This is the second in a short series on successfully setting up your Emailgistics account. If you haven’t already done so, you should make sure your shared mailbox is properly configured in Office 365, and download and run the PowerShell script to onboard your first mailbox. See our guide “Getting Started: Onboarding” for more information on that process.
Setting Up Emailgistics Mailflow
The Emailgistics Administration suite provides a range of tools for ensuring maximum productivity and efficiency from your teams. Whether you are an administrator of a single mailbox or have full system administration privileges, it is helpful to understand what each function does and how it affects mailflow. We’ll look at each one in turn.
Primary navigation tools are found in the menu pane down the left side of the page; some of the resulting administration pages have multiple tabs and options within the page. In this guide, large bold type refers to a primary navigation option, bold italic type indicates a tab within that navigation option, and • bullet-pointed items are selectable options within that tab.
This tool provides an at-a-glance summary of status and privileges for a logged-in user.
Depending on a user’s level of access, they will see a summary of roles for the Emailgistics system
System Administrator Billing Administrator
and for each mailbox that they are a member of
Mailbox Administrator Mailbox User
- Availability – for every user, there appears a list of the mailboxes that user is a member of, alongside a slider button for “Available” and “Unavailable.” This slider should be moved to “available” at the beginning of a shift or workday, and returned to “unavailable” if the user is away from their desk for a prolonged period, or at the end of a workday. This toggle determines whether or not a user is included in the automated distribution of emails
If the Billing Administrator is not an active participant in the shared mailbox, this toggle should be set to “unavailable” for all mailboxes for which the Billing Administrator is a member.
For users with appropriate privileges, the Mailboxes menu brings up a list of all mailboxes currently active on the Emailgistics service. Clicking on a mailbox name will take you to the configuration options for that mailbox.
Clicking the Dashboard button will open a new browser tab containing a dashboard of real-time information about the mailbox. Information contained in that dashboard includes:
- Open – the number of currently open emails in the shared mailbox
- Received Today – the total number of messages delivered into the mailbox in the current reporting period (since midnight local time.)
- Replied Today – the total number of replies to messages sent from the mailbox in the current period.
- Unassigned – the total number of messages currently queued and waiting for an available agent below their Max Messages threshold.
- Active Users – users currently set to “Available” along with the average reply time for that agent in the current period.
- Average Reply Time – the overall average reply time for the mailbox as a whole, in the current period. Also, the improvement (green) or decreased performance (red) since the last active reporting period.
- Oldest Message – the length of time that the oldest unreplied message has been in the mailbox.
A list of the users in the active mailbox. Selecting a user will bring up a tool panel on the right-hand side of the screen where the following settings can be observed and/or modified:
- Available/unavailable toggle – a user with appropriate privileges can use this to force a change if the user has forgotten to change their status.
- Maximum Messages – the size of the user’s queue for automatic message distribution. A setting of 3-5 is suggested, as this will strike a balance between a constant flow of inbound messages and avoiding swamping or overwhelming one user with a mountain of email.
The Max Messages setting only affects incoming emails distributed through the automated distribution algorithm. It will not affect “assign to previous owner” settings nor messages assigned by a rule.
- User Privileges (where applicable)
– users can be granted or denied permissions by another user with higher access rights to Emailgistics. These settings will only appear if a user has rights to change them.
At least one user must be a System Administrator, and one a Billing Administrator. Emailgistics will not allow settings to be saved if privileges are withdrawn beyond this limitation.
This is the heart of the Emailgistics distribution logic. Two built-in rules are selectable at the top of the page, and additional rules can be constructed according to the needs of the team.
- Automatic Assignment – this setting drives the automated distribution of incoming messages to the “next available agent,” within the limitations of their “max messages” setting. Even with the automated assignment box checked, be aware that some messages may sit in the unassigned inbox if all agents are at their maximum message volume.
Automatic Assignment, if switched on, only comes into play if a message is not assigned through “assign to previous owner” or through a rule. Both those functions take precedence over automatic assignment.
- Assign to Previous Owner – this setting will send a customer reply back to the agent that initiated the conversation, if that agent is available. This setting allows you to strike the balance between “conversational affinity” (i.e. ensuring a customer has a consistent experience in addressing an issue with only one agent) and ensuring a prompt reply. If the initiating agent is not available, the reply will be subject to any other rules and to the automatic assignment engine.
As many rules as necessary can be written to override the
automatic assignment process. The structure and syntax of rules is familiar to users who have written rules for Outlook or other mail services: if a condition is met (which may include email subject, from address, words or phrases contained in the body, etc) then an action is taken (assign to a specific user, send an auto-reply, close the message), unless an exception (select from a similar set of criteria to “conditions”) is triggered.
Multiple rules may be set up. They are actioned in order; that order can be changed by dragging-and-dropping the rules within their listing.
The Rules section of the administration tool is the only place where it is required to save your work before moving on. A friendly reminder will pop up if you attempt to navigate away from the Rules page without saving your changes!
