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Lauren Lattimore Post by Lauren Lattimore

By Lauren Lattimore on February 24th, 2020

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What Happens to Your Emails? The Life Cycle of a Request

How We Work | Tips and Tools | Customer Service | Artists and Members

You’ve just signed up for membership to Fractured Atlas and now have questions about how to set up your Artful.ly account for an upcoming event. Or, maybe you’re a fiscally-sponsored project who needs our credentials to receive a nonprofit rate discount on a venue ASAP.

You quickly submit your request to our support email address and wait for a reply. The rest of the day goes by: you’re wondering if your message was received and if a solution will be provided in enough time. Alas, on the next business day, you receive an email from a Fractured Atlas Program associate. 

If you’re wondering what happens from the time you hit ‘send’ and our first response, here’s a quick breakdown of your email’s journey!

A flow chart illustrating the following steps of an email: Inquiry to General Inbox to Sorted Inbox to Associate Reply to Your Response

A flow chart illustrating all that happens from when we require an email to when you send a response.

Phase 1: Submitting a Request

When you submit any inquiry or request, our skilled Programs team are the helpful recipients! All email correspondence should be sent to our support@fracturedatlas.org address. This guarantees that your email will be received and handled by the team member that can best assist you.

We are committed to serving your needs and pledge to provide community support that propels your artistic endeavors forward!

Phase 2: General Inbox

After an email is submitted, it is received in a “General Inbox” with all inquiries. Each email is sorted in the order it is received. On average, we receive hundreds of emails per week. This also includes voicemails that are transferred to our email inbox to enable a quicker turnaround response via email for simple requests.

Auto-Reply

As a kind reminder of our 1-2 business day turnaround policy, you will receive our automated message (below) to confirm receipt of your email.

Dear Requester,

Thank you for reaching out, we look forward to responding. Please note, Fractured Atlas’s business hours are Monday-Friday, 9am ET to 6pm ET. Our response time depends on volume, but is usually within 2 business days. If you don’t hear from us in 4 business days, feel free to follow up.

Check out our extensive Knowledge Base for more information while you are awaiting a reply, and for more educational tools, consider checking out our Guidebooks and free Webinars.

Sincerely,
The Fractured Atlas Team

Phase 3: Sorted Inbox

During this phase, tickets are categorized by the subject matter of its content. This gives our team a better understanding of the types of requests we received and the volume of each type of request.

For example, if you just updated your donation page, our system labels this email as a “Profile Edit” while keeping its original request date. These labels also help us prioritize between low priority (e.g. quick updates or approvals) and high priority requests (e.g. grant or crowdfunding campaign reviews).

After the emails are sorted into their correct categories, they are dispersed across the team to their direct inboxes. Each morning, associates receive a batch of emails that can vary in terms of categories and priority levels. Equal distribution and efficient prioritization ensures that our team responds effectively to as many submissions as possible.

Phase 4: Associate Reply

An associate’s inbox can look drastically different each day which requires significant time management. Depending on the time of the week (Mondays, holiday season, etc.) or the number of high priority emails they received, our associates are constantly juggling multiple requests.

Generally, grant reviews (or any request that requires our documentation) have a longer processing time. It is common for a team member to send a status update on a pending email that they are working on, especially if there is a deadline. Once a solution is thoughtfully crafted, it is submitted to the initial requester.

These messages can consist of hyperlinked text to our Knowledge Base articles for in-depth answers to common questions or to a previously-recorded webinar. These tools help us expedite our turnaround process while providing a robust support experience!

Phase 5: Your Response

When you’re ready to respond to our email, it is safe to continue the thread with the associate who replied. From that point on, this will be the person who will handle your need until it is completed.

However, you may receive a reply from another associate if your original person is out of the office the following day(s). In an effort to make sure that all emails are covered within our 1-2 business day timeframe, we automatically place your reply into the next day’s batch for someone to assist you. Other than that, all of your replies will go directly to the initial associate’s direct inbox and will be answered accordingly.

Things to Keep in Mind

We hope that understanding this process is helpful. We would also like you to keep these additional things in mind as you work with us:

There are no designated associates.

Oftentimes we receive messages inquiring about “designated associates." While we understand the appeal of concierge service, in order for us to efficiently support you, we must operate as an “all-hands-on-deck” team.

This work flow has been proven to enable our team to uphold our customer service pledge over the years. It also provides a fair and steady level of engagement with our members amongst the staff.

E-mailing or contacting associates outside of the Support email address is prohibited.

As stated above, all submissions should be sent to the Support email address. Contacting anyone on our staff at their fracturedatlas.org, personal email, or social media inboxes are unacceptable.

Our Support account is powered by Zendesk and it is the only way we can successfully assist you in a timely manner. Outside correspondence can go unread or cannot be responded to as violation of our employee code.

Each request should be sent in its own separate email.

As much as we want to handle all of your needs a quickly as possible, we are unable to do so when an email consists of multiple requests. When you submit an email that consists of inquiries or requests in various categories, this actually slows down your turnaround time.

One of your inquiries may require a short response, while the rest of your email may need additional time to provide you with the detailed information you need.

For example, emails that include Sponsorship Confirmation Letters, Individual Appeal reviews, and EFT update should not be in the same submission. Submitting separately enhances your chances of getting most of your needs responded to in a business day as opposed to later. This also helps the associates keep track of their load, eliminate confusion in the thread from multiple conversations, and overlooking a request all together.

You can’t jump the line: Multiple submissions will not increase your chance of getting a reply.

When a member sends numerous emails before our customer service timeframe is out, the emails follow the same cycle as the first submission. They do not automatically link to the first email. This can lead to more harm than good. Since each email is considered new, it will start off in the “General Inbox” and then get sorted accordingly.

Your first email is likely in the inbox of an associate already, but now the second email of the same inquiry is another associate’s inbox. This causes double the amount of staff time on an email that could be handled by one.

It also blocks another project or member from being assisted because now two associates are working on the same request unbeknownst to them. This also applies to checking on the status of a request with an associate that is assisting you on a completely different email thread.

Our team members cannot patrol one another’s workload and promptly respond to incoming messages at the same time. Status inquiries should only be sent to the person you are working with per email.

We genuinely care!

Our team diligently strives to respond to all incoming messages in a timely fashion so you can flourish in your work. Most of our staff are artists themselves, so the passion to support another fellow artist is what we thrive off as a team.

We are always thinking of ways to enhance our systems and work strategy to give every member the same quality experience! If you're not yet a member, check out the benefits of membership and join today.

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About Lauren Lattimore

Lauren Lattimore is a proud native Detroiter with a B.A. in Communication Arts from Eastern Michigan University. In 2013, she completed her Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from the New School for Drama. She has since been in productions at the MCC Theatre, Columbia University-Mainstage, and The New Brooklyn Theatre. Although performing is a great love of hers, chocolate is her kryptonite. In her spare time she can be found listening to music, catching up with her DVR, or discovering a new restaurant in the city!