Thanks to the ubiquitous AOL floppy disks and CDs that littered our real mailboxes, email was the backbone of the early internet. It was a simpler time from when 60 or 70% of email was from another human being. Email has continued to put up a good fight since, even through the spam overload of the 2000s.
Today, better and smarter filters have made spam a controllable condition — but instead of Nigerian money scams, the avalanche of nothingness now comes from machines. Email marketing from online shopping sites, receipts and e-statements from banks and subscription services, new Twitter followers, old Facebook friends, and work and personal threads without end.
As a tool for collaboration, email is flawed, fragmented, and broken. We’re not the first people to say it. We won’t be the last.
Even though we use it daily, email is an outdated tool for teamwork. There’s something intrinsic about communicating with a large amount of people that’s going to be difficult to manage, especially given the firehose of information we receive daily.
Make progress on work, not your inbox
How do you lose control of your email? In the words of Ernest Hemingway: “Two ways. Gradually, and then suddenly.”
For us, “gradually” happened in 2014, when our team grew to 10 and we suddenly realised we were spending more time scheduling meetings than actually being in the meeting. Internal work emails were mixed in with messages from potential clients, correspondence from current students, and newsletters we never actually subscribed to. Email chains were long and difficult to read, splintering into multiple chains and leaving key people out of the discussion. If we wanted to loop someone into the conversation, we forwarded a casserole of back-and-forth messages and attachments and hoped it arrived intact. In hindsight, it felt archaic because it was.
With Cialfo, communication happens one-to-one. When you want to message a student, you send them a message from their student profile. If another member of your team wants to look at your past communications with them, they simply open up the in-app messenger and they can catch up on the entire conversation in full context. That’s it.
It gets even easier with bulk messages. With email announcements, you’d have to CC every single student, parent, or guardian. Broadcast messages in Cialfo are sent to a targeted set of students defined by you and filtered based on their student profile. No more “reply all” mistakes, or accidentally leaving someone important out of the loop – and no chances of someone missing an important email either, since your broadcasts can also be sent as texts or in-app messages.
A central source of team knowledge
An email inbox is, essentially, just another to-do list to manage. You have to continually prune it before it’s out of control. Inbox clutter is overwhelming and keeps you from doing your job. Scheduling meetings frequently turns into a painful back-and-forth, and it only gets worse the more people have to attend.
Cialfo makes you and your team more productive by letting you focus on the work you actually want and need to do instead of managing endless emails. Students schedule meetings with you on your Cialfo calendar, where they can see times you’re available instead of constantly emailing to check. This means you don’t have a running list of 200 unread messages — most of which is someone asking what time you’re free for a consult — to distract you.
On top of that, Cialfo allows you to quickly take notes within a student profile. Use this for whatever you like, from their dreams and ambitions to their preferred style of architecture. You can easily get back to ideas from a day, a week, or even a year ago. Share these notes with your students, or keep them private. Newcomers get caught up to speed faster, teams recover less painfully from departures, and counsellors can better absorb the information that they need to do better work.
All student information is organised and accessible in one single place. Everyone sees the same version of the story — a student’s grades, activities, or even how responsive they are. In Cialfo, you don’t have to go about asking your coworkers for updates, because it’s all already there.
A summary: how does Cialfo replace email?
- Schedule meetings from within the app without the email back-and-forth.
- Broadcast important announcements to a targeted set of students.
- Easily and share notes with students or team members.
- Use the in-app messenger for private, personal communication with students.
- Grow a centralised source of team knowledge and client information that builds upon itself.
We hope this helps you see the potential for a new way of work. If you’re done with email for teamwork, send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.