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Gmail shared inbox: overhaul your email client

By 27th April 2019January 28th, 2022No Comments
gmail as a shared inbox overhaul your email client

A good company environment, both for productivity and client support, needs to have an efficient way of communication. That means, professionally crafted, easily accessible emails and task boards. This is why many companies opt for a Gmail shared inbox.

The idea behind this choice is that your entire team can access the same Gmail account. They will find internal and/or external mail, shared files and much more they will need to fulfill their tasks.

For instance, if a client reaches out to your company in search of a helpdesk, they will probably email a public facing address, such as customer@companyname or support@companyname.

If your helpdesk team needs to see these messages, they all need to log into this account through Gmail. There, they will find all queries and be able to see the Calendar, Google Drive more.

Of course, this tactic comes with a few limitations and issues, which is what we’re going to explore here. The ideal solutions and shortcuts to make your life easier as a business manager in a digital space.

Why would your company have a shared Gmail inbox?

First, we need to look into the main reasons business owners or managers choose this option. The biggest advantage Gmail has over other platforms is that the user experience is quite user-friendly and the price is affordable. Since it offers Gmail in it’s basic plan, it’s a great cost-benefit balance.

If you have a domain, you can use it on Gmail by connecting it to Google Workspace when creating an account. Through this method, you can make the most out of your Google Workspace business account.

Another interesting feature Gmail has is the possibility of aliases. Instead of having one  account for each desired email address, you can create different alias addresses. All these alias addresses redirect to the same inbox, which is quite useful for organizations.

If you’re already using Google Workspace, it makes your routine easier to have other features in the same space. Not to mention, if you don’t have to switch between platforms, you save time.

In this context, for example you can have a marketing Gmail account, with access to both sales@companyname or crm@companyname. That makes it easier to organize and collect all of the company’s official communication in one single place: the Gmail inbox.

However, there are different ways of setting up a shared Gmail inbox for your company. In this article, we’re exploring the pros and cons of each.

Sharing your Google account

The way most people choose to share a Gmail inbox is by sharing the access credentials of an account. This might be done for each of the company’s departments. The account’s access is shared with interested parties, such as team members, higher ups and assistants.

On a regular basis, many people will be logged into this account accessing both it’s email, calendar, files and anything else they may need to get on with the work day. 

So, an account like this doesn’t have an owner in itself. But rather many people with different devices in places who can access this specific digital workspace.

Imagine a team of five trying to keep up with each other, delegating their tasks and organizing the schedule? They will need to update each other on top of things.  

This method creates four main issues:

Accountabilty

If multiple team members can reply to all emails, it’s harder to detect an issue and find the source if anything goes wrong.

Security

Since multiple devices are accessing the same account, security problems issues will arise. Having more endpoints there will be more higher risk of security breaches and hacking. This is particularly worrying considering the exposed account concentrates company data. 

Privacy

The third problem is a logistics one: you can’t grant access to a single person to specific emails. Instead, with a shared account, all those logged in have full access to the entire company channel. 

Platform limitations

Finally, sharing your account can raise red flags, especially if the people sharing it are in different locations. Like a remote team. Most service providers identify this pattern of behavior suspicious. It looks like somebody is hacking into the account.

As you can see, sharing an email account among collaborators won’t do much for the company. It is prone to miscommunications and creates an environment where access management is very time consuming.

Collaborative inbox, Google’s shared inbox

Another possible way of sharing Gmail inboxes are the Google Groups’ Collaborative Inbox. This tool, developed by Google, allows users to access and reply to emails through the Groups platform. However, whenever a team member replies to a message received in the Collaborative Inbox, they must cc or forward the email back to the Collaborative Inbox exclusive ID. This is the only way to make the reply visible to other team members.

If somebody forgets to send back the email to the Collaborative Inbox there’s a risk that the message will be replied twice independently, damaging your organization’s professional image. But it gets worse, when the original sender receives the reply thy might want to send another reply themselves. In that case they must choose to reply all, otherwise the message will only be delivered to the specific inbox of the person who replied to them, keeping the rest of the team in the dark.

