Gmail Shared Inbox

How to Setup a Gmail Shared Inbox

Google Workspace and G Suite do not have a native shared mailbox app built into Gmail. But you can use Google Groups, delegate your mailbox, or use a tool like Keeping to share your Gmail inbox with your team.

Andrew R

Last updated: March 23, 2024

11 mins read

Are you looking for advice on setting up a shared inbox in Gmail?

You’re in the right place, then. In this guide, you’ll learn everything about setting up a Gmail shared inbox for your team.

It goes without saying that customers are the lifeblood of your business, and keeping them happy is crucial to your company’s success. But managing 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 Gmail shared mailbox? Read on to find out what you need to know.

Ready to level up your shared inbox?
Keeping makes it easy to share a Gmail account. Collaborate in Gmail without any complicated software.

What is a Gmail shared inbox?

A shared inbox is an inbox that multiple people can access and use to send and receive emails.

A Gmail shared mailbox is typically used to help sales or support teams manage incoming and outgoing messages. A true shared inbox will have functionality to allow multiple team members to work together.

How does a shared inbox work?

Let me illustrate this with an example…

Say you create a shared inbox for your customer service team with the email address ‘support’. 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.

By creating a shared inbox in gmail, you allow every member of your sales or support team to access the inbox to read and respond to emails just as they would if they were the sole owner of the inbox.

If a customer emails the support address, it will go to every member of your customer support team. Regardless of which member of your team responds, the email will be sent from the shared email address. 

By creating a shared inbox in gmail, you allow every member of your sales or support team to access the inbox to read and respond to emails just as they would if they were the sole owner of the inbox.

If the customer responds to the email, this response will be sent to every member of your support team. The best part is, the customer won’t see that it was sent to multiple team members. All they will see is that it was sent to the support email address.

How can you use Gmail to create a shared mailbox?

Google Workspace and GSuite do not have a native shared mailbox app built into Gmail. If you are looking for a free option, Google recommends you try the collaborative inbox functionality of Google Groups.

While this option is free, it lacks a lot of the features that allow you to collaborate with your team. See more in our article on Google’s collaborative inbox feature.

How do I set up a shared inbox in Gmail?

If you’re working in IT or customer service, you must’ve encountered emails like “service” or “help” . You may not realize but there can be 20-25 people staff behind such email addresses. They use Gmail’s shared inbox feature to handle all requests within one email. 

Let me put it this way, Gmail is like an email-basket where all emails are put. Some companies like to share this basket within one department —say, customer service. The customer service executives can pick any customer request from the email basket and solve them right away. 

It helps them get a bird’s eye view of all requests from the customers and replies from the customer service executives. Let’s understand how you can achieve this within Google. Suppose you’re sharing your mailbox with your colleague John. The steps are as follows:

  • Sign into your Google account. Click the gear icon and go to ‘settings’ in the menu. A new page will open up with all the settings of your Gmail account. If you want to create a new shared mailbox, you can first create a new account and follow the exact same steps. 
  • Click on “Accounts” (written in blue), on the top of the page and you’ll find “Grant access to your account” (4th point at the left). Click the link to “Add another account” and a pop up will open. 
  • Enter the email address of John – your colleague whom you want to share your inbox with. Click on the “next step”. It will send your colleague an invitation email to confirm their access to your Gmail inbox. Until John accepts the invitation, their status will show “pending” within your Gmail account. 
  • Meanwhile, your John opens his inbox and clicks on the invitation link. The ‘pending’ status on your Gmail will turn to “Accepted”. Don’t worry if you see this right away. It can take up to 30 minutes to update the status. 

With this step, you’ve shared your mailbox with John.

When your colleague clicks on his profile picture, he’ll see your account just below his own account. He can click on your account to switch accounts and access your inbox. As John goes through your inbox, he sees certain unanswered emails, so he answers them. 

When you share your mailbox with a colleague, they’ll be able to:

  • View your emails 
  • Respond to messages from your inbox

But your colleague won’t be able to:

  • Change your password 
  • Modify your account settings

Gmail shared mailbox alternatives (and why are they not safe)

Gmail’s shared inbox is not the only way you can share an inbox with your colleagues. There are other ways that you can try. Although they work for a small team, they come with many security issues. Below are two other options to share an inbox:

Sharing credentials 

Some people don’t understand why they need to go through these steps to create a G Suite shared mailbox. They assume that sharing their log-in information with their team would be a much easier way to use Gmail to create a shared mailbox. This method may be easier, but it’s definitely not a good option.

Sharing your password with others is a security risk. The more people that have your password, the more likely it is that it will fall into the wrong hands. To protect your sensitive data, it’s crucial that you keep your password confidential.

google support warning

Google support

Creating a Group

You can use a Google Group to manage your group email, but you’ll soon find that Google Groups were not designed to help teams manage customer support.  Messages sent by a Google Group also include a “click here to unsubscribe” link which doesn’t look great to your customers.  And your group members have no way of assigning or prioritizing tickets.

For best user experience, create your own Gmail shared inbox and equip your customer support team with important data to fulfil your customers’ needs. 

How can you revoke someone’s access to your shared Gmail account?

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.

Things to keep in mind while granting access to your shared Gamil account

  • 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 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.

This is one of the drawbacks of using Gmail to share an inbox – it can be challenging to manage your individual team member’s permissions.

Benefits of a shared Gmail inbox

There’s one main benefit of using a Google Apps shared mailbox: it’s simple and free. Setting up one of these inboxes will only take a few minutes even if you aren’t very tech-savvy. 

Plus, your customer service team already uses Gmail, so they’re already familiar with how it works. This means your team won’t need to learn how to use a new program in order to manage their customer service efforts.

Read More: 7 Shared Mailbox Best Practices

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.

