Emotionally yours: CRM system detects emails’ tone

The system picks up keywords that indicate the emotional context of an email

Online subscription-rental company DVD Unlimited has managed to slash its phone bills by nearly two-thirds thanks to an email-response management system, says general manager Kirsty Way.

The company installed the Right Now CRM system in May and it is already saving the company hundreds of dollars every month, says Way.

The email-response management system scans the content of emails and, based on keywords, provides automatic replies to customers. Customers can also search the knowledge base on the website or submit their own questions by email. The system replies with answers it thinks might be suitable, says Way.

If the customer finds one answer useful the system will present another group of answers that the knowledge base understands have been useful to others, she adds.

DVD Unlimited has compiled all the answers internally and has also included links to relevant web pages to make it as easy as possible for customers to find the information they want, says Way.

The company has also made a push to direct customers to the website via the customer-service voicemail message.

The system could potentially misunderstand a customer’s request, and fail to give the required information, but Way says she hasn’t received any feedback on that issue.

DVD Unlimited asks customers to rate questions to get a feeling for which areas are being covered and which aren’t, she says.

The system also picks up keywords that indicate the emotional state of an email’s sender. It has a gimmick that rates incoming emails from “very happy” to “very angry”. Keywords such as “cancel”, “furious”, “frustrated” and “upset” indicate a customer is unhappy, as well as profane language and some legal terms, says Way.

In addition, Right Now enables customer-service staff to track all emails, phone conversations and instant messaging communications the company has had with customers.

“We have a history of our conversations with each customer, and that means that if we have different staff on they will know what has happened in the past [when dealing with a -customer].”

Way feels this has helped the company provide a quicker, better service. “We were in a pretty tricky situation before we launched the system,” she says.

“We were inundated with emails and, to be quite honest, really not coping.”

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Tags crmemail-response system

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