thank you note
Photo courtesy of thecouchmanager.com

I have a few confessions to make.

Confession #1: I hate ‘reply all’ communication – or to be more specific, I hate how ‘reply all’ has been used mostly to create more confusing chatter and often times the focus of the initial communication quickly follows someone’s favorite rabbit trail sooner than later. One email with lots of names in the To or CC field about a meeting next week can quickly turn into a rant about the newest HR policy about booking conference rooms, or someone’s fund raiser to support a worthwhile cause.

Reply All is a worthwhile cause I have no doubt; it’s just doesn’t belong in a business email.

Or worst of all – and you know you’ve been there – you get put in a ‘reply all’ SMS group or some other social/mobile app that allows group messaging, and it can take a tech miracle before the ‘reply all’ communication game of ping pong is finally over (or is it really?). You’re smiling now because you know it’s true.

Confession #2: I love listening to customer feedback about our product and feature set. In fact, a large portion of what Red e App has evolved into is due to actively listening and continually soliciting feedback from both existing and future customers. Two early demos of our first product more than 2 years ago lead to this question …

We don’t give our frontline workforce company email so they can’t get access to certain files and information like our card carrying @company.com email workforce has. In fact, it’s always a challenge to talk to employees in real-time. Can your app do that?

A healthcare client asked, It would be great if we could send photos privately and securely. Can you do that yet?

Or another said, You know, I like how your one-to-one communication works, but what if I wanted to send a message to my entire store staff, BUT, I don’t want to have deal with getting a bunch of “reply all” responses. Can your app do that?

Group Messaging Thread
Group Messaging Thread

A few months ago we got a feature request I wasn’t too sure I wanted to build. In fact, my first thought to myself was, “Why in the world would that be beneficial?”

What did the customer ask for? ….. REPLY ALL!

As I listened to the scenario more closely to where a ‘reply all’ would be not only necessary but also business critical for this customer, I began to have a different perspective. I started to see how we could both build a feature that was both a positive experience for the mobile app user, and likewise gave the enterprise customer what was needed for secure and private group mobile communication.

The scenario centered around the company’s executives’ need to discuss critical and time sensitive issues with the entire executive team group. At times, those communication issues require the added layer of HIPAA compliance that our app has long included. Moreover, it wasn’t just the ability to enable ‘reply all’, the feature also had to show ‘read receipts’ for every single message of the others in the group. AND, being included in the group was mandatory. No one in the group could voluntarily remove him/herself from the group within the mobile app, which is vastly unlike every other group messaging app feature you’ve ever seen or heard about.

Group Messaging - Message Details
Group Messaging – Message Details

Once I understood the need, it made sense to create “reply all” not only for this specific customer, but also to empower our existing and future enterprise customers with this much needed mobile communication feature.

Thus, Group2Group messaging was born.

Why the name? Well, ‘reply-all group messaging’ has all kinds of baggage that we wanted to avoid and doesn’t do justice at all to what this truly innovative feature is capable of. In fact, only private network administrators have the ability to create and manage members of a Group2Group inside their administrative portal. Why? Because the enterprise requires additional layers of control.

Additionally, an individual user of Red e App cannot (and will never) be able to create ‘reply-all’ groups inside the app. Why? See Confession #1.

As with most technology products, seeing is believing and our team would be happy to demo this and the many other aspects of the Red e App platform and mobile app that are truly inventing a radically new way for both large enterprises and even small companies to connect and communicate with their ENTIRE workforce.

Oh, and if you don’t see a “must have” feature either on the website or demo, all you have to do is ask. We’re always listening.

Patrick Goodman
Red e App Product and Engagement Director