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How to Manage Multiple Inboxes in Gmail

Keeping Staff | September 15th, 2021

Email is one of the most frequently used methods of communication. Every day, the average person spends about 209 minutes checking their work email and 143 minutes checking their personal email. This means people spend an average of nearly six hours per day checking their emails.

Based on this data, it’s clear that checking emails can take up a significant amount of time in the average person’s workday. The amount of time your team spends checking their email may vary depending on several factors, including the number of inboxes they are monitoring. 

This is especially true when it comes to customer service teams. Every member of your customer service team may monitor two inboxes on a daily basis: their own Gmail work account and the shared customer service account. The latter is an account shared by your customer service team that customers can contact with requests. It may have an address such as support@yourcompany.com.

If your team is monitoring more than one inbox, you can improve their productivity by teaching them how to manage multiple inboxes in Gmail.

How to manage multiple inboxes with Gmail 

One way to manage multiple inboxes is to create mini inboxes within your primary Gmail inbox so you can monitor all of your emails in one place.

Multiple Gmail Inboxes

Getting started

Follow these steps to set up Google multiple inboxes in your primary Gmail account:

  1. Log into your primary Gmail account and click on settings.
  2. Scroll down to “Inbox type” and click on “Multiple Inboxes.”
  3. Click on “Customize,” which is located directly underneath “Multiple Inboxes.”
  4. Now, you will need to define each of the inboxes you would like to create. Enter “from:person’s email address” to create an inbox that is associated with a specific person or client. Or, enter “label:name of label” if you'd like to create inboxes for emails with existing labels within your Gmail account. Now whenever you assign a label to an incoming email, it will be redirected to the appropriate inbox. A third option is set up a separate inbox for all email sent to another Gmail account. To do this, enter “to:you@yoursecondemail.com” into the “Search query” column. However, this option will only work if you’ve already gone through the process of forwarding emails from your secondary account to your primary account.
  5. You can give each defined inbox a unique name in the “Section name” column, but this is optional. 
  6. You can also customize the layout of your multiple inboxes. Choose where you want the inboxes to appear and the number of emails you want to appear per inbox.
  7. Click on “Save changes” once you are satisfied with your choices.

Once you navigate back to your inbox, you should see your newly created multiple inboxes.

Pros and cons of using Gmail to manage multiple inboxes

There are some advantages to using Gmail to manage your multiple inboxes, including:

  • Because everything stays within Gmail, your team won’t need to learn how to use another tool to manage their inboxes. 
  • It only takes a few minutes to set up.
  • It helps you categorize your emails to keep them organized.
  • You can define your own inboxes, which allows you to customize your experience to fit your needs.

There are also a number of drawbacks to using Gmail to manage your multiple inboxes, including:

  • You cannot use Gmail to set up multiple inboxes if you are currently using Promotions, Social, or other tabs to organize your emails.
  • You can only manage up to five inboxes per account. 
  • It is not an effective way to manage shared Gmail inboxes, which are inboxes that more than one person can access.

Should your customer service team use Gmail to manage multiple inboxes?

The short answer? No, this feature was not designed for customer service teams who need to manage multiple inboxes. 

Why? Let’s say each customer service representative follows the steps above to redirect mail from the shared customer service account into their inbox. Now, they will be able to see email from both their personal work account and the shared customer service account in one place. 

Problems can arise whenever this representative sees an incoming email from a customer in the shared customer service account. The representative immediately sees the request and begins responding to it. 

However, what they don’t know is that another member of the team who also monitors this shared inbox is already responding to it, so the customer ends up getting two responses to their request. Plus, they forget to change the “from” email address before sending the email. As a result, the customer receives a reply from their personal work email address rather than the support@yourcompany.com email address.

This is just one example of why your customer service team should not use this feature to manage their shared inbox.

How to manage multiple Gmail inboxes with Keeping

The most effective method is using a third party tool such as Keeping to increase the efficiency of managing multiple Gmail inboxes. Keeping is specifically designed to help teams manage shared Gmail inboxes.

Getting started

It only takes a few minutes to start managing your shared inboxes using Gmail. Here’s what to do:

  1. Log into Keeping using the Gmail account you use for work.
  2. Enter your company’s name and the shared email address you use to provide customer service and support.
  3. Login to your shared email address with Keeping, and Keeping will automatically sync the email arriving here.  If you prefer, you can also use Gmail’s forwarding feature.
  4. You can ask Keeping to send a test email to your shared account to confirm that the email forwarding is working correctly.

After completing these steps, download and login to the Keeping Chrome Extension and then head back to your primary Gmail account. You should see a new “Keeping” folder directly underneath your drafts folder. All emails from your shared customer service inbox will now be sent to this folder.

Why use Keeping to manage multiple Gmail inboxes

There are countless advantages to using Keeping to manage multiple Gmail inboxes, including:

  • It’s easy to set up.
  • Keeping works on top of Gmail, so your team will already know how to use it.
  • It does more than simply organize your emails into multiple inboxes. Keeping serves as a customer support tool and help desk for Gmail. 
  • It enables communication and collaboration between members of your customer support team.

Should your customer service team use Keeping to manage multiple inboxes?

Keeping is the best way for teams of any size to manage multiple inboxes within Gmail. It is designed with all of the features your team needs to effectively manage their inboxes, including:

  • Collision detection. You won’t have to worry about your team duplicating their efforts if you use Keeping to manage your inboxes. Keeping is designed with a feature that tells you when someone else has already responded to an email or is in the process of responding. This way, you won’t waste your time working on a request that’s already being handled.
  • Task assignments. Keeping turns every email into a task that can be assigned to other members of your customer service team. 
  • Shared notes. Keeping allows you to attach notes to tasks so you can add important context or provide details about a specific request to your team members. 
  • Reporting. You can pull reports to evaluate how well your team is handling incoming customer service requests. You can see important metrics such as the number of incoming requests and the average response time. 
  • Automation. Set “if/then” rules to automatically assign tasks, prioritize incoming requests, or remove spam from your shared inbox.
  • Shared templates. Your team shouldn’t have to manually type out a response to frequently asked questions. Save the answers to these commonly asked questions so your team can insert a response into an email with just a few clicks of the mouse.

These are some of the many reasons why small- and medium-sized businesses rely on Keeping to manage their inboxes and their customer service efforts. Start your free trial today to learn more about how Keeping can make it easier to manage your customer service efforts.