One of the most time-consuming challenges small business managers and owners face is organizing and delegating daily tasks.
Time spent responding to customers or scheduling meetings can be better spent when the entire team has smoother communication. That’s why a shared inbox can be a good problem solver, improve collaboration and provide better solutions.
How does it work?
A shared inbox is an email address that different team members can access through their own accounts. This means that multiple people can access company inboxes, such as support@companyname or sales@companyname, and their activities are visible to everyone. This is especially useful for large and medium-sized companies whose operations require the implementation of multi-channel communication, both internally and externally. Partners or customers, instead of requesting emails directly from employee name@companyname, will be able to send messages to the appropriate department, while reaching the entire team.
Shared inbox software features
Most of today’s shared inbox tools have several specific features:
- group email management. The ability to easily manage email addresses on a single page, without having to log into other accounts or switch between screens;
- error detection. With a common customer service email, you can prevent two people from responding to the same customer by assigning incoming messages to specific employees;
- automated emails. Most shared inbox tools allow you to use templates and automatic replies;
- internal discussions. Using internal notes to leave important information directly in each email saves time and improves workflow quite a bit;
- insights and analytics. Tracking performance or message response times can help you achieve goals and understand which areas to improve.
Problems solved by shared inboxes
Part of the problem with regular external and internal business communications is that important points can get “lost” in the numerous threads of an email inbox. It also happens that when writing an email, some tasks are forgotten or people who should be in the thread are left out. Such situations breed misunderstandings and reduce productivity.
Consider also such a situation. One person opens an official company email, in which the list of tasks includes finding a customer complaint and responding to it. The employee immediately discusses the issue with his supervisor and in consultation with him determines a solution. Everything seems to be in order, but what happens when another team member reads the same email a few hours later, finds a solution and takes steps to implement it. Can you see where the problem lies?
Even if the intentions in this case were good, there was clearly a misunderstanding, which indicates poor work organization. The same can, of course, happen when dealing with suppliers and even co-workers. That’s why some teams want to implement a shared inbox for each department to keep all relevant information and communications in one place.
main photo: unsplash.com/Corinne Kutz