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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.

Can you have multiple inboxes in Gmail?

Yes, you can have multiple inboxes in a Gmail account. Google uses the term “multiple inboxes” to describe mini inboxes housed within your main Gmail inbox. Using multiple inboxes can make it easier to keep your emails organized.

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

How to set up multiple inboxes in Gmail

It’s not hard to set up multiple inboxes in Gmail. 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.

How to manage a Gmail inbox with multiple inboxes

Once you navigate back to your inbox, you should see your newly created multiple inboxes. Now the rules you applied to define each inbox should take effect. For example, say you created a separate inbox for all emails sent from your manager. After following the steps above, this rule will take effect, which means all emails from your manager should appear in your new inbox rather than your main inbox.

Managing Gmail multiple inboxes is similar to managing a single Gmail inbox. You can choose how to organize, prioritize, and respond to incoming emails. The only difference is you will need to check all of your inboxes rather than just your primary inbox.

What if your Gmail multiple inboxes are not showing up?

You cannot set up Gmail multiple inboxes if you are currently using Promotions, Social, Updates, or Forums tabs in your inbox. If your Gmail multiple inboxes aren’t showing up after following the steps listed above, you most likely need to disable these tabs.

To do so, click on “Settings.” Then, scroll down and click on “Inbox” to open your inbox settings. Confirm that “Primary” is the only option that is selected in the “Categories” section. If other options are selected, uncheck them and click “Save” before exiting. Unchecking these boxes should make the multiple inboxes appear in your primary inbox.

Pros and cons of using multiple inboxes in Gmail

There are some advantages to using multiple inboxes in Gmail, 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.
  • It’s free. Like other Google products, the Gmail multiple inboxes feature is free for all users.

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. If you rely on these tabs to keep your inbox organized, this may not be the best option for you.
  • You can only manage up to five inboxes per account, so you need to choose wisely when deciding the best way to define each multiple inbox.
  • It is not an effective way to manage shared Gmail inboxes, which are inboxes that more than one person can access.
  • Some people don’t like the layout of Gmail multiple inboxes, which is more confusing than the layout of a standard Gmail inbox.

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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? Gmail’s multiple inboxes are not built with the tools that customer support teams need to efficiently work together on customer support requests. This includes the ability to see when someone else is already working on an incoming request.

For example, 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 feature is also lacking other essential tools that your customer support team needs, including the ability to assign tasks, communicate with one another, and update the status of tasks. 

These are some of the many reasons why your customer service team should not use this feature to manage their shared inbox.

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How to manage multiple Gmail inboxes with Keeping

The cons of managing multiple inboxes with Gmail far outweigh the pros. Fortunately, a better option is available. 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.

How to set up Gmail multiple inboxes with Keeping

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. You should use your own work Gmail account, not your team’s shared account.
  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.

How to manage emails in Gmail with Keeping

Now you can start to manage multiple Gmail inboxes directly from your primary Gmail inbox. 

After completing the steps above, download and login to the Keeping Chrome Extension. The Keeping Chrome extension will give you access to all of Keeping’s features from your Gmail inbox. This means you won’t need to open a new window or log into another account to manage emails in Gmail with Keeping. Once you download this extension, 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. This ensures your customer support request emails remain separate from the rest of your work-related emails, which makes it easier for you to juggle all of your job duties. If you respond to a customer support request email in this folder, the response will be sent from your shared account rather than your personal Gmail account.

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 email accounts from one place?

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 multiple email accounts from one place, 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. 
  • Status updates. Keeping allows you to update the status of every task in your inbox to Open, Closed, or Pending, which makes it easier to keep track of customer support requests.
  • 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. This eliminates many of the manual, time-consuming tasks involved in managing customer support requests.
  • 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.
  • Confirmation receipts. Let your customers know you have received their request and are working on a response by using Keeping to set up automatic confirmation receipts.
  • Third party integrations. Thanks to Keeping, you can see all of the data you need to respond to customer support requests in your Gmail inbox. Simply use Keeping to connect to third party tools such as Shopify, Slack, Google Sheets, and more.

The bottom line: what is the best way to manage Google multiple inboxes?

Keeping is the only tool that is designed specifically for customer support teams who need to manage Google multiple inboxes. It also works directly within Gmail, so your team won’t need to learn how to use a new tool to start using Keeping. 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.