Any Outlook/IT Whizzkids out there??

Thread starter #1

AmandaJR

Money List Winner
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
7,357
Location
Cambs
So. At work we have the majority of customer comms via email currently. Let's say 1500 outstanding items (yikes!) and within those quite a few newer messages refer to older ones. As they're dealt with in oldest first date order we need to know that the old version has a new one to be considered at the same time...if that makes sense.

Currently the rubbish workaround is to annotate with a red flag. So they all have red flags, the original message and any subsequent ones but nothing to make each "thread" unique. The subject may be different, the sender may be different but they need to be linked. So the initial search is done to tie messages together but then there's not telling which of the many red flags may refer to the message you're dealing with which has a red flag without doing the search again o_Oo_O

Any ideas??
 

IainP

Tour Rookie
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
2,438
Location
Oxfordshire
Not completely following, but there is an option to "show as conversation", or similar. If chosen then comms with same subject group together. You can turn it back off if it doesn't help
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2018
Messages
265
2 possible solutions, neither ideal:
1) Put all the related emails into a subfolder. That however takes them out of the inbox and loses your date order.
2) Add the Category Column to the view, this essentially allows 25 different coloured flags which can be named for each customer, perhaps better?
I've never come across any other ways to relate messages outwith the standard "conversation" view which is not what you want as there could be a different subject and/or sender. Hopefully there is someone out there with some other ideas.
 
Thread starter #4

AmandaJR

Money List Winner
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
7,357
Location
Cambs
Not completely following, but there is an option to "show as conversation", or similar. If chosen then comms with same subject group together. You can turn it back off if it doesn't help
They don't always have the same subject which is a shame...

2 possible solutions, neither ideal:
1) Put all the related emails into a subfolder. That however takes them out of the inbox and loses your date order.
2) Add the Category Column to the view, this essentially allows 25 different coloured flags which can be named for each customer, perhaps better?
I've never come across any other ways to relate messages outwith the standard "conversation" view which is not what you want as there could be a different subject and/or sender. Hopefully there is someone out there with some other ideas.
I had though about option 1 but there would be so many sub folders and would add to the workload trying to process in date order still.

Option 2 has some merit. We are using a single colour to highlight orders which we have stock for. I hadn't realised there were so many other colour options so it might work to at least narrow things down by customer even if not by customer depot/order number.

Thanks!
 

Rooter

Money List Winner
Joined
Jan 30, 2012
Messages
9,520
Location
Newbury
Invest an a CRM. How anyone works without one is beyond me.
Yeh, even a simple excel sheet could be useful as a middle ground, and free for now. if it keeps growing and bottlenecking, you will need to invest in a CRM. i am a salesforce.com advocate, but I'm sure there are more cheaper and better options!
 
Thread starter #7

AmandaJR

Money List Winner
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
7,357
Location
Cambs
We do have a CRM system although not sure of its workings too much so not sure how it could help??
 
Thread starter #8

AmandaJR

Money List Winner
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
7,357
Location
Cambs
Excel - what are you thinking in terms of how to help?

I have asked IT...enough said! If I was to tell you we have to cc ourselves onto every email sent so we can then move the email into the right folder...
 
Thread starter #9

AmandaJR

Money List Winner
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
7,357
Location
Cambs
I should also say there will be zero investment as we're closing, but I'd like to help organise things better if I can in the meantime.
 

Liverbirdie

Ryder Cup Winner
Joined
Jul 14, 2011
Messages
12,047
Location
liverpool
Can you not do a search for whatever they have put in the subject line to see if it refers to it more than once?

If they just have price please on every mail, its harder, but if they have say PO 28412 or RFQ 38567, if you o a search for that PO 28412, it will show up any mails that have that on, and if sent more than once - bingo.
 
Thread starter #11

AmandaJR

Money List Winner
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
7,357
Location
Cambs
Can you not do a search for whatever they have put in the subject line to see if it refers to it more than once?

