry. In many cases, we’ve found that companies will not engage with emails that are political or legal in nature. These rules should be set across the company and written out in handbooks and policy materials.
  2. Identify which emails don’t need to be answered at all. Spam, blanks, and promotional emails are generally ignored completely. Again, this depends on the nature of your business (for example, a marketing email might be a request for collaboration). 
  1. Invest in automation that can correctly identify #1 and #2 and escalate or ignore them, respectively. Quality aritifical intelligence is the most efficient way to auto-handle email tickets that don’t require a resolution. This keeps your internal agents focused on what matters: offering quick and friendly resolutions to your customer emails. 
  1. Make sure that your email policy is upheld by your customer service outsourcing partners. Unfortunately, some third-party vendors will respond to non-essential emails and charge you for the work. This is an unnecessary drain on your resources and takes focus away from your actual customers. 

Setting the groundwork for how every email is handled is the best way to increase efficiency and avoid the risk of customer neglect. 

Use Case: When Spam Attacks!

Earlier this year, one of Simplr’s ecommerce partners experienced a sudden spike in spam emails. We’re talking 8-10x their normal amount. Why? We’re not sure. But this stuff happens… and it could happen to your business, too.

We didn’t anticipate an event like this, but our spam and ticket algorithms solutions successfully detected it and auto-handled the vast majority of it. Thanks to this quick action, we were able to keep the disruption minimal for our partner and for the experts in our Human Cloud Network

Be Inbox Aware! 

Don’t let non-essential emails get in the way of a fantastic customer (and agent!) experience. By setting guidelines and rules around email types, you will set your business up for success even during moments of unexpected volume. 

Simplr offers businesses the only solution on the market that combines artificial intelligence and human labor to combat customer neglect and increase customer service efficiency. For more information, visit simplr2021.wpengine.com