- Remove Mailbox – the final tab in the Mailboxes section is self-explanatory. Here, you will see a warning that removing the mailbox will stop automatic message assignment, delete all the mailbox rules you have created, and cease collection of reporting data for the mailbox. It will not delete or move any mailbox folders or the messages they contain.
There is a two-stage confirmation process to ensure that a user does not accidentally remove a mailbox. The tool is only available to users with appropriate privileges; the Remove Mailbox tab is only visible to system administrators and above.
Visible to administrators with appropriate privileges, the Users navigation link brings up a list of users. From this view, an administrator can see a list of active users of Emailgistics, and which mailboxes they are subscribed to. In addition, the Users panel provides a shortcut to assign privileges (System Administrator, Billing Administrator, etc) to a user. Remember that there must always be at least one Billing Administrator and at least one System Administrator defined for Emailgistics.
- Sync users with Office 365 – membership of a shared mailbox is managed within the Office 365 administration environment. If a user is added to, or removed from, a mailbox in Office 365, this button will download a PowerShell script to synchronize the Emailgistics users with the new membership of that shared mailbox. Once users are synced, the appropriate folders will appear in new users’ Outlook clients, and statistics for that user will be added to the reporting and dashboard engines.
If a user is removed from the mailbox, their folder along with any assigned messages will be moved to a subfolder of the mailbox’s main “inbox” folder. A user with appropriate privileges can then unassign or reassign those messages as necessary. No messages are lost or deleted if a user is removed from the mailbox.
Emailgistics offers a free, genuinely no-commitment trial period; we do not ask for credit card information until the trial period is expiring. Having said that, credit card information can be entered and updated at any time by the Billing Administrator. Charges will only be made on the card when the free trial period rolls into a paid subscription.
Only a Billing Administrator will have access to the Billing menu.
In addition to the dashboard, Emailgistics has two configurable reporting tools. The Mailbox Report looks at the overall performance of a mailbox, in terms of total volume of inbound email and average initial reply time for the mailbox. The User Report breaks down the data by user, to look at individual performance. Both sets of reports are configurable for variables including the mailbox to report on, the reporting date range, and the period for time-slicing (hourly/daily/weekly).
This report shows the overall performance of the whole
team working a particular mailbox. Selectable options for this report include:
- Mailbox – if you have more than one mailbox, choose the mailbox for which you wish to run the report
- Date Range – select the beginning and end date of for which you want to run the report.
- Period – choose whether you want to time-slice the report by hour, day, week or month.
Due to the possibility of time delay in delivering the quantity of data involved, the “hourly” report option requires that the date range covers a single day. If a user attempts to run an hourly report on a date range of more than one day, the system will prompt the user to correct the date range or choose a different reporting period
The report is delivered in three sections:
This view provides an at-a-glance graphical representation of the traffic into the mailbox over the course of the reporting period.
Average Initial Reply Time
This view looks at the average time to first reply over the course of the reporting period. Hovering over a data point will pop open an info box to view detailed data.
Mailbox Reports Data
Emailgistics also provides a complete set of the data used to create the graphical views, in case a user wishes to carry out their own analysis. This data can be viewed in the browser window or exported to a .csv file for import into the spreadsheet tool of your choice.
The User Report provides an in-depth analysis of performance broken down by team member. The selection criteria are similar to those for the Mailbox report:
Mailbox – choose the mailbox for which you want to run the report
- Select Users – on choosing a mailbox, Emailgistics auto-populates the drop-down with all registered members of that mailbox. To exclude specific members from the report, click on the “x” next to their user name
- Date Range – the start and end date of the range over which you want the report to analyze performance
- Period – the time-slice density of the report. Again, the “hourly” time slice is deliverable only for a single-day date range.
This layered line chart gives an easy comparison of the performance of agents over the reporting period. Again, mouse-over popups for every data point provide greater detail of the data behind the graph.
Average Initial Reply Time
An overview of each user’s average time to first reply, this graph can be especially useful to find anomalies within the reporting period, and to identify causes of SLA breaches if they exist. For example, in the screenshot above, it’s clear that two users (Chris and Emma) were much slower to respond on 12 July than usual. Finding out what was going on on that day – perhaps the two of them failed to mark themselves “unavailable” when they went into a team meeting – may provide coaching points for future instances.
User Reports Data
As with the Mailbox reports, Emailgistics provides a complete data set for analysis and export.
To ensure the Emailgistics reporting engine generates accurate information right from the start, it’s important to ensure that any outstanding unanswered messages are moved to the Emailgistics inbox when the service is first set up. The Mailbox Administrator should move any unanswered messages from “Old Inbox” to the Inbox where your new messages appear.
Navigating to Emailgistics.com/support will give you access to a series of videos covering all aspects of the Emailgistics service.
Emailgistics.com/blog is a repository of technical papers, hints & tips, and a range of articles on the subject of effective email workflow management.