Customer Inquiries

Inquiries on the Web Site

Customers can place inquiries to us in a variety of ways. For instance, the web site features an inquiry interface on many pages, such as on the homepage:

Using this interface, customers can place an inquiry (such as a consulting inquiry, a magazine support request, or something similar) and leave contact information, specify whom the inquiry is for (the “department”) and a message. The system then stores that inquiry in our internal system and notifies our staff by sending an email internally.

Inquiries in Olympus

Once an inquiry is in our system, it can also be seen in Olympus through the Customer Inquiries menu item, which displays a list similar to the following:

This interface shows a list of inquiries. By default, it shows all unhandled inquiries that are NOT known to be spam. The exact list of inquiries displayed can be changed through the filter button in the toolbar:

There are several filter options:

Note: The people showing up in the assignment filter section of the drop-down menu are dynamically retrieved. All users/staff that have items assigned will be present in the menu. If a person does not show up in this menu, then no inquiries have ever been assigned to that person/user/staff.

Note that the list of inquiries is loaded with information. The following screen shot shows some of the more significant elements:

By default, the list of inquiries is limited to a managable number of items that match the selected filter. It is possible to load more inquiries that match that same filter (in reverse chronological order) by clicking the Load More... button in the toolbar. Similarly, the list can be reloaded using the Refresh button. This reloads the list based on the current filter criteria. This may load additional inquiries that have been made since the last load, or - more likely - the list will change based on changes made in the list (such as having flagged items as spam).


Items in the list can easily be assigned to people using the Assign Person drop-down menu in the toolbar:

All users that have ever had any inquiries assigned to them show up in this list so an inquiry can be quickly assigned to them. If a new person is to be assigned an Inquiry, the Assign other... option allows selecting any person in our database.

Note: If an incorrect person is assigned, there is no “unassign”. Simply assign a different person.

Note: If a person is assigned to an inquiry, it is reasonable to assume that it is NOT spam. Therefore, the system flags an assigned item as Confirmed Not Spam.

It is also possible to assign departments. This is usually done by the customer when they make an inquiry, but since this is not always accurate (or simply ignored by customers), we can (re)assign departments through Olympus:

Items that are assigned to a person then remain flagged as Unhandled until someone clicks the Flag as Handled button. This flags the item as handled/closed and the system logs who did so, and when. If the button is clicked incorrectly, the Flag as NOT Handled button can be used to reset that state.


The majority of inquiries we receive are actually spam. We do not delete these inquiries, but we flag them as spam, so we can ignore them. This can easily be done by selecting one or more inquiries and hitting the “Flag as Spam” button. This sets the internal spam status indicator as Confirmed Not Spam. Conversely, if we know an item is def. not spam, we can flag it as such. The system can handle spam relatively sophisticated, and there are several stati associated with Spam:

Note: When the user clicks the Flag as Spam button, the next item in the list is automatically selected. This makes it possible to “click through and entire list” quickly, and flag items as spam. If an items incorrectly flagged as spam, it can simply be selected again and the Flag as NOT Spam button can be used to flag it otherwise.

Reading Pane

The right side of the inquiry UI is the reading pane, which shows the actual message and other detail:

This not just shows a lot of information (such as the subject, the sender name and email, spam and assigment, as well as handled status, and, of course, the actual message) but it also provides interaction options:

Note: The Reply button used the mailto: trigger to launch the default email client registered for that user on the Windows configuration. Not all email clients support all these features correctly, and some may not be able to default the message body correctly. However, all major email software, such as Microsoft Outlook, should work correctly.

Suggested Workflow

The typical flow of interaction should be the following:

  1. The Inquiry UI is opened in Olympus
  2. The filter should be set to show unassigned and unhandled items.
  3. All unassigned items should be either assigned to the correct person and department, or flagged as spam.
  4. One then looks at all the items assigned to one selve, and work through that list. Only when the item is truly closed, should it be flagged as handled.