The easiest way anyone can reach an organization is email. A staggering 51% of customers prefer to communicate with organizations only through emails.
It’s not just customers; prospects, vendors, job aspirants, most would send an email when they want to communicate with an organization.
Within the organization too, most people like to exchange information through emails. From lunch outing itinerary to critical contract terms — it’s all on email.
Naturally so, most organizations have shared Gmail accounts such as contact@, support@, and sales@ to keep in touch with the outside world; and hr@, tech@, or accounts@ to manage communication within the company.
How do organizations manage these shared Gmail accounts? There is always a group of people responsible for that function who log into the accounts to process emails.
Unfortunately, the many-users-inside-one-Gmail-account approach is marred by problems:
When multiple users access the same shared email account, it raises an alarm at Google’s end. Users eventually start getting locked out of it for as long as 24 hours.
If your team grows beyond 25 members, there is a good chance that Google will block the account permanently.
Users will have to keep switching between their personal accounts and the shared email accounts they are a part of.
The team will never know who is supposed to handle an incoming email. There is no way to establish that inside Gmail.
The team will not be on the same page about who is handling what. Even when one person starts processing an email, the rest of the team would not know that.
Because nobody knows who is supposed to handle an email, there will be instances when an email goes unattended.
There is no way to establish priority in handling an email.
The only way to delegate an email to someone is to forward it to an individual’s email address — clutters inboxes unnecessarily.
Every time someone wants to know what happened to an email, they would have to reach out to that person separately. The inbox does not tell you anything there.
There is no way to measure and track performance inside shared email accounts.
What I am trying to tell you here is that Gmail was designed to be used by individuals and not by teams. Every time you try to have a team work together inside an inbox, you start seeing cracks in the process.
Collaboration is not a strong suit inside Gmail. The worst part is that these tremors are felt far beyond the actual team that struggles.
When you use a Gmail shared account to manage customer support, your replies are slowed down, resolution takes long — making customers wait is a biblical sin.
When you use a Gmail shared account to manage incoming sales queries, there can be times when two salespersons reply to the same email — creates an ugly first impression to the prospect.
We know for sure that Gmail was never designed to help a team collaborate. This is the exact reason why we built Hiver — to help teams collaborate without friction.
Hiver will let you turn your shared Gmail accounts such as support@, info@, contact@, marketing@ into a shared inbox. You can add your teammates to every shared inbox you create.
Every shared inbox you create starts appearing in your left pane inside Gmail — the same goes for the teammates you add. Basically, having a shared inbox eliminates the need to log into shared email accounts — everything else becomes smoother from here.
In this post, we give you ten reasons why you should start using a shared inbox.
You will never get locked out of a shared email account again
When you have a shared Gmail account, the commonest way of managing them is — share account credentials with everyone involved with that function and they log into the account separately.
This approach, unfortunately, does not work for long. Google knows when you have more than a few users accessing an email account, and they do not like it. Wondering how they keep an eye on it? All of them have different IP addresses — Google is constantly tracking that.
Eventually, users start getting locked out of the account for as long as 24 hours at a time. Some of them would have access, while others won’t. It’s absolute chaos.
When you start using Hiver, you turn each of your shared email accounts into a shared inbox and can manage them from your inbox. You, or your teammates, would never have to log into those shared accounts to manage emails inside them.
Here's how the Gmail inbox of a Human Resources professional would look:
You will not have to worry about the account getting blocked
It is only natural that your team would grow and you’ll have more and more users accessing the shared Gmail account. Some users will keep getting locked out every now and then, like we discussed in the previous point.
The problem hits the tipping point when you have more than 25 people using the shared email account. Google sends you a warning that your account will be blocked. Don’t pay attention to the warning and your account really does get blocked permanently.
Within a Hiver shared inbox, like we discussed in the previous point, you and your teammates do not have to log into the shared email account to handle emails there. The same fundamental applies here as well: when nobody logs into the shared email account, Google does not have a problem.
Inside an Hiver shared inbox, you can have as many users you’d like. There’s no limit on that, literally.
Your team will not have to switch between accounts
When you have shared email accounts to manage, you will have to keep switching between your personal inbox and the shared inbox. If you are a part of more than one shared account, you’d have to log into all of them. It’s nothing but a huge distraction.
When you use Hiver, you get the ability to manage all your shared email accounts from your inbox. Not just viewing emails, you can actually reply to support@ or info@ emails from your inbox.
Every shared inbox you are a part of appears neatly in the left side pane inside Gmail. You will never have to switch accounts to manage shared accounts again.
You get a help desk right inside your Gmail inbox
When Gmail becomes too difficult to collaborate on shared email accounts, a lot of companies try moving to a help desk solution outside it. This is exactly when an entirely new set of problems start to creep in.
You will have to spend considerable time and money to train your employees so that they get used to the new help desk. It does not end there. Every new member that joins your team will need to be trained to use that help desk. It’s a never-ending problem.
What if you get all the capabilities of a help desk right inside Gmail itself? That is exactly what a Hiver shared inbox does for you. You can manage all your critical functions such as support, sales and hiring right from your Gmail inbox.