These issues generate unnecessary complications to the operation of the shared inbox that will inevitably lead to delayed replies as well as a great deal of miscommunication and friction between coworkers.

Assistants and delegation

Another important aspect of work that managers need to factor in is collaboration and tasks sharing. People need to forward and reply to emails within the company, such as delegating tasks to their assistants or to organize the workload between colleagues. This, of course, is better when anyone is able to access information and share it with others. 

If you use Gmail’s native delegation feature, you have two main issues: one of them is that the delegate is able to access your entire inbox, delete emails and manage contacts. While they can’t change your account’s login credentials, they will be able to respond in your name and see everything you receive.

That being said, there is another issue: the receiver will know that this reply came from your delegate. Your replies will be sent in your name, but Gmail shares that it has been done by someone else, which isn’t always ideal.

Test the true Gmail shared inbox

Drag turns Gmail into your Team’s Workspace – One single place to support customers, manage tasks and close deals, from the place teams love: Gmail. We are a Techstars-backed Company, trusted by 30,000 users around the World.

Try Drag for Free

How to be better at sharing your Gmail inbox?

kanban board screenshot

But if you want to have a manageable shared inbox that actually improves your team’s communication, there is a way. Instead of trying to make ends meet using just the features provided by Google, you can try a third party solution specifically created to solve this issue. 

Which is much better for your team, your time, your schedule, and the company morale. There are many tools inside the Google Workspace Marketplace and the Chrome Store that can be installed to make Gmail better suited to your needs. Another selling point for Gmail on any manager’s mind. 

This is where Drag App comes into play. You get to have a true shared inbox that feels like part of Google’s apps with seamless integration to Gmail, Google Drive and Google Calendar. But you also get a lot of very useful extra features.

A real Gmail shared inbox

shared inbox

There’s a huge difference between a collaborative inbox and an actual shared inbox. If you and your employees need to access the Google Group, you need to switch over to this client, while making sure any relevant information is forwarded to the collaborative ID.

If, however, you can manage the access to inboxes and use filters to select which email actually gets shared everything runs smoothly. With Drag the shared inboxes are available inside Gmail in parallel to each user’s personal inbox, which makes the work more accessible and removes the need to constantly switch tabs and platforms.

Boards and visuals

One of the features Drag App brings to your inbox is a more visual and efficient interface of the entire workflow: every email received, what needs to be done and who is responsible for what. Besides viewing your inbox in the regular way, as a list, with Drag you can transform it into a Kanban board. That way, emails can be turned into task-cards, which you can move between columns. These boards can be customized to fit your company needs and reflect your workflow. 

Everyone has the same view of the Kanban boards, it’s labels and other features making the entire email-driven workflow transparent for the team. And to make your email collaboration even easier, the task-cards have several features, like adding notes, creating subtasks as steps, viewing the entire task-cards activity history and uploading relevant files. It makes for a much more organized process, given that simply by viewing the card, a team member can get all the relevant information in just one place.

Task delegation

assign to Drag screenshotDelegating is much easier with Drag’s Gmail shared inboxes as well. In any business it’s commonplace to assign tasks to other people or organize team schedules all the time. Traditionally it means messages, meetings and forwarding emails, but Drag App’s boards have a built-in system to assign task cards to team members. It makes your work day much easier. You can just add people to your task, add due dates and everyone can see it.

Reports and analytics

When your team is using Drag App you can visualize how many messages have gone through it, who has dealt with the most messages and how tasks are being distributed. 

The data analytics helps you work on your next endeavors, grow and make better use of your time and resources, investing them into strategies to reach you KPI’s.

Filesharing

 If you’re constantly troubleshooting, such as with IT departments or customer support teams, you need to be fast and accessible. Have the relevant files and data at hand to make decisions, fix problems and communicate effectively. If it’s all scattered around different platforms, you need to get it all together. 

