Email software for Political Representatives. (MP Canada)

My wife works for an MP in Canada. The email system they use is backed by Exchange.

She needs email software that can:

Group emails into giant piles by topic - imagine all the emails sent to the rep that start off “Dear {myrepname} I am very angry about X”
Lots of these email are sent by services which are essentially scams to collect names and addresses for special interest groups, and at the same time flood politicians email boxes. A lot of this could be dealt with by fairly simple filters from includes and subject includes X.

Surface Postal Code information in the email - Look for any postal codes in the email, and if it finds one, or more, copy that to the top of the email in big bold letters.

  • Canadian Postal codes are A#A #A# - A=A capital Letter, # = 1 digit. If you aren’t a cabinet minister, then most of the email you want to deal with is only for your riding, so if the Postal code doesn’t belong inside your riding, then the best you can do is send them to the right Representative
  • This need is the same for Federal MPs, and Provincial Members.
  • Cleverly parsing the postal code for auto categorization as in or out of riding would be nice but simply surfacing them would be the big win.
  • if the in and out of the riding info is very very good, then it could be combined with the sorting by complaint type to count complaints in the riding.

Don’t make all emails have to come from some web form - Yes it would be cool to try to make everybody email the Member using some form, but lots of people won’t do it, and the email addresses are published to many places to stop it.

Easy hot keys for standard replies - “You have emailed your Federal member and your inquiry is Provincial, please contact Rep X or Y depending on where you live”. “Thank you for your Municipal concern, the best place for Municipal answers is with your municipality. Include contact info for towns, cities, and counties in the riding”. under 10 standard answers that can be updated would cover 90% of emails.

If would be great if the most abusive emails could be 100% dealt with by computer - this probably can’t happen, but between Covid-19 and social media the emails are getting much more hostile, or depressing and so much harder to deal with.

They do have a standard bounce email that gets sent back to every email - “Thank you for your inquiry, Please note that in order to be dealt with we need a Constituents Name, Phone number, email address and Postal Code. A complete address would be nice too. A clear statement of what you want your representative to do for you helps us serve you faster and better. Inquiries will be dealt with within x business days”. A version of this is a giant help. If you are doing this yourself you may want to have a Civics lesson below this outlining which level of government deals with which types of problems, but this will dilute your message, and should be avoided.

Probably similar systems are needed for reps all over, Even the postal code part is probably a universal need. If anybody has suggestions I’m all ears.

Honestly what she needs/they need as a team is not an email system, it’s either a ticket system or a CRM, or some combination thereof.


As I understand it, a lot of ticketing systems integrate in various ways with email, so it’s possible to route emails to become tickets, and maybe even use details from the email to do so. That said, I’ve never directly used one — I’ve just watched the endless updates for tickets I’ve opened at different companies…

No real ideas, just sympathy for your wife and her employer :frowning:

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I worked for a member of Congress years ago and we used a software tool called Quorum that was very powerful (back then) and I think the modern version of the product is called Intranet Quorum. Here is the product page: Here are some highlights, pasted from the website:

Powering Public Service

Intranet Quorum (IQ) is the leading communications and process management tool powering the public sector. Proudly serving 65% of the United States Congress, 50% of U.S. Governors and more than 100 federal, state and local government agencies in every corner of the country.


IQ is equipped to manage even the most complex and unique business processes.

Streamline complex internal workflows
Track any internal process, whether its from one of our many built-in templates or from a custom template built by your dedicated IQ Consultant.

Manage citizen requests and casework
IQ’s encrypted web forms allow citizens to submit sensitive information like Social Security numbers and privacy release forms directly to your office’s IQ CRM where it will automatically notify the assigned caseworker.

Measure and analyze data
Run pre-built reports or create custom reports on any data in IQ to view actionable metrics on citizen communications, eNewsletter subscribers, service request statuses, staff productivity, events, and more.

Administer boards and commissions
For state agencies, easily track and view board vacancies, collect seat applications, run financial disclosures and criminal background checks - IQ makes managing your locality’s boards and commissions easy and efficient.

This software appears to be designed for (or at least primarily used by) American politicians and government agencies, but maybe it’s more universal. It seems like this is at least along the lines of what your wife and her Member are in need of.

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I know they often get bad press, but has your wife reached out to Shared Services Canada? I only ask because any tool you potentially bring in may need to ultimately go through them for email routing or access, and they might have a solution already available.

I work for one of the Canadian banks and I know that anytime we want to integrate a service with our email provider, it’s a bureaucratic headache, so it’s often much easier to hope and pray that someone else already did the legwork and you can simply use whatever they’ve brought on.

I agree with what others have said, an email client really isn’t the solution, you need a more dedicated piece of software. They can often work with regular email so constituents wouldn’t immediately know the difference.

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Really you want it to be the other way around, emails land in a ticket system where are automatically assigned to the right group of people who can deal with them.

This means instead of receiving your email, and the first step required being Jay convert this into a help desk ticket (or answer it and deal forevermore with help desk questions landing in their inbox), it goes straight to the help desk where anyone assigned to the help desk (which may change based on the time of day, day of the week, holidays, promotions, etc.) can respond to it. The person who takes (or is assigned) the ticket can also see previous tickets you’ve opened, who handled them, and a history of what’s going on—which should result in a better response. It doesn’t matter if Jay is on holiday, parental leave, or left the company and their inbox was deactivated—the incoming message gets handled. Of course, if it’s personal then that’s a different question. However, especially in this case, there shouldn’t be any personal inquiries landing in this system (with the exception of people asking the candidate things one presumes).

This also means there should never be a time when a person gets multiple responses—no “first email said yes, second said no, I’ll choose”, the people who work on those emails see that it was already answered and resolved, which saves time too—and we all love being productive around here :wink:

Template answers are a core feature of ticket systems so should any such system that has already been approved for use, ought to check that box!