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Measuring Email Quality

18 May, 2010

As we have rolled out our email interaction team (a team of 14, split into three languages who are dedicated to handling our email customer support) in our new email management system, Cisco the focus now shifts to quality. Poor quality email eventually leads to higher email volume. My goal since I was introduced to Cisco has been “increase email quality, decrease email volume”.

What do we know about quality?

  • How many emails are resolved with first contact?
  • How do our emails affect customer satisfaction scores?
  • How do our emails affect purchasing behavior?
  • How are our emails viewed by others in the company?

The above questions forced me to think. How do we take measuring email customer service to the next level?

With the launch of Cisco, and very soon, the launch of our web chat function we are already in a much better place than we were 6 months ago. Automatic reporting gives us key information to help better the user experience all round. But where do we go from here? How do we outdo ourselves and set a new standard for email customer service in Hurtigruten?

The Eight Traits of e-mail quality

Hurtigruten will follow the eight traits of well written replies when assessing our email replies in English, German and the Nordic languages.

  1. Provide a correct answer to customer’s question(s).
  2. Provide a complete answer to customer’s question(s).
  3. Write in a personal, professional tone.
  4. Write at the appropriate level of complexity for the customer.
  5. Use formatting to enable customers to scan.
  6. Be free of punctuation, spelling, or grammar errors.
  7. Offer other options for getting help.
  8. Timely response.  Our goal is to handle every single email correspondence within 1 hour.

Each of these traits has a points system up to 100. The higher the number, the better and more rounded the reply. We will not review each email sent out as this process could be very time consuming, especially as we handle over 1,500 emails per week. We will work out a system that allows us to randomly pick email replies to score. With this, our email agents are aware that any answer could be graded and thus, raises the level of quality.

Rewarding high quality responses

To give a sense of achievement, we will also develop a recognition program with our highest scoring efforts. The program will involve feedback and rewards to the agents, as well as having the management keep track of the program in order to view our progress.


This strategy above will be implemented this week, and results will begin to be recorded from next week when we submit our weekly email management report. I strongly believe we are heading in the right direction, and I have already informed the team that our goal is to have at least one nominated agent for the local customer service awards in 2011.

As I envision this set up, I am left searching for ways to take email customer service to an even higher level… And when I find it, you are sure to read about it.

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