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Managing shared inboxes from Gmail: Solved

Jun 23, 2020
Shared Inbox
4 min read

People love Gmail. A lot of them practically live in their Gmail accounts. And over the last few years, businesses too have started using Gmail extensively.

Gmail now has more than 4 million businesses as paying customers, a number that has doubled in the past couple of years.

But Gmail has a fundamental problem: It does not work very well you use it to collaborate with your team.

The only way you can share information with your team: forwarding emails. The only way to collaborate with your team (such as delegating a task): forwarding emails.

You’d be surprised that a staggering 40% of staff time is wasted in reading internal emails.


How do you ensure people stop forwarding emails to each other? How about we create an email account that can be accessed by everyone on a team? Everyone will have access to the same information and that will be the end of email forwarding.

And this is exactly why the Shared inbox entered the picture. Businesses started creating email accounts like [email protected] and [email protected]

Because these inboxes are shared among the members of a team, we started calling them shared inboxes.  

At the outset, it did look like shared inboxes are going to solve all the collaboration woes of Gmail. Instead, they gave birth to an entirely new set of problems.

Key issues with managing Shared Inboxes in Gmail

Gmail somehow makes managing shared inboxes a nightmare. Let’s dive right in.

You’d still have to forward emails to delegate them

The problem with having a common multi-user account is that it may make communication easier but collaboration harder.

It is indeed great that some or all of your team members can access the common Gmail account, but there is no quick way of knowing who is working on a given email.

For instance, say a customer has sent an email to your [email protected] account with a query.

Although each one of your team members has access to this email, you would still have to forward the email to assign it to a particular teammate.

It is a crude, time-consuming, and a messy way to handle emails.


Your teammates will step on each other’s toes

There is nothing more admirable and efficient than a well-coordinated organization. The disadvantage of using common Gmail accounts is that they limit this organizational coordination.

Conducting business using such Gmail accounts typically causes the collision problem where two or more of your team members respond to the same email or work on the same task, unaware that someone else is already on it.

This often results in those embarrassing situations where you send 2-3 emails to the same person, each from a different team member.


In addition to resulting in wasted efforts and time, this makes your company look really inefficient and having to check in with your teammates every time you respond to an email is a bothersome alternative.

Internal conversations breed Email ping-pong

What if you have an email received in a shared Gmail account that you need to have an internal discussion with your team about? What do you typically do then? You forward that email, and on the same email thread where a customer or a vendor wrote to you, you start your internal conversation.

This can very easily get quite confusing and there’s a good likelihood your customer might see a bit of your internal conversation.

Also, many times these internal discussions result in huge email threads and it will be difficult for you to retrieve any important details from this chaos in the future.

Another reason to keep in mind is that the overuse of email for anything and everything will overload your inbox. All in all, this method is a complete productivity and efficiency killer.


Making shared inboxes truly collaborative

I am sure we have enough reasons to say that Gmail does not let you manage shared inboxes very well.

And that is exactly why we built Hiver: to make managing shared inboxes effortless. Allow me to explain how.

Delegate emails without forwarding

Hiver lets you delegate emails to your teammates in two clicks from Gmail. And that does not involve forwarding.


Your teammate can start replying on the thread you assign to them right away. They don’t have to be CC’d on the email.

Not just that, every email now gets a status — Open, Pending, or Closed. Tracking the emails you’ve assigned to your team becomes effortless.

There’s zero room for overlaps

When you assign an email to someone, the entire team know he/she is working on it. There is n room for an accidental duplication of work.

By some freak coincidence, if two people still end up working on the same email, Collision Alerts quickly come to rescue.


Also, replies to emails inside the shared inboxes are visible to everyone. They don’t have to be CC’d on those threads.

Your team will never write internal emails again

Email Notes ensure you never have to write internal emails again.

Notes are like chat messages that appear right next to the email thread you are discussing. It means you do not have to spend time building context for your team.


Get deep insights into your team’s performance

When you run support from a shared inbox, I am sure you’d want to know how effectively your team is managing emails.

Hiver gives you access to crucial support metrics. From response time to resolution time — the Analytics Dashboard has it all, right inside Gmail.


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.