What is Email Tracking and How to Use it for Customer Service

People barely consider email tracking to be a new thing these days. Salespeople and marketers have been using it for the last 15 to 20 years to engage with leads in a better manner and develop an email marketing strategy that actually delivers! 

Some of you might be wondering – what exactly is email tracking? And is there a hidden opportunity to use email tracking to provide better customer service? Keep reading to find out. 

What is email tracking?

Email tracking is essentially the procedure of tracking sent emails and leveraging that data to make informed business decisions. The majority of email tracking tools collect data on open rates, time, location, and click-throughs on attachments and links.  

Email tracking informs you when a recipient of an email that you sent opens and reads the message in said email. How this works is that you add a web beacon – a tiny image pixel – to the mails that you send to the recipients. It is not visible to the end reader and does not restrict or impact the email recipient in any way whatsoever. Certain actions like email opens or link clicks will trigger notifications back to your email management system, alerting you to the fact that the email recipient has performed certain actions on the email you sent. 

Can email tracking facilitate customer support?

When it comes to providing customer support, email tracking can prove to be of tremendous help and can streamline your customer service workflow to a great extent.

#1 Help with time-sensitive issues

Investing in an email management system that allows email tracking helps you save a lot of time. If you notice a customer is clicking on the links you sent and viewing a new proposal or cover letter that you attached with the email, there are clear signals that there is an intent to engage further or purchase. Contacting them at that point, when they are thinking about your email, makes that conversation far more timely and relevant. Furthermore, when you see that an individual has opened the email but has not responded within an hour or two, you can call them right away to follow up instead of sending more emails.  

#2 Personalize your communication

Most email tracking systems allow basic personalization features such as autofilling first names, or sender names – to build a human to human relationship with customers. However, using a helpdesk like Freshdesk with email ticketing capabilities lets you see a customer’s entire transaction history in order to find the most relevant information for each customer. 

Being able to reach out with a useful tip, recommendation, or resolve issues without an exhausting back and forth can be a determining factor in getting positive feedback after using your products or services. Segmenting your customer base by location, language or purchase history can further help allow you to personalize your email communication with customers. 

#3 Alerts and notifications

Being able to track email activity can also help support teams stay on top of all customer conversations. That’s where setting notifications for read emails or responses from customers actually becomes a life-saver as you will avoid missing emails from customers, ensure that every single email communication is addressed, and every issue is finally resolved. As for a prospect that’s only looking at what’s available on the market, a responsive customer support representative and timely reach-out may be the crucial factors in choosing between two companies.

By avoiding pointless follow-up emails, email tracking saves ample time for both the email recipient and the support representative. 

#4 A/B test email templates to find which one works best

With the help of email tracking, you can study your open and click-through rates. This statistic can prove to be very valuable when you are trying to approach customers in a more personalized way. If you observe that a very lengthy and detailed email template does not sit too well with the recipient and does not work as well as you would have hoped, try to send a concise and brief email next time around. The greater number of variations you experiment with, the quicker you will find the perfect spot!

You may A/B test your content with some of the email tracking tools. If you observe a rapid spike in clicks or/and opens after you implement some change, you will know that you are definitely onto something.

Is email tracking legal?

The short answer to this question is that for email tracking to be legal, you need the explicit consent of the email recipient.

Indeed, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and the CPPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) govern email trackers. This is because the email sender is monitoring the activities of the recipients without the latter’s knowledge. The sender can do this by making use of tracking pixels that gather personal information.

This is a predicament for two reasons:

  • The General Data Protection Regulation defines personal data as any information which identifies a person. This information comprises which web browser an individual is using, their actions, and their email addresses. 
  • Collection of the aforementioned email tracking information without the consent of the recipient is strictly forbidden by GDPR

These are the major points of GDPR that are most pertinent to customer support teams who use email tracking:

  • People have to agree to the collection of their personal data explicitly.
  • Individuals must know when, how, and what data is collected.
  • These people must be able to ask for their data to be deleted or edited.
  • They must clearly agree to be contacted by marketing people. 

Hence, if you are using email tracking, you must observe the following steps for GDPR and CCPA compliance. 

  • Ensure that you have created such a system that enables leads and prospects to clearly opt-in to email tracking and everything that it entails.
  • Ensure the leads that have opted in can easily opt-out at any time they want with no strings attached.  
  • Be transparent and disclose that you are making use of tracking technologies in the privacy policy.

Additionally, it is also beneficial to choose an email tracker that allows you to exclude specific regions or users from being tracked.

Track or not to track?

We all should understand that living in a busy world has given us no chance for downtime, especially if you are running your own business among the fierce competition and want to outdo your competitors. That’s where email tracking software comes into play with all its advantages. 

As simple as it is, email tracking software takes away the uncertainty that used to surround emailing. Not only can marketing and sales teams benefit from such software in their attempts to gain more conversions. Customer support representatives too can address customer needs better and build meaningful business relationships in the long run.