- What is a Shared Inbox?
- Who Should Use Shared Inbox?
- Benefits of Shared Inbox
- Choosing a Shared Inbox Software
A shared inbox is an email account that allows more than one person or user to receive and send emails from that one address. Everyone who is given access to the inbox can read the emails and respond, each as if from the email address.
Let’s say for example that company X sets up a shared email address – firstname.lastname@example.org and five of its employees are given access to that inbox, each of those five members of staff will be able to access the inbox, read messages and also respond to the messages. It can actually be used like a help desk software. Read more about help desk software here.
Depending on the service used and the permission settings, there are up to three types of access each member will have. These include: Full Access, Send As and Send on Behalf.
This is an admin level access that allows the user perform a wide range of actions including creating calendar items, creating tasks, reading, editing and deleting messages and more. Again depending on the platform being used, the admin may not be able to reply to or send emails without those specific permissions.
This permission allows the user to send or respond to emails as the email address. If for example the shared inbox is email@example.com, a user with a Send As permission will only be able to respond or send emails as firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send on Behalf
This permission allows the user to send on behalf of the email address. If the user is Jack, then the response or email will be from Jack on behalf of email@example.com.
Shared inboxes are great for small to mid-level teams that require collaboration. It is also great for support teams with not too many team members.
For a new business that needs to maintain an open and easily accessible conversation center among team members and between support staff and customers, this can indeed be a perfect solution. Simply put, this is the ideal tool for all your business’ email collaboration needs. Read more about why collaboration is important in a business here: https://www.quora.com/Why-collaboration-is-important-in-the-workplace.
There are a number of benefits that can be enjoyed by teams that use shared inboxes. Let’s try to enumerate a few of these.
Easy Syncing of Multiple Personal Accounts
You can sync multiple personal emails under one platform so emails can be accessed, read, replied to and composed from scratch from any of the different email accounts all from one single platform. This eliminates the need to switch from one email account to another, thereby increasing efficiency and how much time you need to respond to different emails from these different email accounts.
Easier Syncing of Conversations
In business today, conversations can be one-to-many or many-to-one. In either case, a shared email makes it easy for these conversations to be carried on with ease. Any team member can respond to one client without the client knowing that s/he has been conversing with different persons while one team member can also attend to multiple clients all with increased ease.
Easy Point of Contact for Your Business
Having a single email address that acts as the contact point for all external contacts is very beneficial. It could be firstname.lastname@example.org or any other address which will be used by clients or prospective clients to reach your business. What the clients won’t know is that their emails will be accessible to a group of people, any of whom can respond to them based on either availability or assignment.
Improved Responsiveness and Efficiency
Everyone who has access to the shared inbox is privy to the same information as the next team member and can therefore collaborate with increased ease. Conversations can be taken up by any team member at any time without having to wait for any one person who is supposed to know the history of the conversation. Every history is available for all to see.
This means that queries can be followed up with ease by different team members, reducing the amount of time clients have to wait to get a response to their emails. This article will show why this is very important.
Easy Team Monitoring
The increased transparency that this system brings makes it easy for team members and their activities to be monitored and evaluated. You do not need to ask “who did this?” or any other such questions because every conversation is visible for all to see.
This ensures that every team member pulls his or her weight because everyone’s contribution (or a lack of it) will be seen by all.
Efficient Task Distribution
With all incoming emails channelled to this shared inbox, the admin or team leader can easily see the work load available and spread it appropriately among the different team members. This ensures that no one team member has more work load than the other.
This is one tool that can be scaled to meet the need of the business at the time. As the business grows, the scope and operation of the shared inbox can also be easily modified to suit the growing business.
There are a few important features you need to look out for when choosing shared inbox software. This is very important if you want to enjoy the full benefits of this tool. Some of these features include:
Easy to Setup – This is a no-brainer. You most certainly need something that you can set up without a lot of stress.
Efficient Collaboration Feature – Much more than just reading and responding to emails, you may also need to make comments and add notes for a particular team member. Look for one that allows for various internal communication modes that increase collaboration and efficiency.
Easy Monitoring Features – This is one of the very important benefits you can get from this tool. Ensure that the software you choose allows you to stay updated on the progress made on tasks assigned. You will also want a software that helps you keep track of conversations. You want to know what messages have been opened and read and by whom.
Reminder – This is a great feature that ensures you are never late in responding to important emails. This feature will come in very handy when you are swamped with work.
Message Templates – This is important for situations that require a standard response. Rather than having to compose a fresh email every time, you can simply use a template.
Think of what you need to achieve in your business and look for additional features that will make it easy for you to achieve. Once you find the right software, you will be amazed at the increased efficiency you will experience in your business.