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I have a client that receives a lot of emails from many different clients all day to their call centre. The call centre employees then need to action the request.

Currently they have one mailbox that they have setup for a large client they have where they have told them to direct all your emails to this address example@example.com, they usually have 5 people or so manage that one client. so these people go in there and read the emails and action them from their own inbox. But by reading the email the other users in the group know now that someone has read that email and is actioning it. So they would read the next one. They have many clients setup this way.

I was told that having many users connect to the same multiple mailboxs will eventually corrupt the ost file locally and then the server file. Is this true? and if so..

What would be the best way for a call centre to manage a large volume of emails so they don't have to talk to each other all day to see who is working on what?

Thanks in advance.

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Is there a reason why you're not using a case/ticket management system that you can direct your incoming mail to? –  Chris McKeown Jun 21 '12 at 21:32
    
We have about 5 people connected to the same box all day for years, never had an issue. And i'm talking about 1,000 emails a day go into that box (although most are not actioned) –  Mark Henderson Jun 21 '12 at 23:51
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5 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

As already mentioned, the way to go is with a ticketing system of some kind, but if that's unacceptable for some crazy reason, the best solution is going to be having a "ticket clerk."

Someone whose function is to monitor the incoming tickets (or emails in your case) and assign them appropriately.

In environments where there aren't enough tickets to justify having a full time position for this, it's often done as a part of someone's job function (like a Tier 1 desktop tech or an IT manager), or via rotation (today's it's Joe's turn to monitor the queue, in addition to his regular duties).

You'd have the "ticket clerk" as the guy who's in that shared inbox assigning emails to the group to take action on, while the rest of the group would stay out of it, to the extent that's feasible. In your shared mailbox, for example, you could have a process where the ticket clerk would "assign" an email to a technician by forwarding it to the technician, and then moved from the inbox into a folder like "Assigned to Joe," for a very simple implementation.

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In CRM basically it assigns the same person as previously if the person is logged in, so the CRM would also be very nice. The cost can be a bit, but if it's worth it... –  Andrew Smith Jun 22 '12 at 9:46
    
Having a ticketing system is the best way. The OST file corrupting is a limitation of the software and is going to be worked out in future versions. –  Rob Jun 25 '12 at 13:47
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I seriously doubt that having muliple users connecting to the same mailbox is going to harm the Exchange mailbox store. As for the OST file, there's nothing that says you have to have Outlook configured in cached mode. In fact, if all of the clients are on the same LAN with the Exchange server then I don't personally see any reason for having Outlook configured in cached mode. I've never been a fan of using cached mode on well connected, stationary workstations.

EDIT

My reccomendation would be to disable Outlook cached mode in the Outlook profiles/clients that are accessing this shared mailbox.

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The only reason I've actually see it become useful was when 2010 handled connections from outlook 2003 poorly because of the lack of support for UDP notifications, was was corrected... –  Cheekaleak Jun 21 '12 at 21:43
    
This is actually not correct. The OST file will corrupt (this came from the mouth of a MS partner support rep). Also, this comment does not really answer the question of how do people manage a large volume of emails coming into one small call centre group. –  Rob Jun 25 '12 at 13:44
    
I didn't say that the OST wouldn't be corrupted, I said that corruption of the mailbox store is unlikely. The OST file and the mailbox store are two different things. I'm adding an edit to my answer, recommending that cached mode and the use of an OST file be disabled. –  joeqwerty Jun 25 '12 at 15:20
    
Sorry about that. You are correct. But a ticketing system within MS CRM is the solution to this issue. Thanks for your comments. –  Rob Jun 27 '12 at 16:12
    
Rob, I agree. A ticketing system is the best way to go. –  joeqwerty Jun 27 '12 at 20:05
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As Chris has mentioned, the way you would generally handle that problem is associate your call center email address with some ticket management system that will log and distribute the work flow. There are plenty of free and paid options available (Track It, Spiceworks, etc).

I've never heard of the OST corruption issue, and have seen no issues with that setup. Office 2010 is actually set to automatically connect your profile to any other mailboxes you have full access to (when setup with autodiscover).

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You can use IMAP to avoid potential OST corruption. Regarding the question about many people working, well, to be honest, this would require a good organization skills and/or software development, integration and training. I don't think there would be any hack to solve this straight away using just Exchange and Outlook. The best thing would be to migrate into CRM, where emails are imported, so the CRM is handling the call-centre workflow as well acts as email client.

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No there is no problem doing this. I've done this for more than 5 users to the same mailbox before, for years under much older Exchange server versions than the current ones and it worked without issue.

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Doing this may not cause issues as long as the mail boxes are small. But I am dealing with thousands of emails in multiple boxes with many users connecting into the mailboxes and staying in there all day. It does eventually kill the OST file. I have had to rebuild several profiles because of it. we have taken them off cached mode and turned on exchange 2010 archiving to reduce the size. Once we get the MS CRM all setup we should be good, because I will set a queue to make all the emails into cases that can be assigned to different accounts. This will resolve the issue. Thanks for your help. –  Rob Jun 27 '12 at 16:16
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