With Drag you can keep it together right from the start, using the email driving the task as the task-card, uploading files to it, taking notes and much more. It’s not only for you but also for everyone else who has access to the board. The entire team is in sync all the time.

Rules and automation

automations

If you’re managing, or you own a small company, you are aware of the fact that there’s just too much work to be done all the time, so much so that even just assigning and delegating it all manually takes up a lot of your time and is getting in the way of actually growing your business.

You probably already use Gmail’s filters to automate the labeling of messages and help keep your inbox organized. But with Drag you can do a lot more, setting up rules to direct emails to specific Kanban boards and assign their task-cards to team-members. This way you don’t have to actively manage, for example, a support workflow to keep everything running smoothly

You can also set up automated responses so that clients know you have been made aware of the message and have added it to your task board. without having to do this manually for every message you get. Not only does this make the companies seem more accessible, but it also helps you save time.

You could also set  up rules that update the sender on which stage their request is, managing their expectations and anxiety without having to move a finger. That will even reduce the amount of emails you get, because reassured customers request less follow ups.

Make your work easier

If you’re using a shared Gmail account, you know how limited it can be. So switching over to a shared inbox would solve many of the issues posed by the platform. Instead of limited access, lack of privacy and accountability, you get a better view of your workflow and communication. 

DragApp can help you create the ideal environment for your company. To find out more about how it works, read GetAway Vacations experience

What a Gmail shared inbox can do

The great thing about email, especially Shared Inboxes, is that the same process can be applied across multiple use cases. To name a few:

  • Help Desk: Keep track of customers’ conversations without leaving your Gmail interface. The best part? There’s no need to convert emails into tickets anymore.
  • CRM: Create and manage your pipelines in one place, your Gmail interface. Nice and easy.
  • Project Management: Convert your emails into tasks in a project immediately. Use the proven Kanban view to manage workflows more efficiently.
  • Many others, like Marketing, Recruiting, etc.

Are you interested? You can try it for free.

How to install Drag App’s Gmail shared inbox

  1. Complete the sign up steps Drag Chrome Extension.
    Drag sign up page screenshot
  2. Download and install Drag App
    chrome store screenshot
  3. After installation, open or refresh your Gmail tab. An automatic popup for Gmail’s authorization will appear (here’s why we need them).
  4. Read and accept the permissions so Drag can be able to work on your Gmail account.
    google authentication
  5. You will know you have Drag set up when you see:
    1. Drag’s menu button on the top right, next to the Gmail search bar:
      drag menu button
    2. Drag Boards session on the left side, under your Drafts folder:
      drag boards session
    3. toggle button on the top right to turn Drag view on / off your main inbox:
      drag toggle button

Setting up your first real Gmail shared inbox with Drag

  1. On your Gmail sidebar menu, find “Drag Boards” and click on the ‘+’ icon next to it
  2. Select the workflow that you want to use this Shared Inbox for.
    create new workspace
  3. Invite team members that you want to share this board with. Otherwise, if you don’t want to share the board with anyone else, just click on “next step”. You will be able to share the board at anytime later.
    add to board
  4. Select the Shared Inbox option and input the desired board name and respective Shared Inbox email address, then click on “Create Board”.
    add incoming email
  5. Authenticate that account by logging in.
  6. Ready to go! Historical emails in that inbox will load on the first column, and future emails sent to that email address will load in real time as well.

Now you can start collaborating in Gmail with your team.

Interested in finding out what we can do for you? Sign up for a free trial!

Test a complete Gmail overhaul

Drag turns Gmail into your Team’s Workspace – One single place to support customers, manage tasks and close deals, from the place teams love: Gmail. We are a Techstars-backed Company, trusted by 30,000 users around the World.

Try Drag for Free
Samantha Anacleto

Author Samantha Anacleto

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