updated 07:00 pm EST, Mon November 28, 2011
Aimed at small-biz app developers
When a new product first appears, particularly in the shareware world, it is often the work of one or two people. Keeping up with support requests -- particularly if the product quickly finds an audience -- can be time-consuming. Ruben Bakker, the developer of Mailplane, is offering his own new app that tries to solve the problem of letting developers stay mostly focused on development with the release of Replies, a customer-support e-mail program.
Bakker originally wrote the app for himself in 2008, to allow him to quickly and easily prioritize customer requests. The program let him re-use snippets of text, screenshots and short instructional videos so that common issues or requests could be acknowledged quickly but could still be personalized. Bakker is now releasing the application as a general tool for other developers who mostly handle their own support via e-mail.
The program is set up to automatically prioritize incoming e-mails, such as into "complaint," "suggestion" or "testimonial" so that a developer can very quickly see which e-mails need attention first. It compiles a library of replies and media used in replies to let users quickly compose a "stock" answer made up of bits of previous answers, while still letting the author customize the reply with additional text, substitutions and details such as the writers' first name. Users can create their own smart folders for further classification such as "new customers" or "VIP."
Replies also archives older and replied-to messages, keeping the inbox clear and more manageable. Messages can also be marked "pending" if further conversation is needed, or "resolved."
The program sells for $80 for a personal license and includes all 1.x updates. Organizational licenses are available starting at $130. The app comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, and a free trial is also available.