A Guide to Shared Inboxes for Seamless Customer Service

How to Use a Shared Inbox for Customer Support

Discover how to use a shared inbox for customer support. Learn what a customer support shared inbox is, how it works, and what tools to use.


Last updated: September 28, 2023

8 mins read

Are you planning to use a shared inbox for customer support but don’t know where to start?

Good news, this guide will explain it all – From understanding the concept of a shared inbox to offering advice on how to make it work for your customer support and more.

So, without further ado…

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What exactly is a shared inbox?

A shared inbox, as the name suggests, is an email mailbox that multiple users can access to read and respond to messages.

But as with many other aspects of your support operations, there is a bit more to it, too.

For one, shared inboxes have emerged as a pivotal tool for modern customer service teams, revolutionizing how organizations manage and respond to customer inquiries. 

And so, you can think of a shared inbox as a collaborative platform consolidating incoming messages, such as emails, chats, and social media interactions, into a single interface accessible to multiple team members. 

Unlike traditional individual inboxes, where messages are siloed and managed separately, shared inboxes empower teams to handle incoming communication collectively. This fosters a cohesive approach to customer interactions, ensuring no query goes unnoticed or unattended due to individual workload or absence.

Why does your support team need a shared inbox?

I could answer this with a simple question – Would you like to give out terrible customer service due to collaboration chaos?

Because that’s what often happens if you don’t use a shared inbox that helps you provide a smooth flow of exceptional customer service.

But easy collaboration is not the only benefit of a shared inbox. There are more, and here are those:

Zero Chaos, Plenty Efficiency

Shared inboxes are collaborative inboxes. With a shared inbox, customer service agents can collaborate and manage messages seamlessly. Incoming messages are visible to all relevant customer service team members, eliminating the need for forwarding or duplicating messages. Let’s consider an example:

Imagine a fashion e-commerce company receiving inquiries about an ongoing sale. With a shared team inbox, as soon as the sale-related emails pour in, all agents with expertise in promotions and sales can instantly view and assess the messages. There’s no need to forward or duplicate emails; instead, team members can assign themselves to specific emails or tasks directly within the shared inbox.

This collaborative environment allows teams to assign, delegate, and discuss messages, ensuring a quicker and more accurate response to customer inquiries. In the end, all of this leads to zero chaos and leaps of efficiency. 

Track, Monitor, Succeed: The Accountability Advantage

When it comes to issue resolution, transparency is essential. Not just to know what is going on but also to understand where the issue arises, how it was dealt with, and what could have been done better. 

In a team environment, maintaining transparency can be challenging, especially when dealing with multiple teams inboxes with a high volume of messages and tasks. This is where shared inboxes step in to bridge the gap.

With shared inboxes, every team member can access the entire conversation thread related to an issue. This eliminates the need for back-and-forth explanations in internal team chat and provides a complete context for understanding the issue’s progression.

In a shared inbox, tasks can be assigned to specific team members. This establishes clear ownership, making it easy to identify who is responsible for each issue. The transparency of task assignments ensures that no issue is left unattended.

Learn and Shine: Knowledge Sharing and Through Shared Inboxes

Knowledge sharing for customer reps is like using a map and a compass when exploring. Just like a map guides you to your destination and a compass helps you stay on track, knowledge sharing helps customer reps navigate tricky situations and provide the best help to customers

A shared inbox lets you share knowledge with features such as internal knowledge base

Within these inboxes, the internal knowledge base is a central hub, providing access to essential resources, templates, inbox tools, and FAQs. This consolidation expedites query resolution and maintains consistency in responses, fostering credibility.

As teams expand, the knowledge base also ensures expertise is retained and seamlessly transferred. 

Boosting Responsiveness: Lightning-Fast Customer Replies

Let’s talk about a standout benefit of a shared inbox: it slashes customer response times. 

Imagine a scenario where a flood of customer inquiries pours in the same email – from questions about a new product launch to concerns about an ongoing sale. Without a shared inbox, these messages might pile up, causing delays and frustrating customers.

But with a shared inbox, the entire team can see these messages instantly. Instead of waiting for one person to reply, multiple team members can jump in. They can split the workload, picking the messages they’re best equipped to handle: no forwarding, no confusion – just efficient teamwork.

This approach turbocharges response times. Customers get answers faster, and they feel valued. Plus, when everyone chips in, even during peak times, the workload is spread out, reducing stress on each team member.

In a nutshell, when 85% customers expect you to respond to incoming emails within 6 hours—a shared inbox lets you do that!

What to look for in an ideal shared inbox for customer support?

Thanks to technological advancements, today, we have plenty of shared inbox options available. No doubt about the fact that this abundance is great, but it could pose a huge problem. Almost all shared inbox software looks to be. So, how do you select one? 

You select yours by looking at these shared inbox software features:

1. User-Friendly Interface and Ease of Use

A user-friendly interface is paramount when choosing a shared inbox software. The tool should be intuitive and require minimal training for your team to get started. Look for features like a clear navigation layout, easily identifiable icons, and customizable settings. 

Prioritize solutions that offer a clean design and straightforward workflows, as these contribute to quick adoption and reduced learning curves.

How to Evaluate

  • Request a demo or trial version to experience the shared inbox software’s interface firsthand.

  • Involve team members from different roles to assess how easily they can navigate and perform common tasks.

  • Read user reviews or case studies to gain insights into real-world usability experiences.