Assign emails to your team, see their status and the conversation history, email templates, internal communication without sending emails — with a Hiver shared inbox, teams can use their email to get all this done efficiently, without having to learn and adapt to another set of tools.
Your team will never be overwhelmed with emails
Email management is a big problem in the present day. Carleton University researchers say people now spend one-third of their time at the office reading and answering emails. That’s 11.7 hours spent at work every week only processing emails.
As far as replying to email goes, well, there isn’t much you can do there. But reading them, which essentially means sifting through emails to see whether they are important or not — there is always some scope for doing this better.
Unfortunately, when you use a shared Gmail account, everybody in the team ends up processing a deluge of emails. Even when someone from your team is already working on an email, there is no way for the rest of the team to know it. You will end up processing emails which have been dealt with already. The entire team would have to sift through the same set of emails — your team’s productivity basically takes a huge hit.
Hiver solves that for good. Inside a Hiver shared inbox, emails are classified into distinct groups: unassigned, mine, team, pending, and closed. When you enter a shared inbox, the default view is ‘unassigned’ which will only contain emails that nobody has started working on.
You are saved from looking at emails that someone else from your team is dealing with already. There is absolutely no scope for duplication of effort inside a Hiver shared inbox. Think of the kind of time your team will save on a daily basis.
Your team will never miss an email again
There is nothing worse than missing an important email. A customer emails you seeking help and you somehow forgot to reply. A prospect sends an enquiry and the email goes unattended. A vendor sends you an invoice and you miss it. All of them will make you look incredibly unprofessional, and you lose money one way or the other.
Missing emails is a common problem with shared Gmail accounts. When nobody knows who is supposed to take responsibility for an email, there is always a chance that it will go unattended, more so when you have a lot of emails to deal with.
When you use a Hiver shared inbox, like we discussed in the previous point, you get the ‘Unassigned’ tab which contains only those emails that have not been assigned to anyone — there is no way you’d miss an email.
Your email response time will improve dramatically
It’s no longer a secret that faster responses to email make a lot of positive impact, be it support, sales, hiring — you name it.
Inside shared email accounts, when an email arrives, it takes a while to establish who has to start working on it — some time goes there. The admin would forward the email to a teammate, they take their own time to see it — more time goes here. If they have a question to ask, they send another email to a teammate who again takes some time to reply.
Teams are generally slow to reply to emails unless the admin does all replies themselves — which is practically impossible.
All of this changes when you start using Hiver. Within a Hiver shared inbox, it is absolutely easy to delegate emails to your teammates. All it takes is two clicks from inside your inbox — that’s it. You do not have to forward emails to delegate them to your teammates.
The teammate you delegate the task to gets an instant notification, inside their inbox, or the browser, or their phone — all of that covered when you have Hiver.
Even when the agent has a question to ask, they can use Hiver’s Email Notes instead of sending an email. Notes are just like chat messages, except they appear right next to your email thread you want to discuss.
Delegation, accountability, and internal communication — when all of them are faster, your team replies to emails faster.
Monitoring your team’s workflow becomes super easy
A shared email account is usually a hotbed of chaos and confusion. When an email arrives, nobody knows who has to start working on it. Even when someone does start working on it, the rest of the team will not know about it.
At the same time, there is no way to know whether a task has been completed or not. The replies people send do not come to you unless you are copied on them.
Who’s working on an email, what’ its status — will always be a gray area when your team uses a shared email account. You will have a hard time keeping an eye on your team’s workflow.
Inside a Hiver shared inbox, emails are clearly assigned to individuals and bear tags that tell the entire team who’s accountable.
The same applies to the status of the tasks. Users can mark emails Open, Pending, and Closed. This is again visible to the entire team.
You will have a bird’s eye view of the work being done by the team.
At the same time, it makes a huge difference when the entire team has clear insight into what’s going on. They start seeing the bigger picture of things.
Internal and External communication remain neatly separated
Say your customer support team uses a shared email account to handle customer questions. An email arrives, the admin forwards it to one of the agents. The agent realizes they need the product manager’s help to solve the problem. Given that people have a natural tendency to discuss problems on email itself, they send an email to the product manager, who replies with the solution.
All of this happens in the same email thread and there is a very good chance that the support agent replies to the customer on the same thread. Internal discussions leaking to anyone outside the organization will always make you absolutely ugly.
Hiver’s got that covered for you. You can use Hiver’s Email Notes for one to one conversations right alongside the respective email thread. Notes are just like chat messages, except they stay next to the email thread forever.
When team conversations are safely tucked away from emails, chances of them mixing up is zero.
You’ll have insights into your team’s performance
When you run your support or sales from a shared email account, it is absolutely pertinent that you keep a keen eye on how well is the team dealing with emails.
Inside Gmail, you have no way to know how your team deals with emails. For example, if you use the shared account to manage support, you will have no answers to (a) average first response time, (b) average time to close a ticket, or (c) who in your team needs more training.
Running a support or a sales process without knowing how well does your team manage emails is like driving without headlamps — you will come crashing down sooner or later.
All of this changes when you start using Hiver’s shared inbox. You have access to all the number you need, right inside your inbox. The number of conversations your team closes in a day, average time to first response, average time to close, and all the data drilled down to individual team member — you have access to all of that.