If you need to add a shared inbox to Outlook then look no further! For small businesses, a group Outlook inbox may be all you need to manage customer service. As your business grows you’ll find that group mailboxes are not designed for delivering customer service and will begin to create more problems than they solve.

Read our complete guide to learn how to quickly and easily add a shared inbox to Outlook and leave your employees and customers satisfied. 

Do I Need a Shared Inbox?

Group mailboxes leave employees and customers frustrated. You may find your employees struggling with efficiency, working at cross purposes when trying to solve what should be a simple customer service request. If your business experiences any of the following signs it is time to consider using a shared inbox:

1. No one knows who has handled a customer request, nor what solution they offered. 
2. Different employees reply to the same customer with duplicate or contradictory solutions
3. Customers send follow up emails for requests that they have not received a response to. 
4. Managing your customer service team is unnecessarily difficult. You have no insights into email volume, response speed, who is responding to what or levels of customer satisfaction. 
5. Collaboration is challenging. It is difficult to assign tasks to team members or add comments, jobs, and edits without forwarding emails.

If you and your business face any of these challenges it is time to adopt a shared Outlook inbox.

What Is a Shared Inbox?

A shared inbox is a tool that allows a group of people to better monitor and manage a public email account, such as contact@helpwise.io. Once set up, all authorized users can access the shared inbox using their credentials.

Each user can read and reply to emails, forward messages, and create new emails. Importantly all users can see which emails have been replied to and which have not.

Users can access the replies sent by other employees. All emails sent from the shared inbox are sent from the shared inbox address (contact@helpwise.io).

Advantages of a Shared Inbox

Outlook shared inboxes offer businesses numerous advantages. The primary advantage is that multiple employees can access and manage a public email account. Emails do not need to be forwarded to the right employee as everyone can see all incoming mail. And if a team member is out of the office, someone else can respond and keep customers happy. 

In this way, an Outlook shared inbox increases response time because the correct team member has direct access to the email and for general responses, anyone can reply. Additionally, Outlook shared inboxes let businesses keep all business appointments in one shared calendar, meaning businesses and employees can see which employees are meeting with customers and when. 

An Outlook shared inbox isn’t just for customer service. Account management teams can follow up leads promptly. Sales teams can stay on top of deals during critical periods. Project managers can ensure staff is informed and across project developments.

How to Add a Shared Inbox to Outlook

Setting up your shared inbox in Outlook is simple. Just follow these steps:

 – Log on to your Exchange or office 365 admin center. You need to be an admin to set up the shared mailbox.
 – Go to Office 365 Groups then Shared mailboxes.
 – Select +Add a mailbox. Here you will enter your mailbox name. The setup wizard will also pre-select an email address so you will need to change that. 
 – Select Add, and under next steps, click Add members.
 – Check the team members you wish to invite to the mailbox and select save.
 – Select Close to finish the setup.

There is an additional process you will want to go through to protect your shared inbox. You will need to block sing-in for the shared mailbox to protect it. Remember that each employee will have access via their won credentials. 

 – Log in to the new admin center.
 – Go to users then Active Users and locate the shared inbox.
 – Select the shared inbox user.
 – Select block this user. This will bring up a window where you’ll block the user from signing in. 
 – Select Save Changes.

Your shared Outlook Inbox is now set up and the employees you assigned to the shared inbox will have access to the inbox via their outlook. 

How to Use Your Shared Inbox

There are a few adjustments s you will want to make to ensure your Outlook shared inbox functions properly. First, you will want to configure the inbox so everyone can see all the sent items. Sent items will be saved to the sent folder of the sender. To allow everyone to see go to the admin center, select shared mailbox settings, and select sent items and edit. 

By default, all selected team members should have access to the shared inbox in their outlook. Each member will need to restart Outlook for it to appear. If it does not appear go back to the shared mailbox settings via the admin center and enable automapping. 

Many businesses like to set up auto-replies for their public email addresses. To do this go to the Admin center, go to groups and shared mailboxes, and select the shared mailbox you wish to send the auto-reply from. Select automatic replies and select edit. Here you can turn auto-replies on, type out the auto-reply message and choose if the message will send to people inside the organization, outside the business, or both.

Ready to Go

When you add a shared inbox to outlook your employees and customers will love you for it. Response times will drop and customer satisfaction will rise. For those businesses looking for a more advanced shared inbox service than what Outlook can offer you, see how Helpwise is perfect for your business.

Helpwise puts all customer conversations in a single place. Not just emails, but SMS, social media messages, and live chats all handled in one location. Making life easier for your employees and leaving your customers happy.