Optimising is a digital agency offering unique solutions that transform their clients’ businesses. Their Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) business specializes in comprehensive search engine marketing, and they also provide leading-edge website design plus social media solutions from their offices based in Melbourne, Australia.
James Richardson, Co-Founder of Optimising, says that Teamwork Desk is more than a hardworking helpdesk solution; it’s changed how his business works. His team has been using the software for about four years to control the cascade of emails related to the 100+ projects they have in motion at any given time. He told us about some of the ways Optimising has adapted the software to help them manage and reply to emails far more effectively than any other email management software they’ve reviewed.
After James and his business partner Daniel Zuccon founded Optimising in 2008, it grew steadily each year — and soon, every company wanted to get a piece of the action.
As their client and project lists increased, they started using a variety of email lists that sent emails to all relevant staff members on a project. This gave them decent product transparency but was creating a lot of noise for everyone. “Email was fine as a short term solution, but we could see that they weren’t going to grow with us as we kept adding more clients and employees,” said James.
One of the shortcomings of this approach was a lack of transparency around the emails they were handling. Their policy of assigning a dedicated account manager for each client led to problems when some emails got lost in inboxes or a manager went on vacation. No one else had the ability to pick up the email and resolve the issue — or even know that the email existed — and delayed replies led to frustrated clients.
When the team was small, it was easy for everyone to exchange information about projects and clients, but James and Daniel knew that as their company grew, they needed an email management system that would be intuitive for clients and team members — and give everyone the visibility they needed.
We’re really fussy about the products we choose. We learned pretty fast that when we didn’t make the right choices that fit our unique situation, it ate up our time and productivity, and our team members started to lose faith that we weren’t making good decisions. We needed something we could depend on at every level.
James and Daniel had never used helpdesk software for Optimising before, and certainly not for internal or external communication. As they researched different email solutions, they realized that the process of converting emails to tickets within Teamwork Desk would not only help them track each individual email, but it could give them better visibility over all of the conversations they were having with clients.
After choosing Teamwork Desk, they got to work tackling the number one problem in client communication: directing mail to the right person the first time. They set up a system of multiple inboxes separated by product that included the following categories: SEO questions; Paid search; Dev team; Accounts and billing; and HR (for internal use).
Having this level of organization not only cut down on misdirected emails, it spared team members from the daily inconvenience of having to read through entire emails only to discover that someone else needed to handle the question. “Our team noticed almost immediately that they were getting fewer emails that didn’t apply to them, which was helping them reclaim more billable time every day,” said James.
Within a matter of weeks, it was obvious that Teamwork Desk was giving them a better sense of how many emails were being processed and how quickly team members were responding. Moving the emails out of individual siloed mailboxes into shared inboxes was helping them reply to each email faster, no matter which team member had been assigned to the ticket, because it was so much easier to see how long queries had gone without a reply.
We knew Teamwork Desk would improve our email overload, but what we didn’t expect was that tickets would be answered more quickly overall, simply because everyone could see how fast other people were taking care of their assignments. It was great to have a little healthy competition without having to create an incentive for the whole team.
The email-to-ticket process in Teamwork Desk worked so well for client communication that James and Daniel decided to use it for internal communication, too. For example, when work is completed and it’s time to send out invoices, team members send that request to the finance department using Desk instead of individual email accounts so everyone can track the communication and instantly see when the task is completed.
A new perspective
Smooth communication is the heart of any business, and by choosing Teamwork Desk to manage the majority of internal and incoming messages, the team at Optimising feels like they have more control over the day-to-day details. “Teamwork Desk has actually eliminated a large portion of our emails, which has reduced the overall amount of time our team spends handling replies,” James said. It’s given us back so much time every day and every week.”
Making the move from private, individual inboxes to a shared platform seemed somewhat counterintuitive at first, but the advantages of having a shared inbox has directly and indirectly streamlined several of their processes. Since communication is happening in a single location, more team members have a clearer understanding of what’s happening in the company at any moment, who’s under a deadline crunch, and who might need additional help responding to customer questions.
“We fully expected our communication with clients to improve when we switched to Teamwork Desk, but we couldn’t have guessed that our team would choose it for their communication within the company. Once that happened, we saw better internal collaboration and communication, too,” said James.
Adopting the software has been very simple, both for team members and clients. Many clients don’t even realize they’re interacting with a separate software, since Optimising has customized Teamwork Desk’s appearance to match the company branding. What clients do understand is that they’re getting resolutions to their questions more quickly.
“Clients are constantly full of praise for our prompt responses, even out of hours, which is only possible because so many team members are across the platform and have the ability to jump in where they are needed,” James explained.
Using the feedback data built into Teamwork Desk, James has been able to watch his team increase performance using key indicators like time to first response, ticket handling time, and the number of replies to resolve. Having access to this information has helped the entire team become more aware of how their responses are connecting with clients so they can answer questions thoroughly the first time instead of having several follow-up emails.
" I can’t emphasize enough how having visibility into all of the messages and how we’re able to move them along has changed our business. Teamwork Desk has really helped us support our clients more effectively, and it’s made it easier to scale our business as we’ve grown.– James Richardson, Co-Founder of Optimising