CompassAir Discussions

 

 

“A brilliant feature that saves us loads of time and has de-cluttered our inbox!”

Overview

Discussions is a chat-like feature that enables CompassAir users to communicate with each other without adding to “email noise”.

What does it do?

Discussions can take place in two ways:

1. Chat with other CompassAir users in your organisation, similar to WhatsApp, and also

2. Users with access to a shared mailbox can have a discussion “behind” particular emails that are sent and received

What benefits does it bring?

1. Discussions significantly reduces the number of emails that quickly clutter an inbox.

2. Faster communication with colleagues takes place compared to using email, and it still creates a permanent record. It’s quick and easy to use with a familiar format.

3. Team members can discuss a particular email, agree how and who should respond, simultaneously attaching to the thread those thoughts and comments, useful if they need to be reviewed later, again without adding to “email noise”.

4. It improves team collaboration: ideas, thoughts and comments can be shared before making decisions on how best to respond to third parties. Transparency is improved – see what team members are doing and how progress is being made.

5. A permanent audit trail is created , for review at a later date should the need arise.

How valuable is it?

1. We found it can reduce the number of daily emails by up to 50% in some cases (McKinsey found around 28% of the working week is spent dealing with emails).

2. Better decisions are made when the input of colleagues can be accessed quickly and easily.

3. Clarity of thought and process. An SnP broker client was able to refer to what would previously only been an undocumented “chat” around a particular sale clarifying a position that may have previously lead to dispute with their own client.

4. It has proved to be an invaluable tool when team members don’t work in the same office.

5. Delegation to team members, e.g. who should take charge of an incoming enquiry, is quicker and easier.

How is it used and what does it look like?

When chatting with colleagues in the same organisation the format is very familiar. In the example below Tom, who is based in London, can have a quick “chat” with his colleague Mike in Monaco, keeping a record in case he needs to refer to it at a later date. The feature is accessed from the side menu bar.

The second way in which discussions are used is when they take place around (are effectively attached to) a particular email.

 

In the example aside, the Chartering Department has received an email enquiry from Maurice P in Athens. Mike in Monaco wants to know the yacht’s availability, in writing, but doesn’t want to send emails to each of his colleagues in Palma and London. He can do this by clicking on the speech bubble icon in the email header then messaging the other members of the Chartering Department (i.e. those who have access to the same inbox). The resulting discussion “sits behind” the email, a permanent record for future reference.

 

Mentioning a person, e.g. @Tom S, sends an alert seen on the top menu bar of Tom’s CompassAir home screen so he knows immediately someone is trying to attract his attention.

 

A blue speech bubble indicates there is a discussion “behind” a particular email.

In the example to the left, Tom Smith has been mentioned in a number of discussions and this is brought to his attention via the red alert at the top of the CompassAir home screen. As he has access to both the Chartering and Accounts shared mailboxes, he will also be alerted when these departments are mentioned in discussions. Clicking on a reminder opens that message, together with the associated discussion, in a separate tab.

Multiple reminders in CompassAir

As an SnP Broker, an example of how the “attached” chat might be used could be as follows: you’re in negotiations to sell a bulker and you need to check a specific clause with a colleague that’s mentioned in an urgent email just received. Unfortunately she’s currently on a flight. You would like a written response, but don’t want to add to the email noise. Using Integrated Chat you simply start a discussion that forms part of that same email, flag it for your colleague for when she arrives, and it’s immediately visible to the whole team sharing your mailbox if anyone needs to comment. For the WhatsApp-type chat, you can start a group with your team, maybe one that shares potential opportunities in a particular geographical location or vessel type. This helps minimise email clutter, especially when your colleagues are working in many different locations.

If you are an Ship Owner or a Manager, you might have scheduled some important technical works after discharging in Singapore. You then receive an urgent email from senior management asking for immediate departure. You would like to discuss it with your colleagues, keeping a written record of what’s said, but once again don’t want to add to the email noise. As before, the discussion you start can detail your thoughts, be flagged for your colleagues with the whole team being able to see and comment. The WhatsApp-type groups you form could be used, for example, to share news about freight rates, or to discuss and draw attention to congestion in particular ports.

For a Chartering Broker, integrated chat will also be of great value. Say that you were needing to check some details related to fixing a Capesize to carry iron ore from Tubarao to Qingdao, but, once again, your colleague is not immediately available. Start the discussion, flag it for your colleague and it will be there for her to see, along with the original email, as soon as she is available. As before, the team sharing your mailbox will also be able to contribute. For the groups, again, there are so many ways these can be used – maybe sharing news about the availability of different types of cargos in different locations, about freight rates or passing on information from owners.

In summary

CompassAir discussions improves team collaboration, enables faster and easier communication with colleagues, leads to better decision making, creates a permanent audit trail and declutters your inbox.