Congratulations on choosing Emailgistics to supercharge your shared mailboxes!
We’ve compiled everything you need to know to set up your account, activate your first shared mailbox, and add your first users to that mailbox.
You can also learn to configure mailflow rules, customize your dashboard, and enable reports for your new Emailgistics service.
SETTING UP YOUR ACCOUNT
Emailgistics operates within the context of a Shared Mailbox in Office 365. If you currently use a distribution list to manage inbound shared email, this must first be converted to a shared mailbox (the members of the shared mailbox will be the same people as the subscribers to the distribution list). This is accomplished within the Office 365 environment: refer to your Office 365 documentation should you require guidance to accomplish this.
It’s also a good idea to check at this stage that your users’ Outlook accounts are not operating in “cached Exchange mode,” as this will prevent proper functioning of the Emailgistics folders. Make sure that the relevant checkbox is unchecked in the Account Settings dialog for each user’s Outlook account.
Once your shared mailbox is set up in Office 365, and the list of members of that mailbox reflects the users you would like to set up in Emailgistics, we can proceed.
Running the PowerShell script
Most of the work of onboarding Emailgistics is done through a PowerShell script. Microsoft Windows machines typically have PowerShell preinstalled; if not, it can be downloaded from Microsoft’s app store for your country.
PowerShell needs to be at v5.0 or higher to run Emailgistics’ script. If you are unsure which version of PowerShell you have, you can check it by opening PowerShell and entering
$PSVersionTable in the command line.
As the PowerShell script runs, you will be required to enter several other pieces of information, which you will need to have prepared in advance. These include:
- Credentials (user name and password) for Global Administrator access your Office 365 server.
- Email address (and password if it already exists) of the shared mailbox you want to set up. Members of that shared mailbox will automatically become the users of the Emailgistics service.
- Corporate information: company name, address, contact information for administrative and support queries.
You will be required to enter your credentials directly into form fields; it is not sufficient to have passwords saved to an autocomplete key vault or other utility.
Emailgistics does not require that you enter credit card information for the Free Trial period. Your Billing Administrator will be able to add that information before the end of the trial. The Billing Administrator must be a member of a group mailbox, but need not be an active participant of that mailbox. See “Availability” in the “Setting Up Mailflow” guide.
As soon as the script has finished running, you should see the new team folder structure in your Outlook or Webmail client. If not, closing and reopening Outlook will ensure that the team folder structure propagates to Outlook.
Roles and Responsibilities
There are four Administrator roles involved in setting up and managing an Emailgistics account. For many organizations, one person may fulfill multiple roles. Here we review the different responsibilities of each:
The Exchange Administrator is usually an individual in the IT team with global administrative access to the organization’s Office 365 server. This is needed to set up the appropriate access privileges and mailflow settings to ensure the Emailgistics service connects successfully to the Office 365 service. Once the mailbox is on board, the Exchange Administrator plays no part in the day-to-day management of Emailgistics.
The System Administrator is responsible for the ongoing management of the Emailgistics service from a technology perspective. The System Administrator can access functions to sync new users to a mailbox, edit user privileges, and update mailbox settings. This may be a senior Emailgistics user with appropriate privileges or may be an individual in the IT team who is not a day-to-day Emailgistics user.
The Mailbox Administrator manages the day-to-day functionality of the Emailgistics service and is typically a manager or supervisor within the team that will be using the mailbox. These tasks include running reports, configuring dashboards, creating rules, and managing users’ availability settings, if required.
The Billing Administrator is responsible for setting up and maintaining the payment details for Emailgistics once the trial period has expired. In some installations, this is a role reserved to the corporate finance department; in others, the Billing Administrator role is filled by a Mailbox or System Administrator. To add additional mailboxes to Emailgistics requires the Billing Administrator privilege.
SETTING UP 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: Me, Mailboxes, Users, Account, System Users, and Conversation History. Some of the resulting administration pages have multiple tabs and options within the page.
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 their roles for the Emailgistics system and for each mailbox of which they are a member.
For every user, the mailboxes that they are a member of are listed 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 determines whether or not a user is included in the automated distribution of emails.
If using our PRO tier, you will have the option for scheduled availability. This allows users to see and edit their current schedules, which will control their availability automatically. This will help with reporting accuracy and an agent’s availability to receive messages through our automated routing features.
For information on how to configure a user’s schedule and availability, check out this knowledge base article.
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.
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 and user schedule – A user with appropriate privileges can use this to force a change if the user has forgotten to change their status. If using scheduled availability you can modify the user’s schedule to reflect their availability, including time off.
- Maximum Messages – Determines 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. This 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 Roles (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 – Drives the automated distribution of incoming messages to the next available agent, within the limitations of their Maximum Messages setting. Even with the Automatic 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 of those functions take precedence over Automatic Assignment.
- Assign to Previous Owner – Sends 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!
For more information on Rules check out this knowledge base article.
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.
Clicking the Dashboard button to the right of the mailbox name will open a dashboard of real-time information about the mailbox in a new browser tab. The Dashboard is configurable with different gages to help you manage the metrics you want to see.
See our dashboard knowledge base article for more information.
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 the mailboxes of which they are a member.
- Assign privileges to users – 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).
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.
- 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 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:
Average Initial Reply Time
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 dates of the time period for which you’d like to analyze performance.
- Period – The time-slice density of the report. The hourly time slice is deliverable only for a single-day date range.
The report is delivered in three sections:
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.