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How to Use A Gmail Shared Inbox

Keeping Team | September 4th, 2021

Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Keeping them happy is crucial to your company’s success. But managing your relationships with your customers isn’t always easy.

Many small- to medium-sized businesses use Gmail to field customer service questions, concerns, and other requests.  Everyone on your customer service team needs access to incoming customer requests. To do this, experts recommend creating a Gmail shared inbox for your customer service team. 

How does it work? How can you set up and manage your Google apps shared mailbox? Read on to find out what you need to know.

How does a Gmail shared mailbox work? 

As its name suggests, a shared inbox is an inbox that multiple people can access and use to send and receive emails

A shared inbox is typically used to help sales or support teams manage incoming and outgoing messages. 

For example, you may want to create a shared inbox for addresses such as support@yourcompany.com or sales@yourcompany.com. This way, every member of your sales or support team can access the inbox to read and respond to emails just as they would if they were the sole owner of the inbox. Regardless of which member of your team responds, the email will be sent from the shared email address.

To access the shared mailbox, users simply need to log into their email account. They don’t need to create a unique log-in and password for the shared mailbox.

Gmail shared inbox overload

How can you use Gmail to create a shared mailbox?

Creating a shared Gmail inbox is easy. Follow these steps to set one up:

  1. Create a new Gmail account for the email address you want to associate with the shared inbox.
  2. Log into this Gmail account and click on “Settings” and then “See All Settings.” You must be on a computer to access these settings.
  3. Click on the Accounts and Import Tab.
  4. Look for the “Grant access to your account” section. Click on “Add another account.”
  5. Enter the email address of the person who you would like to add to the shared inbox. 
  6. Click on “Send email to grant access.” The person will receive an email from Gmail asking them to confirm that they want access to the shared inbox. They must accept this invitation in order to access the shared inbox.

Now, each person who you grant access to will be able to view the shared inbox whenever they log into their email account. Repeat these steps to add additional members of your team to the shared inbox.

If you need to revoke someone’s access to the shared inbox, visit the same Accounts and Import tab in your settings. Scroll down to the “Grant access to your account” section. You should see a list of email addresses that currently have access to your shared inbox. Click on “Delete” next to the email address you wish to remove from the shared inbox.

Are you having trouble granting access to someone on your team? If so, check the email address you are entering. You can only add other people from your company to your shared inbox, so it won’t work if you are trying to grant access to someone using their personal email.

If you’re still unable to grant access to someone, check your settings. The “Require user to change password at next sign-in” option needs to be turned off. If it’s not, you won’t be able to add new users to your shared inbox.

Gmail shared inbox on mobile

Why should you share a Google inbox?

There are many reasons why you should consider setting up a G Suite shared mailbox for your customer service team. Some of the benefits of a Gmail shared inbox include:

  • Easier for customers to contact you. Having one shared email address for your entire customer service team makes it easier for customers to remember who to contact when they need assistance.
  • Increased visibility. Everyone on your customer service team will have access to all of the emails sent to the inbox, which increases visibility and transparency.
  • Improves collaboration. Sending all customer requests to one inbox makes it easier for your customer service team to work together on resolving customer issues.
  • Faster response time. Your customers won’t have to wait until a specific member of the customer service team is available to get a response to their request. Instead, an urgent request can be handled by anyone who has access to the inbox.
  • Easy to monitor. Monitoring a shared inbox is just as easy as monitoring an individual Gmail account, so you won’t need to spend hours training new members of your customer service team.

Grow with your business. As your business grows, so can your shared inbox. You can give new members of your team access to the shared inbox at any time.

What challenges will you face when using a shared Gmail inbox?

There’s no question that there are countless benefits to creating a shared inbox for your customer service team. However, Gmail’s shared inbox product is far from perfect

A shared inbox looks and works just like a standard Gmail inbox. The standard Gmail set-up may work just fine for an individual account, but it is not ideal when multiple people are using the same inbox. Because of this, you may encounter several challenges when using a shared inbox, including:

  • Duplicating efforts
  • Failing to respond to requests
  • Unbalanced workloads
  • Difficulty communicating

Gmail shared inbox with a team

Duplicating efforts

There’s no way to delegate customer requests to specific members of your team using Gmail’s shared inbox. As a result, multiple customer service representatives may start working on a request or responding to an email at the same time. 

The customer may receive two responses from different members of your team, which can create confusion and chaos. Duplicating efforts is also an inefficient use of your team’s time. Avoiding this scenario is one of the main challenges that teams will face when using a shared Gmail inbox.

Failing to respond to requests

Not being able to delegate customer requests to members of your team could also lead to other problems. For example, say a customer request comes in via email. Everyone on your team sees it in the shared inbox, but they all assume that someone else will handle it. Because everyone makes this assumption, the customer never heard back from your company. 

Unbalanced workloads

Because you can’t assign tasks to other team members in a Gmail shared inbox, there’s no way for you to ensure that everyone on your customer service team is pulling their weight. This can result in unbalanced workloads across your customer service team. 

Difficulty communicating

There’s no way for team members to communicate or collaborate with one another in Gmail’s shared inbox. This tool does not have built-in communication features, which means your team may need to use a third party instant messaging or project management tool to discuss a specific task.

Having to switch back and forth between an inbox and a third party tool can complicate things. For example, say one customer service representative uses an instant messaging app to ask their team lead a question about a specific request from a customer named David A. The team lead opens the shared inbox to look up the request. However, the team lead accidentally opens a request from a customer named David B. instead. Because the team lead is looking at the wrong request, they provide incorrect information to the representative who is trying to resolve David A’s issue. 

Gmail shared inbox screen

How can you effectively manage a Gmail shared inbox?

Fortunately, there is a way to overcome the challenges of sharing a Gmail inbox. Keeping is a third party tool that turns your shared inbox into a help desk. Using this tool, your team can convert customer service email requests into trackable and assignable tickets within Gmail.

Why do small- and medium-sized businesses love Keeping? Let’s count the ways:

  1. It’s invisible to your customers. Your customers will never know you are using a third party tool to manage and respond to their requests. 
  2. It allows everyone on your team to respond to customer service emails directly from their inbox. All of these emails are organized in a different section of their inboxes so they can keep them separate from their other work-related emails.
  3. It puts an end to duplicate efforts. Keeping prevents more than one person on your team from working on the same request.
  4. It makes it easy to share the workload. Your team can assign tasks to each other to ensure that everyone has a balanced, fair workload.
  5. It provides status updates. You can update the status on each request to “Open,” “Closed,” or “Pending,” so nothing falls through the cracks.
  6. It enables communication. You can easily share notes, questions, or comments with your team within Keeping so you won't need to use a third party tool to communicate.

To learn more about Keeping, start your free 14-day trial today.