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Gmail Shared Mailbox: Inefficiencies, and alternatives

Mar 05, 2020
Shared Inbox
3 min read

Most companies that use G Suite have a Gmail Shared Mailboxes such as [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected] for managing communication with customers, vendors, job applicants, or anyone else outside the company.

While having a Gmail Shared Mailbox would make it easy for companies to communicate with everyone from one inbox, they do a shoddy job at team collaboration.

Inefficiencies of the Gmail Shared Mailbox  

There are two common ways to manage a Gmail Shared Mailbox group:

First, share the credentials with everyone on the team or give them delegated access, and they can log into the email account individually. 

The biggest limitation is that Google allows a maximum of 25 users to access a Gmail shared mailbox. Your team grows beyond that and the shared account gets blocked.


Second, create a collaborative inbox inside Gmail and add your teammates to it.

But, the Google collaborative inbox is a popular disaster. The user interface is completely different from the Gmail that we are used to, and it does a lowly job at collaboration.

The list of inefficiencies in using Gmail Shared Mailboxes is long. Let’s dive in.

Delegation is haphazard

A new email arrives at [email protected] email address and it needs to be assigned to James. The only way to delegate tasks inside Gmail is forwarding the email to James’ email address — amounts to unnecessary email clutter.

Apart from that, forwarded emails can easily get lost in the trenches of email every inbox receives.


Hinders transparency

Let’s say an email comes to [email protected] address and a representative starts working on it immediately — others in the support team who have access to the account have no way of knowing this.

The team will never be on the same page about who is working on what.

High chances of work duplication

When one person is already working on a support email and nobody else knows about it, there is a good chance someone else might take up that email too — unnecessary duplication of work.

Even worse of both of them happen to write to the customer with the same question or the same update.


Lack of ownership

A new email comes to [email protected] email address and the first salesperson who sees it starts working on the lead. The rest of the team has no clue who took it up.

When there is no way to establish who is working on an email, things can become confusing quickly.

Who is supposed to follow up with the customer? Are they waiting for a brochure or something? Have they reached out before? Nobody in the team will have a complete picture of the situation.

Status of tasks is always a gray area

There is no natural way to know what’s the status of emails your team is working on. You’d have to reach out to everyone who has access to the mailbox, identify who worked on it, and ask them what happened.

This is especially relevant to customer support teams who have to get back to the customer in as little time as possible.

Internal and external communication can cross paths

A customer email arrives at [email protected] email and a representative starts working on it. The rep needs a little help and forwards the email to a teammate. They solve the problem by exchanging a few emails and finally send a reply to the customer on the same thread.

The customer can see the internal communication that went into solving the problem — an absolutely unprofessional behavior on the part of the company.

Analytics is absent

This is especially relevant to customer support teams. There is no way to know who is doing great at support, or how does the average response time look.

As a company grows, it is critical to track every aspect of support activity, and you just can’t achieve that using Gmail.

Hiver makes managing any Gmail Shared Mailbox effortless

Hiver takes care of all the inefficiencies of Gmail for managing common mailboxes — here’s how:

Access [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] from your inbox

Hiver lets you create shared inboxes which let you access [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] emails from your inbox.


You and your team no longer have to log into a separate account to process emails that come to shared email addresses.

Delegate emails effortlessly

Hiver lets you assign emails to your teammates in just two clicks, right from your inbox again. No email forwarding. No CC.


Everyone knows who is working on what

When you assign an email to a someone, everyone who is a part of the shared inbox is aware of that — there is no room for confusion or duplication of work. Your team collaborates better than ever.

Everyone knows the status of tasks

Hiver tells you the status of an email: open, pending, or closed. It is again visible to everyone who is a part of the shared inbox.

Internal communication is neatly separated from customer emails

Hiver lets support reps communicate with each other using Email Notes which are like chat messages that appear right beside the email thread. You internal conversations will never leak to your customers again.


You have access to robust analytics

From average response time to the number of queries solved in a day, you can track everything with Hiver’s shared inbox analytics. Additionally, it helps you monitor how your individual team members are doing, by displaying metrics for individual agents.

Learn more about Hiver

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Harsh is the content lead at Hiver. He's jocular, loves dogs, and is always up for a road trip. He also reads - when Netflix gets boring.