When awaiting a response is important
With a small number of emails where expecting a reply is important, keeping track of whether you received a reply can be quite simple. However, that isn’t the case when your pipeline is rather large – when the number of “Waiting for” is substantial. As we all know, it is a numbers game. The more prospects you have, the bigger the potential for acquiring new business.
In these cases, having a ‘watch dog’ to ensure you get timely replies and eliminating cases where things “fall through the cracks” becomes a must. That is, assuring effective follow-up action and overall, maximizing your business opportunities.
Follow-up On Email You Sent – The Basics
When sending your email, you probably have some idea as to when you might expect a reply. Any reply means some progress is being made, e.g., questions or a request for additional information. On the other hand, when you don’t receive a reply within the expected time then it becomes your responsibility to follow up. In our last blog we described the essence of the resend functionality (which is now part of the new IQTell web app). In this blog, the focus is on the ‘follow-up’ queue and the automated ‘wake me up’ feature.
First, when sending email, you want to have a way to specify by when you expect to receive a reply. E.g., in two days, in a week? Nothing is definite but setting up a ‘watchdog’ with whatever time you deem reasonable is a necessary first step.
Next, you would expect that your email system of choice would be watching for a reply to the very email you sent and to ‘wake you up’ when no reply is received.
Keeping track – other solutions
Some solutions will send you an automated email, as if you replied to the thread, and so the conversation appears unread in your Inbox. This can be confusing since it’s just another unread message, and therefore you may not even get to it until the next time you process your inbox. Looks like, increasing your Inbox-related work may not be such a good idea.
A different approach – the Follow-up view
Imagine that all sent email for which you set up a timer for could be easily viewed using a separate virtual email ‘folder’. Furthermore, when using such a view, having the ability to use filters such as ‘Today’, ‘This week’, ‘Next week’, and ‘Overdue’.
That is indeed the approach we implemented in the new IQTell web app. Having such an organized view, which we call the “Follow-up” view, allows you see what requires follow up, at a glance. Thus, eliminating the need to set up numerous reminders or having to constantly browse your ‘Sent’ folder for starred emails, etc.
No reply received within your expected time?
Instead of artificially creating ‘added-in’ emails in your Inbox, what we implemented is automated notifications indicating the specific email you sent and for which no reply was received. Using these notifications, such email can be opened right away (eliminating the need to search your ‘Sent’ folder). Then, with a single click, you can Resend this email to the same recipients with the same (original) file attachments (as described in our previous blog).
Email with expired timers will stay in the Follow-up view where they can easily be identified using the Overdue filter. They will stay there until a reply is received or when you explicitly mark them as no longer needing a reply.
Any emails for which you receive a reply will automatically be removed from the Follow-up view. They will be placed at the top of your Inbox. In IQTell, that is the top group called ‘Snoozed, Pinned & Follow-up’. These conversations will stay in this top group until you have decided that no further follow-up is needed.
As a practical example, if your original email was sent to multiple recipients – not every reply is the reply you were waiting for! In these cases, seeing such conversations shown at the top will alert you that there is some unfinished business keeping these in focus, as opposed to having them go back, mixed in your (already) overcrowded Inbox.
You can set a new timer on any unfinished business
When you receive a reply, but not from the person you were expecting to hear from or not with the answer you were expecting, you can re-arm the timer on that email. It will go back to the Follow-up view and once again, you will be notified in case no further reply is received.
It is all about maximizing your productivity
We realize the increasing reliance that everyone has on email correspondence, hence the emphasis on empowering features such as Follow-up email, which is now part of our new web app. Please see our forum post to learn how to use this powerful feature.