2. Collaboration Features

Effective collaboration is at the heart of a shared inbox. The software should offer features that enable seamless communication among team members. 

Look for functionalities such as an internal chat, commenting, tagging, and the ability to assign conversations to specific team members. These features facilitate efficient collaboration, enabling teams to work together on resolving customer queries and enabling customer communication.

How to Evaluate

  • Identify the collaboration tools your team currently uses and check if the shared inbox software integrates with them.

  • Test the software’s tagging and commenting capabilities to understand how they enhance communication within conversations.

  • Inquire about how the software handles multiple users accessing the same conversation simultaneously.

3. Integration Capabilities

A shared inbox should seamlessly integrate with other tools your team uses, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software, project management tools, or communication platforms. Integration ensures that information flows smoothly between systems, preventing silos and duplication of efforts.

How to Evaluate

  • Check the software’s list of integrations and see if they align with your existing software ecosystem.

  • Inquire about the process of setting up and managing integrations.

  • Look for application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable custom integrations if necessary.

4. Customization and Workflow Flexibility

No two teams are identical, and your shared inbox software should reflect your unique workflow. Seek a solution that allows for customization, such as setting up custom tags, folders, and automations. This flexibility ensures that the software adapts to your team’s specific needs and processes.

How to Evaluate

  • Inquire about the software’s customization options and limitations.

  • Discuss your team’s current workflow and ask how the software can be configured to accommodate it.

  • Test the automation capabilities to see how they can streamline repetitive tasks.

5. Security and Data Privacy

Security is a non-negotiable factor when selecting any software, and a shared inbox is no exception. The software should provide robust security measures to protect sensitive customer information and internal communication. Look for features such as data encryption, role-based access control, and compliance with relevant data protection regulations (e.g., GDPR).

How to Evaluate

  • Review the software’s security documentation to understand its data protection measures.

  • Inquire about the backup and disaster recovery processes in place.

  • Ask if the software undergoes regular security audits or certifications.

Best shared inbox tools for customer support teams


Interface of a shared inbox for customer support.

Are you in search of an enhanced customer support solution via email? Look no further than Keeping! Keeping offers an ideal customer service software solution for small teams aiming to elevate their customer experiences.

Seamlessly integrated with Gmail, Keeping empowers small businesses to deliver exceptional customer assistance. By utilizing Keeping, your team can efficiently collaborate and manage shared mailboxes to handle customer inquiries.

Read More: See How Keeping Compares to Other Tools

We understand that at the outset, you might not wish to make a substantial investment in customer service software. Hence, we’ve maintained a competitive price point of just $8 per user per month. However, don’t mistake the affordability of Keeping for any compromise in its capabilities.

Setting up Keeping is a breeze and can be accomplished in as little as 15 minutes. Once set up, you can efficiently manage all your support tickets directly within Gmail. The beauty of Keeping is that it seamlessly integrates into your existing Gmail environment, eliminating the need for extensive training for your customer support team.

Key features of our software include:

  1. Collaboration tools like message assignment, internal note sharing, and ticket status updates – all seamlessly accessible within Gmail.

  2. Shopify integration, allowing you to connect your Shopify customer data directly within Keeping.

  3. Flexibility to create multiple shared inboxes or respond using your personal inbox, based on your preference.

  4. Efficient template creation and sharing, enabling one-click insertion of predefined responses.

  5. Comprehensive reporting and analytics for insights into your team’s customer interactions.

Pricing options at Keeping begin at an affordable $8 per agent per month.


Kanban board in a customer service shared inbox.

Drag stands out as another choice for teams on Google Workspace. Just like Drag, it’s an extension that works right alongside your existing Gmail setup. That’s a bonus because it makes introducing it to your team a breeze.

With Drag, you’ve got all those standard shared inbox goodies: things like tagging, handing out emails, @mentions, drafts you can share, and even a nifty collision detection feature. Plus, they’ve thrown in a team chat feature, making your team email collaboration smooth sailing.

Read More: The Best Google Groups Alternatives

But what really sets Drag apart is its ace in the hole: project management powers. You can take your pick between visual kanban boards or the classic list view, so you can wrangle tasks, checklists, and emails like a pro. Just remember, if you’re eyeing that free plan, the project management magic comes with the paid packages.

Speaking of cash, there’s a free plan to test the waters, along with a trial offer. If you’re ready to dive in deeper, their paid plans kick off at a wallet-friendly $5 per user each month. 


Shared inbox by GrooveHQ

If you’re on the lookout for a solid shared inbox tool that suits small teams well, Groove is definitely one to consider. They’ve got a user-friendly shared inbox that’s super easy to get the hang of. 

And guess what? They’ve loaded this inbox with all sorts of nifty teamwork features – things like letting you assign conversations, drop internal notes, give shoutouts with mentions, and even use pre-built email templates.

But hey, that’s not all. If you’re ready to go beyond just emails for support, Groove has your back with options like live chat and a knowledge base too.

Now, about the money part. Groove’s pricing plans are pretty competitive. But here’s a heads-up: they might be missing a couple of features that their competition offers. For example, they don’t have that proactive support thing going on. 

If you’re itching to give Groove a whirl, they’ve got a free trial you can dive into. And when you’re ready to dive in for real, their plans start from $12 per user per month. 

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

Sanjana Sankhyan is a freelance writer who specializes in delivering data-driven blog posts for B2B SaaS brands. She helps businesses attract more audience and sales with her writing. If not writing, you’ll find her helping other freelancers improve their work. Find her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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