Can you make AI your email whisperer?

Insights from Susan Diaz of c+p digital

In the cray-cray realm of entrepreneurship, email often morphs from a helpful companion to a demanding taskmaster. The ceaseless barrage of notifications, relentless threads, and a never-ending quest for ‘inbox zero’ do not facilitate productivity. As a small business owner, you know your productivity and craft are key! Can Artificial Intelligence (AI) help you deal with the mundane so you can stay in your ‘zone of genius’?

Picture this. A world where the magic of Generative AI puts a super-powered assistant (like Jarvis in Ironman) right in your pocket. This baby-jarvis, tirelessly works to manage, organize, and even respond to your emails, freeing you – the spirited entrepreneur – from the clutches of digital correspondence. This newfound freedom paves the way for what truly matters – nurturing relationships, honing business strategies, and creating a culture of innovation and continual learning.

I’m not describing a Hollywood blockbuster or predicting the future. 

This is happening for many folks right now. Here’s how:

Step 1: Sign up for ChatGPT, if you haven’t already. (There are many other tools but start with this one because it’s ubiquitous.)

Step 2: Understand this 3-level framework that I use with our clients on how small business founders and go-to-market leaders (or anyone really!) can leverage AI to eliminate email overload without overthinking security issues. (Please refer the lead image for this article, which features an infographic of the framework. Start from the bottom of the circles, and work your way up, in the direction of the yellow arrow.)

Let’s dive right into each circle: 

  1. Automate routine requests in your email using AI and workflow automation tools.

Many of the emails that we receive daily are routine requests. AI excels at quickly generating appropriate responses to routine emails like: 

– Meeting scheduling 

– Basic product/service questions

– Status inquiries with details that live in your documentation and project management systems

With the right prompts, an AI assistant can reply to these repetitive requests in seconds. This includes creating a workflow using a workflow automation tool like Zapier (but that might be a couple of steps out if you’re just getting started). 

You could use a simple prompt for ChatGPT like: “Write a friendly response to a customer who is asking when their order will arrive. The due date is 2 weeks.” 

  • Use AI to handle specific challenging emails.  

Trickier stakeholder emails require finessed, customized responses that are best handled by human minds! But AI can still provide a strong starting point. Your simplest solution is to copy and paste the challenging email into ChatGPT. Remove any sensitive details like names or locations. Then create a specific prompt based on the context.

Here is a sample prompt “The client is asking for a 24-hour turnaround when that is not our policy. Generate a reply explaining why this request cannot be accommodated while preserving the relationship. Original email below (paste content here).”

Your AI will give you a thoughtful response tailored to the situation. Trust me, it’ll start you off at at least 50% better than a blank page. You can then tweak the language and add in the specifics before sending it on out.

If you’re ready for a higher level of automation, this is where workflows like ‘grab the shipping date from (insert CRM details) and write a 2 line note to this customer’ type instructions come into play via workflow automation tools.

  • Use AI to help you reply with emotional intelligence. 

Some emails demand sensitivity and emotional intelligence. Generative AI can help you understand the underlying needs and craft an empathetic response with ease. No more need to let an email get in your head, throw you off your game, or wasting your whole day!

Prompt ChatGPT to help you. For example: “This prospect is asking about pricing, but their real issue seems to be fear of commitment. Provide a 150-word response to address their worries and reassure them. (paste original email here)”

Getting started with foundational generative AI doesn’t need a wizard’s hat! It’s about opening your mind to a tool that is brimming with possibilities.

Susan Diaz is the founder CEO of Toronto content marketing firm c+p digital, and the author of “UNboring, take your content marketing from blah to brilliant”. She is pioneering the category of ‘AI agencies’ focussed on showcasing the potential of AI in supercharging productivity and efficiency for founder-led brands. Susan co-hosts 2 podcasts: The 4 am Report on what keeps marketers and founders up at night, and ABCDEI – conversations around unlearning bias, one alphabet at a time. She’s also mom to a tween girl and a Beagle boy who keep her busy!

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