EnvelopeHD: Your Web-based help desk

Call me old fashioned, but I like e-mail.  In this go-go world, it still can be intimate and personal and all letter-like.   (Shrugs) I guess I’m just a romantic at heart.  And as far as the workplace goes, I have yet to see a form of communication that would threaten its dominance. E-mail still reigns supreme.

But, as we all know, e-mail has its flaws.  Organizing your messages into folders gets annoying after a while, and in a work setting, with so many moving parts – checking deadlines, assigning tasks – it gets super messy.  In other words, e-mail – to paraphrase Churchill – is like democracy: it’s the worst system out there, except for the others that have been tried.  Well, if you ascribe to this notion – and don’t we all? – than consider EnvelopeHD the separation of powers of the e-mail world: a nice, elegant tool to make sense out of the inbox messiness.

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EnvelopeHD turns your email into a Web-based help desk. But don’t think of it as a traditional help desk (it took me a little bit of time to wrap my mind around this.)  It’s more than that.  EnvelopeHD automates the allocation of work – it monitors your email inbox, allows users to assign tickets, and helps to manage each task to completion.  In other words, it helps you prioritize work in a transparent way – something you can’t really do in Outlook or other mail clients.  There are no complex configuration steps or local installation; simply enter your support email imap account details, add supporters and the service is ready to use.   And, for a small shop, it’s free. So let’s take a closer look, shall we?

Most users, I imagine, will find the Work Queue part of EnvelopeHD most useful.  Screen shot is below.  It is here they can view automatically imported e-mails, assign work, and monitor the status of that work.  What’s cool is the “Grabbing” function – any team member viewing the e-mail can “grab” it and work on it.  (Could you imagine that? Someone voluntarily picking up work?)  I like this because it makes things nice and transparent.  Sure, in Outlook, someone’s who cc’ed on a message can respond saying they’ll own it – playing Devil’s Advocate here – but beyond that, how is that work managed?  How can we keep that person’s feet to the fire, as it were? Where’s the audit trail?  (Answers: we can’t; there isn’t really.  Which is why EnvelopeHD can be very useful.)

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This component brings me to another thought I had (!)  And it involves some of the harder-to-quantify benefits of software such as this.  Anyone who’s worked in a team setting – and who will review companies on a weekly basis – knows things rarely go as smoothly as they look on paper.  And oftentimes, the simple idea of managing someone or something is far more difficult in practice than in theory.  And, let’s face it, some managers may not be good at managing (and workers don’t like being needled.)  This software, by automating the management of certain tasks – forgive me for this – takes out the human element.  It can put off potentially adversarial or awkward “check ins” and minimize “he said, she said” stuff, as everything can be tracked.

So.  All this being said, my main suggestion is from a global-messaging perspective.  Granted, I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and not entirely tuned in to how folks market functionality, but when I saw that EnvelopeHD was a “web-based help desk,” I thought precisely that: Susan in accountanting can’t access some system, and this is where EnvelopeHD helps.  (Even the copy “hybrid ticket system/email client” threw me for a loop: in my mind “ticket system” equals help desk.”)  The more I scrounged the site, however, it became evident that EnvelopeHD, as I (hopefully) so eloquently articulated – is more than just a help-desk solution.  It helps you manage work in a transparent way.  If this is the case, I’d suggest the copy on the site reflect that, if only because it strengthens the value proposition.  EnvelopeHD can help get stuff done more efficiently and without manual touch-points that can prolong projects.