If they just have price please on every mail, its harder, but if they have say PO 28412 or RFQ 38567, if you o a search for that PO 28412, it will show up any mails that have that on, and if sent more than once - bingo.
If the subject stays the same that works and many do (I'd say 75%). But others fax the first order which is converted to a PDF where there is nothing to identify it in sender/subject. They then email to change it so the search begins to find the faxed order/email and tie the two together. When the faxed order is processed the operator knows there's something else to consider as it's flagged red but has to search again to find it.

Others fax everything and we have to open the PDF and can find it says "amended order" so the search is even more time consuming.
 

Jimaroid

Journeyman Pro
Joined
May 15, 2014
Messages
1,791
Location
Fife
Sub folders is probably the best way given your lack of other options. The additional "trick" is when you drag the email from the inbox, hold down the Ctrl button when you drop the email on the folder. The icon should change to a rectangle with a + on it. That indicates it will duplicate the email into the subfolder. Your inbox will remain intact but you can categorise a copy of all the emails into separate per-customer buckets.
 

Foxholer

Major Champion
Joined
Nov 16, 2011
Messages
19,885
Location
Wasting away again in Margaritaville
Amanda. Do they have Customer Ids? I presume they have!
If you create a (Sub-)Folder with their ID as its name each ID/Customer, you can simply move (or copy) their emails into the {sub-)folder labelled 'their ID'. Likewise, you can copy your reply (replies) into their own folder.
Bit of a pain setting up for those already received/sent, but a cheap and simple method for new ones. You don't have to move the old ones first either. So new ones will work with the new method immediately and older ones can catch up when you have time.

So if Customer Id is AG1234, their Subfolder will be 'AG1234' beneath (or even separate from) the folder you currently use (so 'Issues&CComplaints/AG1234').
Edit. Ha! Beaten by Jimaroid while I was making coffee & Lunch!
 
Thread starter #14

AmandaJR

Money List Winner
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
7,357
Location
Cambs
Thanks guys. The sub folders idea seems ok BUT my concern is how many there would be. There are around 1500 emails and I'd guesstimate that's 1000+ separate customers.

Customer ID. They all have unique account numbers but most searches (Customer Notes, Outstanding Orders etc) are done on an alpha sort which is 1st 4 letters of name/1st 3 letters of delivery town address. That in itself is a bit rubbish and clunky as there are duplicates as those with more than one depot in a town/city all appear.

We moved systems at the start of 2019 and it's not fit for purpose imo but has enabled the group to close our office in due course as other group companies already have the system in place.
 

rulefan

Tour Winner
Joined
Feb 21, 2013
Messages
7,898
Sub folders is probably the best way given your lack of other options. The additional "trick" is when you drag the email from the inbox, hold down the Ctrl button when you drop the email on the folder. The icon should change to a rectangle with a + on it. That indicates it will duplicate the email into the subfolder. Your inbox will remain intact but you can categorise a copy of all the emails into separate per-customer buckets.
I have set up a new folder (Called 'History Folders'). Within that folder I have sub-folders, one for each organisation I deal with. I don't usually use the 'trick' as I don't normally need them in my inbox
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2018
Messages
265
Whilst my suggestion of using Categories pointed out the limit of 25 colours, there is in fact no limit to the number of categories. Adding the Category column to the inbox view allows you to sort and group by category. The category name could be CustID/OrderID or CustName/OrderID or CustName/DelTown, whatever you need to group the related set of messages together. I don't think that there are any other custom fields that would allow you to add each separately. Once you have "tagged" each mail you can do find related messages with the same category (i.e. like you would for subject but you have effectively created your own subject line for all related ones). You could use the colour code for something else such that if that matter is being dealt with it goes green or assign categories colours to different people. You will have to be disciplined with correctly marking each mail to a category and setting up a new ones as required. Not sure that there is a simple answer here :-(
 