Better customer service

By speeding up your response time, a shared gmail inbox can improve the overall quality of your team’s customer service.

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.

Grows 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.

If you want to experience these benefits, your team needs to share a Google inbox to manage customer support requests.

Challenges with 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. The challenges of shared Gmail inbox are as follows:

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. 

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. 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. 

Since 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.

Lack of transparency

There are no reporting features on a shared Gmail inbox, which means you won’t be able to access the data you need to evaluate your team’s performance.

You won’t see how many requests your team is receiving on a daily or weekly basis. You also won’t know how long it takes for your team to respond to these requests on average. Without this information, it’s difficult for you to make important business decisions that could improve your customer service.

Suppose you aren’t aware that the volume of incoming requests has increased steadily over the last several months. Your team is managing three times as many requests. They may need additional help.

However, if you don’t have access to this data, there’s no way you could help. Your team will continue to struggle to keep up with the growing number of requests. It will reduce their response time which reduces the overall quality of your customer service.

The bottom line? Gmail does not provide transparency into your team’s efforts. If you’re looking for a shared inbox for team transparency, Gmail is not the solution.

All these challenges can be solved with Keeping. Keeping is the fastest, simplest way to share a mailbox in Google Workspace. Learn More

Manage a shared mailbox with Keeping

For excellent customer service, your entire team should be involved. Keeping lets everyone in your team receive, respond to and assign support emails directly from within their own mailbox. How? Keeping lets you turn your Gmail, G Suite or Google Workspace account into a shared mailbox built for teams.

All support emails from your group email get organized in a new section of your mailbox and are separated from your regular emails. This makes it easier for your team to juggle their customer support efforts and the rest of their workload.

All support emails from your group email get organized in a new section of your mailbox and are separated from your regular emails

Keeping lets you turn your Gmail, G Suite or Google Workspace account into a shared mailbox built for teams.

Keeping gives you access to the features your team needs to communicate and collaborate on support requests. For example, Keeping lets you assign tickets to other team members so that everyone knows which support emails they are responsible for and nothing is left unanswered.

Regardless of whether your team has two people or 200, Keeping can help you streamline your customer support efforts.

Everything you need to manage your Gmail shared inbox

Screenshot of a shared inbox in Gmail.

Keeping was designed to serve as a Gmail shared inbox for teams that do more than just provide customer support. Some of Keeping’s many features include:

  • Task Assignment: Keeping converts every Gmail email in your shared inbox into an assignable help desk ticket so you can share the workload with your team.
  • Status Updates: Change the status on tickets in your shared inbox to Open, Closed, or Pending so you can keep track of everything on your team’s plate.
  • Shared Notes: Communicate with your team to follow up on a task, ask a question, or provide background information on an assignment in real-time using the shared email notes feature.
  • Shared Templates: Save time responding to frequently asked questions by inserting a response template instead of manually typing out the answer over and over again.
  • Reporting: Review key metrics such as the volume of incoming requests, average inquiries per day, and the average first response time.
  • Workflows: Use “if/then” logic to automate time-consuming tasks such as assigning emails, prioritizing tickets, and removing spam from your team’s inbox.
  • Collision Detection: Keeping puts an end to duplicated efforts by preventing multiple people on your team from working on the same customer support request.
  • Third Party Integrations: Connect to your favorite tools, including Shopify, Google Sheets, Slack, CRM, or project management tool so all of your data is available within your Gmail inbox.

Need to Share a Gmail Inbox Quickly?

Keeping is the fastest, simplest way to share a mailbox in Google Workspace.

Usage and performance analytics in a shared inbox software for Google Apps.

Learn More

Benefits of using Keeping as a G Suite shared mailbox

Your entire team–and your customers–can benefit from using Keeping as a G Suite shared mailbox. Here’s how:

  • Keeping makes sharing the workload easier, so your customer emails don’t fall on one person’s shoulders.
  • Keeping provides transparency into what everyone is working on so your team won’t waste time duplicating someone else’s efforts.
  • Because your inbox will stay organized, nothing will slip through the cracks, which means customers will get faster, better support when they need it.
  • You won’t need to log in and log out of multiple accounts to manage your team inbox and your personal work inbox. Keeping brings everything together in the same place.
  • Keeping provides the collaboration tools your team needs to work together to provide the best customer support possible.
  • Automation, templates, and other features can save your team a significant amount of time and improve their efficiency.
  • Keeping gives you access to the data you need to make important business decisions that could improve your customer support.
Ready to level up your shared inbox?
Keeping makes it easy to share a Gmail account. Collaborate in Gmail without any complicated software.

Keeping vs other shared inbox tools

  • It’s invisible to your customers. Your customers will never know you are using Keeping to manage your customer support efforts. They won’t see any confusing help desk jargon such as “case ID” or “reply above this line” when they email with your support team. All they will see is a friendly email sent from your team’s support account.
  • It works within your Gmail inbox. Your team won’t need to log into a new program or learn how to use a new tool in order to use Keeping. Why? Keeping works directly within your Gmail inbox, which is where you already spend a good chunk of your day.
  • Your data will always belong to you. Other help desk tools will hold onto your data if you stop using their services. But that’s not how it works at Keeping. We believe your data should always belong to you, which is why your emails will remain in your email accounts even if you choose to stop using our services.
  • Help is always available. If you need help, someone on our support team is standing by reading to help. You will never speak to a chatbot. When you reach out for help, you will always be connected to a real, live human.
Andrew R

Andrew leads customer success at Keeping, and he's helped hundreds of companies streamline their customer support operations. When he's not helping customers, you can find Andrew exploring New York City's vibrant restaurant scene.

Join 150+ teams that are sharing inboxes with us

The easiest way to upgrade your shared Gmail account. There’s no credit card is required.