What is Gmail Label Sharing and How Can You Use It

What is Gmail Label Sharing and How Can You Use It?

Customer support teams need to categorize their emails in order to make sense of the chaos. We've got an alternative to Gmail label sharing that you might want to consider.
Guest Contributor

In a Nutshell

It's not easy to share labels in Gmail. You'll need to enable some features in Google Groups or Google Workspace, or use a third party tool.

Table of Contents

Customer support agents typically use specialized software to help them deal with customer inquiries. Generally, these inquiries may relate to all sorts of topics and can become unmanageable as the volume of your tickets grows. 

For example, you may receive inquiries relating to different types of clients. You may have tickets that relate to refunds, are feature requests, or sales inquiries. When you don’t organize these emails, they tend to build up in your inbox and can seem overwhelming. 

Teams that are relying on a Gmail shared mailbox soon find that they are struggling to keep on top of all the emails they receive. Team members are assigned multiple emails but they don’t know what topics they relate to, and duplicate work becomes rife. 

This is where Gmail labels can come incredibly handy, because they allow you to apply some order to the chaos of your inbox. What would be even better is if you could share those labels, but creating a shared label isn’t possible in Gmail. 

Customer support agents need to upgrade their software if they are going to effectively manage a multitude of emails. 

What is a label in Gmail? 

A Gmail label is a category that can be applied to an email which is sent, received or drafted. You can use labels to organize your inbox and they mimic the function of splitting your emails into categories. The big difference between Gmail labels and folders is that you can apply more than one label to a single email. 

Your Gmail labels will be displayed on the left-hand sidebar of your Gmail inbox. Labels can be nested, so you can create a meaningful hierarchy for your support emails. When you apply a Gmail label, you can click on a label to view all the emails in that category. It’s a great way to manage the chaos of your email inbox, and find customer support emails that relate to each other.

When you apply a Gmail label to an email, it can either remain in the inbox or be moved to the relevant folder. 

How to create a label in Gmail

In Gmail, it’s simple to create a Gmail label for anyone with a Gmail account. It can be done in one of three ways. 

  1. When you’ve opened an email, select the “Label As” icon in the menu bar at the top of the window. Then select “Create New Label” and name the label anything you desire.
  2. In your Gmail inbox, navigate to the left-hand menu, select the plus icon, enter the name of your chosen label and, if needed, subcategory. 
  3. From the top right window corner, select the gear icon and then “See All Settings” from the drop-down menu that opens. Next, select the “Labels” tab that opens and then “Create New Label.”

When you create a new label in Gmail, other users don’t have access even if you use a shared inbox. 

See for yourself

Keeping is the fastest, simplest way to manage customer support right inside Gmail.

Turn on shared labels in Google Groups

While you can’t create shared labels in Gmail, Google Groups allows you to do so. Group owners and managers can turn on the shared labels feature for their groups. 

  • Sign in to Google Groups.
  • Select the name of a group.
  • On the left, click Group settings.
  • Under Shared labels, check the Enable shared labels for this group box.

While some teams might find it useful to take advantage of Google Groups, you’ll find it’s not very much like the Gmail inbox you’re used to. 

Why would you want to share labels

Now, Gmail labels are incredibly useful in and of themselves, because they help you organize the massive number of emails your agents receive every day to your organization. However, what happens when you want to work as a team and your labels aren’t shared?

Shared labels enable your team to work collaboratively and provide a universal language that you can use to organize your emails. No matter what subject an email relates to, you can group similar emails together and even ensure that the same agent is working on them. 

When you know that emails are similar in nature, it becomes easier to work through your ticket queue. You can even create saved replies that enable you to send the same answer to customers with common problems, saving valuable time and energy.  

Wouldn’t it be great if Gmail offered a way to share labels between team members? In order to effectively share Gmail labels, you’ll need to look further. 

Limitations of Gmail

Unfortunately, Gmail was designed for individual use which means that your labels are specific to particular users. You can’t share your Gmail labels, even if you use a Google Shared Inbox – shared labels are only available in Google Groups. Customer support agents end up working in silos and your emails have all sorts of different labels when Gmail label sharing isn’t available.

It becomes clear that as your ticket volume grows, Gmail is software that doesn’t quite cut it. It lacks the features that your team needs to scale and it’s harder to manage your tickets behind the scenes. While a Gmail label is good for an individual user, they have their limitations when it comes to teams. 

When different agents are adding various Gmail labels to your emails that don’t match up, it becomes impossible to keep track of your related emails. Important opportunities to improve efficiency in your workflows are missed, and customers are kept waiting for longer than they should be. 

Gmail might be good in the beginning, but as your ticket volume grows you’ll want to search for an alternative solution. 

What Keeping has to offer

Even if you use Google Groups, it’s not entirely suitable for a growing customer support team. It lacks important collaboration features that your team needs to resolve customer tickets. 

Even if you’ve had enough of Gmail, it might not be a sensible move to abandon it altogether. After all, your agents are used to the Gmail interface and it takes time to learn a new tool. Keeping was created to work on top of Gmail with all the same functionality plus a little bit extra. 

Keeping’s answer to shared Gmail labels is to create email tags instead of using a label. Use tags in Keeping for a simple way to add context to a ticket or keep track of certain topics in your mailbox.  In Keeping, tags are independent from Gmail’s own label system, and any administrator can add tags to your Gmail inbox. Once added, any user can apply a tag to an email. 

Before you can assign a tag to a Keeping ticket, you’ll need to create it in your Keeping settings.  Visit your preferences page and then click on the “Add new tag” button in the upper right. It’s also simple to delete a tag, which you can do by using the trash icon. 

When you create a tag in Keeping, it will always be successfully shared with other users who have an account. 

Your tags can be anything you like, but should be meaningful to you and your agents. Remember, tags are an alternative to labels and can be used in exactly the same way. 

Wrapping up

Gmail is a powerful way to manage your customer support emails – at first. However, soon you’ll find as your team grows, you’ll be in the market for some extra functionality that Gmail doesn’t quite offer. This makes sense, since Gmail was created for individual users and not designed for customer support teams. 

That’s why we created Keeping. Keeping lets you stay within Gmail but packs far more punch when it comes to managing customer tickets. You can take advantage of all sorts of features such as advanced reporting, multiple mailboxes, shared notes, and shared templates, to name but a few. 

See for yourself

Keeping is the fastest, simplest way to manage customer support right inside Gmail.

It takes just moments to install Keeping, but the productivity and efficiency gains you’ll experience are second to none. 

If you’re struggling with Gmail for your customer support tickets, you might want to give Keeping a try. It’s very affordable and designed especially for customer support teams who are managing lots of emails. 

Catherine Heath
Catherine Heath
Catherine is a content writer and community builder for creative and ethical companies. She is often writing case studies, help documentation, and articles about customer support. Her writing has helped businesses to attract curious audiences and transform them into loyal advocates. You can find more of her work at https://awaywithwords.co.