Thread starter #17

AmandaJR

Money List Winner
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
7,357
Location
Cambs
Whilst my suggestion of using Categories pointed out the limit of 25 colours, there is in fact no limit to the number of categories. Adding the Category column to the inbox view allows you to sort and group by category. The category name could be CustID/OrderID or CustName/OrderID or CustName/DelTown, whatever you need to group the related set of messages together. I don't think that there are any other custom fields that would allow you to add each separately. Once you have "tagged" each mail you can do find related messages with the same category (i.e. like you would for subject but you have effectively created your own subject line for all related ones). You could use the colour code for something else such that if that matter is being dealt with it goes green or assign categories colours to different people. You will have to be disciplined with correctly marking each mail to a category and setting up a new ones as required. Not sure that there is a simple answer here :-(
Thanks. I was going to check tomorrow how you search for the category? If you assign a colour is it just a matter of right clicking in the search box? We use the category column currently to annotate orders that are "easy" to process for new staff who are learning the process ready to take our jobs!! So they are marked green.

The idea has been well received so I'll have a play tomorrow when I'm in the office (aka spare room) and try to work out the best option.

Thanks again.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2018
Messages
265
Thanks. I was going to check tomorrow how you search for the category? If you assign a colour is it just a matter of right clicking in the search box? We use the category column currently to annotate orders that are "easy" to process for new staff who are learning the process ready to take our jobs!! So they are marked green.

The idea has been well received so I'll have a play tomorrow when I'm in the office (aka spare room) and try to work out the best option.

Thanks again.
You can use the column to order (or even group) by Category. To search use Categories:Cust1 or Categories:Order4 these will find things in the Cust1/Order4 category.
 

Mudball

Assistant Pro
Joined
Sep 21, 2017
Messages
1,696
I just stumbled onto this party thread.. I must say i still dont know what problem you are trying to solve Amanda.
1) An inbox with 1000+ emails. These need to be sorted ... but there is no single way to sort it?
2) Need a free solution... which is fair
3) When you are manually sorting.. how are u able to categorise these? If u are using some logic, then you can make that a rule and move things.. Are you able to explain/write down the logic you use to sort these?

I suspect, there is no single answer. You may be able to move a majority based on some simple parameters e.g. Cust Id, Order #. Customer email etc. Then you will end up with a long tail of 20% emails that you may need to manually do it Not the perfect solution, but simple is best

Final question.. if you are closing.... do you really need to do this.
 
Thread starter #20

AmandaJR

Money List Winner
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
7,357
Location
Cambs
I just stumbled onto this party thread.. I must say i still dont know what problem you are trying to solve Amanda.
1) An inbox with 1000+ emails. These need to be sorted ... but there is no single way to sort it?
2) Need a free solution... which is fair
3) When you are manually sorting.. how are u able to categorise these? If u are using some logic, then you can make that a rule and move things.. Are you able to explain/write down the logic you use to sort these?

I suspect, there is no single answer. You may be able to move a majority based on some simple parameters e.g. Cust Id, Order #. Customer email etc. Then you will end up with a long tail of 20% emails that you may need to manually do it Not the perfect solution, but simple is best

Final question.. if you are closing.... do you really need to do this.
Final question first - because I'm an old-fashioned kinda gal and they don't deserve me. I've doubled my hours to help and am working like a dog...I've been there 28 years though and used to manage the function so can't stand seeing it in such a state.

So the main sort HAS to be date order as we deal with oldest first which is the major parameter. If the oldest order was placed on 8th June and then on the 20th the customer changed it then we need to know when we process the email from the 8th that somewhere above that is an updated version. Does that make sense? We (me mainly) are going through the emails as they come in so we catch any that aren't brand new orders. Those that aren't I find the older email and the system they had use was just to red flag them all but that doesn't distinguish one from another.

Today I started to categorise them by colour. So when said order from the 8th is processed the operator just needs to sort by category to find any later amendments.

I think I can use the same colours but call them something different to set more separate categories??

Perhaps someone who has replied here can answer that one.
 
Top