When using email to collaborate there are those occasions when you want to inform someone without letting anyone else on the thread know. That’s the role of BCC, or blind carbon copy. The individuals on the ‘BCC line receive a copy of the email without the knowledge of anyone else.
Folks frequently use BCC to keep third parties informed about a collaboration. For example, a sales rep who BCC’s the sales manager when communicating with a prospect. The sales manager gets to keep tabs on the collaboration, but doesn’t have to be an active participant. Other examples include BCC’ing people from compliance, HR, or legal while dealing with a thorny issue.
While being able to BCC is useful, it’s not without problems. Below are some of the top issues that commonly crop up. We took these into account when designing our “better BCC,” or the Ghost feature in TakeTurns.
Problem #1: Recipients that reply all accidentally
In email, people you BCC can message just like everyone else. Despite being hidden from view they can still reply, forward, and (worst of all) reply all. Nearly every professional we asked about BCC had a story of someone who was in BCC and replied all. While most of the time it was just embarrassing, in some cases the error was catastrophic.
How TakeTurns solves this: Participants that you assign the ghost role cannot perform any actions in the collaboration, least of all reply all accidentally.
Problem #2: No historical context
Many people complained about being BCC’d in the middle of a collaboration or workstream. They described being confused about what was going on and being provided with little to no context about the situation.
How TakeTurns solves this: When you add a Ghost to your collaboration, they get automatic access to the collaboration’s history, all messages, and all files and documents. This helps them come up to speed quickly and requires no effort on your part.
Problem #3: No on-going context
Adding someone to BCC in email is done manually, on an email-by-email basis. “It’s really a ‘one-off’” one attorney said, “it’s not something you can do for every email in a collaboration.” What this means is that BCC'd individuals will not receive any replies and are typically left off subsequent messages in the thread resulting in information gaps. This leads to a loss of both visibility and therefore, context.
How TakeTurns solves this: As long as they are a participant, Ghosts can see everything everyone else sees, in real time. This helps them keep abreast of any developments and helps them provide advice in a timely manner.
How to add ghosts to your collaborations
Adding a Ghost is easy. When you add a new participant (e.g., put in their email) simply set their role to Ghost.
Alternatively, you can change the role of an existing participant to Ghost.
By the way, the Ghost role is only available for Plus subscribers.
The ability to provide on-going access to collaborations without worrying about potential mishaps has proven quite essential to several TakeTurns users. Broadly speaking, our customers have found success when using Ghosts for:
- Legal and Compliance Review: A legal team uses the Ghost feature to monitor interactions with clients. The feature allows them to follow the collaboration without interrupting the flow. They can catch potential legal issues before they become problems, allowing the sales (or renewals) team to close the deal faster and with less risk.
- Management Oversight: A sales manager uses the Ghost feature to track the progress of a new sales rep's interactions with prospects. This allows the manager to keep tabs on the situation and provide feedback in private to the new hire, enhancing the training process and improving sales strategies without embarrassing or undermining the new hire in front of the client.
- Project Collaboration: In a project involving multiple teams inside and outside the organization, the project manager uses the Ghost feature to allow key stakeholders from each group to monitor progress across collaborations without having to actively participate in each one. This results in improved transparency and communication leading to smoother project execution.
And most importantly, folks seem to find the ghosts friendly. “Previously, I’d forward new emails to legal just to be sure it was completely separated,” said one user, “I don’t have to do that anymore.” Another said, “I used to have to replay everything in every meeting even though I had BCC’d sales management. Now they check TakeTurns. It keeps everyone on the same page. We still meet, but it’s to talk strategy.”
The Ghost role is one of the ways that TakeTurns is improving how we all collaborate. To learn more about TakeTurns visit our Help Center or follow us on LinkedIn and YouTube. And, if you’d like to give the Ghost role a try, sign up for a free 30-day trial.