Here are three truths that everybody needs to know right now about email inboxes:
- They can be more than a place where you exchange messages;
- You can centralize your entire workflow on your inbox;
- It’s possible to share an inbox with several people securely without sharing logins;
This means that email services can be a lot more useful when it comes to productivity and workflows. However, many people still use them individually and in their limited format. The only way emails can be shared is between personal accounts using Forwarding, Carbon Copy (CC), and Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) — only if your team shares the same email address or use cc, bcc, fwd, or other confusing functionalities.
Nowadays, people share and collaborate in real-time. Think about examples such as Google Drive or Google Docs, with real-time sharing and collaboration on any document on the cloud. Or even tools such as Skype or Slack, revolutionizing business communication with instant messages.
So why emails could not be real-time too? The good news is that they can! Email has evolved to a level where they become real-time too. The term Shared Mailbox has emerged as a big update on email communication.
If you are on a team, wouldn’t it be amazing to share your mailbox and work collaboratively with your colleagues without having to use the same email account? By leveraging the right technology you can do it seamlessly.
This article will guide you through everything you need to know about shared mailboxes and how to improve your teamwork with them.
What is a Shared Mailbox
Regular email servers were created for exchanging messages between accounts. And that’s it. But as the years passed, and the number of users just increased, mainly for business purposes, some pain-points began to appear.
Since companies started to use it as a tool for customer support, sales, marketing, and other essential business activities —that involve more than a single worker— having a single email address became obsolete.
And even if sharing the same email account with more than 10 people sounds a bad idea, this is the solution that many companies follow. That’s why software developers created specific programs for sharing emails differently: shared mailboxes.
A Shared Mailbox solution offers one inbox for multiple people to access at the same time, from each one of their accounts. This means that sharing accounts is no longer necessary. To be even clearer you can have an address such as firstname.lastname@example.org and then the following processes will happen:
- Everyone in the sales team will have their own inbox (e.g. email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org);
- They will receive the emails sent to email@example.com in real-time using their particular accounts because this shared inbox will be available as a second mailbox inside their accounts;
- On most of the shared mailbox solutions, they will be able to see what’s been done on the mailbox simultaneously. So everybody knows exactly who replied to what email;
- It will be possible to delegate emails easily, depending on the functionalities offered by the software;
Briefly, a shared inbox has the capacity of improving security, it helps to eliminate the endless Fwd’s, Cc’s, and Bcc’s, and has many other benefits that we will further explore next.
The power of a Shared Mailbox
The results of using a Shared Mailbox are remarkable: better communication, an improvement in the collaboration within your team, security, and many others. Let’s check each one of them.
1. Agility and effectiveness
A team faster in solving potential problems will generate happier clients. That’s why aligning your team on productive routines results in delivering a better service.
According to research from PWC, 73% of all people point to customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions. While 86% of customers are willing to pay a quarter more to companies that provide an excellent experience.
Companies without shared mailboxes might see their clients going into a ping-pong of emails, which takes time and stresses clients. With shared mailboxes, everyone is on the same page, making it look and feel better for clients. Moreover, everybody knows exactly what each teammate is working on, avoiding any kind of duplicated answers, or even doing the same task twice.
Having a shared mailbox unifies your internal and external communication. Mainly because it removes extra steps, such as the long threads caused by common email features (FWD, Cc, and Bcc).
3. Centralize Work
With many tools available, some teams work across several platforms daily: task management platform, CRM platform, helpdesk platform, and so on. By moving through them, sometimes information gets lost and team members lose themselves in the middle of it all.
The worst of all is that many of the To-Dos start and finish as emails, but they need to be imported to an external tool simply because email is not suppose to be collaborative.
To organize everything in a simpler way, email can work as a digital hub, centralizing work in a single platform that covers it all. That’s exactly the purpose of a shared mailbox.
4. Delegate emails and tasks efficiently
Although you can assign messages to team members in traditional email accounts, by sharing a mailbox, your team gains speed and transparency in the process. Everyone can see the emails and replies in real-time, which means real collaboration and productivity. As a consequence, team members improve their responsiveness.
Also, when you’re able to assign some email to be solved by a specific person, workflows more easily, and you save time for the team as no one has to check all messages because they have the ones specifically for them.
However, be careful. If there’s not a person in your team to manage the workflow, members of shared mailboxes should have a look sometimes at unanswered emails. One big issue teams face is miscommunication in their shared mailboxes when not everybody is on the same page.
Drag: more than just a shared mailbox
Drag is not just a mailbox that your whole team can access and work on. It’s also a task management tool, a CRM, a Helpdesk, with several features to improve your communication as a team, such as:
- Tasks (that you can create, or turn your emails into tasks);
- Due dates;
- Notes inside each email;
- Team chat;
And all of this can be visualized in amazing Trello-like boards. Drag works right inside one of the most loved email services in the whole world: Gmail. A place your team know well, and probably already use at work.
Imagine having a unique way of managing your process, several tools in one, and all of these in just one place? That’s exactly the purpose of Drag. Let’s have a thorough look at Drag features?
The first thing you need to know is that Drag separates your personal mailbox, from the shared inboxes you need to create. We name these inboxes as “Drag Boards”. They are built in a kanban view, containing columns. By default the boards come with three columns: To-do, Doing, and Done. But you can simply rename them to what makes sense to your processes.
When you have a shared mailbox with your team in Drag, all the emails sent to your team email address will arrive on this board as cards, on the first column. Easily drag and drop these cards between columns to keep track of your progress, and let your teammates know in what emails you are working on. These cards can be either emails or tasks that you can create yourself.
Group Live Chat
With Drag you can centralize your communication with your team about specific topics. Every card has its own chatbox, where you can share details, delegate tasks, mentioning people from the team. They will receive an email notification with a direct link to the conversation.
With this feature, you can avoid using a third-party tool, such as Slack or Skype, to share thoughts or solve problems about a situation that is already on the email with your teammates.
Google Calendar Integration
Usually, teamwork includes having deadlines for certain tasks. Since Drag can also be used as a Task Management tool, having due dates is a characteristic that you will have access too. Plus, every time you set a date and time to a card —that can be either a task or email — an event it’s automatically created in your Google Calendar. You won’t miss a due date ever again.
In our daily work, we usually have lots of repeatable tasks. Drag has a feature that automates your processes to help you save time.
You can preset rules to automate your whole workflow, according to all the necessities you have, such as the steps you take to accomplish tasks, answer emails, and so on.
Each board and workflow is different, that’s why you can create several different automations in one shared mailbox. At the same time, these automations are cross-boards, which means actions in one board can influence another board if you desire.
You can personalize three items in automations: board, conditions, and actions. Besides that you can choose from 5 actions:
- Move to (someone)
- Assign to (someone)
- Change color
- Gmail action
- Apply tag
Drag also allows you to track Gmail analytics and generate reports across all of your boards. Drag reports consist of 3 tabs: Cards, Board Activity, and Leaderboard. Across any tab, you can filter your reports by the board, user, and date.
Analyzing data inside shared mailboxes is really useful to track your team’s performance while handling emails. Based on this info you can know how to improve your processes.
Teams that work together and very aligned in all the processes lead to continuous growth in a company. Also, teams work better when the work environment is more organized and allow themselves to be more peaceful about their work.
Shared mailboxes work very well, and there are many proofs of that. You will be able to feel the difference in productivity after your team collaborates more in a platform as simple and crucial as email. Believe us, they will thank you later.
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.
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