11.19.08

email tool

Posted in Email at 8:01 pm by ducky

I spoke a while back with Jason Gallic, the Product Marketing Manager for Email Center Pro.  They have a product designed for improving email-based customer service, including automatic reply templates.

Fourteen years ago, I got to use a webmail system @ATS, developed for the National Center for Supercomputing Applications by the talented Ben Johnson.  (Ben?  Email me!)  @ATS let you set up filters that would suggest a response if the condition you specified was met.  When you read a message, after the message at the bottom, there would be a few checkboxes next to titles of suggested responses. I had the option of selecting any or none of the checkboxes, then pressing either a “Send as is” button or “Edit response” button.  @ATS would include the responses that I checked, and send/let me edit it.

For example, I had one filter set up to suggest the “Undergraduate admissions” answer if the word “admissions” was in the body of the message.  I had another filter which suggested the “Graduate admissions answer” if the word “admissions” was in the body of the message.  By reading the message, I could sometimes tell if they were interested in graduate or undergraduate admissions, in which case I would click the appropriate box and send it on.  Sometimes I couldn’t tell, so I would click both boxes and send it on.  Sometimes I wanted to add a little extra information that I happened to know — if, for example, they asked about who would be a good advisor for research on hydrogen embrittlement in high-carbon steels — I would check the “graduate admissions” box and add the additional information before sending it on.

I ranted to Jason about how useful auto-suggest is; we’ll see if he manages to get it into his product.

Comments »

  1. Pragmatic Geek » Blog Archive » GTD suffers from the lack of an implementation said,

    November 26, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    […] been thinking a lot about personal productivity after getting a blast from the past and the emails it spawned about the persistent poor state of high volume email […]

  2. Best Webfoot Forward » Dangers of email said,

    February 17, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    […] Johnson, a graduate student at the University of Illinois developed a wonderful, wonderful webmail tool called @ATS to help NCSA provide email support for Mosaic, the first graphical Web browser.  I was good […]

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