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Pitfalls of Shared Inbox Management in Gmail

Keeping Staff | November 16th, 2021

Maintaining strong relationships with your customers is important. A big part of maintaining these relationships is managing customer support request emails. To do this, many customer support teams rely on shared inboxes.

A shared inbox is an inbox that more than one person can access to read and respond to emails. Most customer support teams use a shared inbox with a generic email address similar to support@yourcompanyname.com or help@yourcompanyname.com. Setting up an email address like this makes it easy for your customers to contact you with questions, concerns, or feedback. 

However, managing a shared inbox is not always easy for customer support teams, especially in Gmail. This is because Gmail was not designed for customer support teams, so it was not built with the features that these teams need to effectively manage requests.

What challenges will you encounter with shared inbox management in Gmail? Is there a better way to manage your customer support team’s inbox? Here’s what you need to know:

Security Risks

Some customer support teams create shared inboxes by simply sharing the password to the account with everyone on the team. This might seem like an easy way to give everyone access to the support inbox, but it’s a huge security risk.

You should never share login credentials with your team, especially if you have a high employee turnover rate. The more people who know the password to your account, the more likely it is that this sensitive data will fall into the wrong hands. 

Sharing your password can lead to other problems, too. If too many people log into the shared email inbox within a certain time period, Google may temporarily or permanently freeze the account. This means you may lose access to any customer request still sitting in your team’s support inbox. To avoid these problems, it’s best to find another way to manage your shared inbox.

Security Risks

Delegation Difficulties

Managing customer support requests is a team effort. However, Gmail is not designed with the features your team needs to share the workload. 

For example, you cannot assign an email to someone else within Gmail. To get around this problem, some customer support teams assign tasks by forwarding request emails to other members of the team. But this can get messy very fast. 

Forwarding emails makes it incredibly difficult to figure out who is managing what and what tasks have already been assigned. 

Plus, if you forward a request to a team member, they will still need to log into the shared account in order to respond from the support email address. This creates one extra step in the process of resolving a customer support issue.

You also won’t be able to see what each team member already has on their plate. As a result, you may end up delegating far too much work to one person and not enough work to another.

Duplicate Efforts

Duplicate Efforts

Duplicating efforts is one of the main challenges of sharing a Gmail inbox with the rest of your support team. 

For example, say a request arrives in your shared inbox. You are available, so you immediately start working on resolving the customer’s issue. A few minutes later, someone else on your team also sees the request in the inbox. There’s no way for them to know that you are already handling it, so they start working on it as well.

Both of you are able to resolve the customer’s issue within 10-15 minutes. Once you reach this resolution, you both send a reply to the customer to let them know.

Now, someone on your team wasted 10-15 minutes of their time resolving an issue that you were already working on. Furthermore, the customer is confused about why they received two separate replies to their initial email. This happens all the time when sharing an inbox in Gmail.

Cluttered Inbox

Your business may receive dozens or even hundreds of customer support requests per week. The greater the volume of requests, the quicker these requests will clutter your support team’s shared inbox.

It’s difficult to keep track of what needs to be done in a cluttered inbox. Your support team may not be able to find a specific request or determine which requests are still pending.

The only way to clear requests out of your support team’s inbox is to delete them. But how will you know which ones to delete? There’s no way for you to see which requests have been resolved, so you will need to reach out to each individual team member for a status update on their tasks. This is incredibly time-consuming, so it’s not an efficient way to manage customer support requests.

Cluttered Inbox

Slow Response Times

According to a recent survey, the vast majority of customers that reach out to a company with a request expect to get a response within 60 minutes. About 30% of customers expect a response within 15 minutes.

Responding quickly is a huge component in providing exceptional customer service. However, all of these inefficiencies in shared inbox management in Gmail can slow down your team’s response time. 

It may take longer for your team to figure out which tasks they should be working on, what they need to do, and how to respond to them. An email may sit in your shared inbox for days because everyone on your team assumes that someone else is already handling it. Some requests may even fall through the cracks altogether. Your team might not respond to these requests until the customer follows up with another email. 

If you want to exceed your customers’ expectations, you need to find a better way to manage your shared inbox.

Lack of Data

Because Gmail was not designed specifically for customer support teams, it does not give you access to the data you need to evaluate your team’s performance. 

For example, there’s no way for you to pull up a report that tells you how many requests your team is receiving per day or per week. If you want this information, you will need to go into the shared account and manually count the request emails.

You also won’t be able to see how long it takes your team to respond to requests. The only way to get this information is to check the “sent” folder of the inbox to see what time each response was sent.

Having access to this data is crucial. Without it, you can’t make important business decisions to improve the quality of your customer service. For example, if you don’t know how many requests are coming in, there’s no way for you to know whether it’s time to hire additional team members to share the workload.

Team

What is the best way to manage a Gmail shared inbox for business?

These issues can completely derail your customer support efforts. Fortunately, there is a better way to manage your Gmail shared inbox for business

Keeping provides your team with the features they need to successfully manage customer support requests. The best part? Your team can access all of Keeping’s features directly within their Gmail inbox. There’s no need to open another window or log into another account or program. 

Keeping turns your Gmail inbox into a help desk with these key features:

  • Task assignment: Every email in your support inbox will automatically be converted into a help desk ticket. Your team can assign these tickets to each other to ensure everyone is pitching in to help manage requests.
  • Status updates: Use Keeping’s Open, Closed, and Pending statuses to keep track of every request on your team’s plate.
  • Collision detection: See when someone else is already working on a request so you don’t waste your time duplicating their efforts.
  • Shared notes: You don’t need to use a third party instant messaging service to reach out to your team. You can communicate and collaborate on tasks directly within your Gmail inbox thanks to Keeping’s shared notes feature. Use this feature to follow up on pending tasks, provide background information on a request, or ask someone on your team for assistance.
  • Response templates: Stop manually typing out responses to frequently asked questions. Instead, insert a premade template into your email responses with one click of the mouse.
  • Automation: Eliminate manual tasks such as assigning new tickets, prioritizing issues, and deleting spam. Automating these tasks will save your team a significant amount of time so they can spend their time on more important matters.
  • Reporting: See how well your team is performing by analyzing metrics such as volume of incoming requests and average first response time.
  • Third party integrations: Make sure you have all of the information you need to respond to support requests directly within your Gmail inbox by connecting to third party tools such as Shopify, Slack, Google Sheets, and more.

Start your free trial to learn more about how Keeping can make shared inbox management in Gmail easier than ever before.