There are over 30 million small businesses in the United States alone. If you already understand the importance of customer service and keeping up with modern technology trends. The best way to combine both of those is by having a shared email inbox. If that term has you wondering “What is a shared inbox?” then you’ve come to the right place.
Keep reading to find out what a shared inbox is, why you should have one, and how you can avoid the pitfalls that come with shared inboxes.
What is a Shared Inbox?
A shared inbox is any email inbox that more than one person has access to or regularly uses. Individuals can log into a shared inbox with separate addresses or accounts but once they’re in, all correspondence goes through that inbox.
In most cases, these are used for customer support. Customers can send an email to one email address such as “firstname.lastname@example.org” and will receive a response from any number of employees that monitor that inbox.
As you’ll see in the next section, there are many advantages to having a shared email rather than expecting all of your employees to use a dedicated email account.
Why Have a Shared Email
Here are just a few of the biggest benefits you gain from using shared inboxes.
Easier for Customers
When a customer has a problem, they don’t want to spend a lot of time looking for the right person to email. Instead, they want to be able to quickly locate an email address and get an answer.
There are over 244 million email users in the United States alone, so if that’s where your customer base is, it’s likely they already have an email address. This makes it quick and easy for anyone to get into contact with you.
Improved Customer Service
Imagine having only one employee who monitors a support email inbox. If there’s a huge influx of emails one day or they call in sick for a few days, you’re going to have a lot of unhappy customers with unanswered emails.
By having multiple people using one shared inbox, emails will be answered more quickly which will help improve customer service. It’s also more likely that with multiple people on a support team, one of them will have the solution.
It’s also easy to track conversations with customers when they’re all in one place. There’s no need to find out who else they’ve already discussed the issue with when you can see the entire conversation within a shared inbox.
Better Employee Collaboration
When all of the employees on the same team can see what’s happening with one customer, it makes it easier for them to collaborate.
Rather than needing to forward emails or copy and paste information, an employee reaching out for help can simply encourage their coworker to check the shared inbox for the full conversation.
As your business expands, you will naturally encounter some growing pains. This could be in the form of employee loss or a struggle to find enough employees to fill positions.
Either way, changes in employees can leave your customer support email up in the air, unless you have a shared inbox. New team members can easily be integrated into your system and former employees won’t leave unanswered emails behind.
Disadvantages of a Shared Inbox
There are a couple of drawbacks to having a shared inbox. These are also important to consider when looking at your email customer support options.
Lack of Context
Email systems are fairly straightforward and exist primarily for sending and receiving information. For that reason, it can be difficult to obtain necessary background information on a customer.
Without context and background information, you won’t be able to provide optimal customer service. You need to be able to see the history you have with someone which most email providers can’t do for you.
Perhaps the biggest concern with shared inboxes is that employees won’t communicate well which can cause emails to fall through the cracks. Or, emails may be answered simultaneously by more than one person.
While there are some ways around this by using labels or folders, but this can be tedious and doesn’t always work out as planned.
Shared Inbox Solutions
If you’re worried about the drawbacks that come with using a shared email inbox, then you’ll want to check out the solutions we offer.
Our software program addresses the two disadvantages we mentioned here as well as others. It also provides you with additional features that you can use to offer even better customer service.
We address the problem of not having context with a pop-up box that appears every time an email is opened. There, you’ll see information about the customer that’s in your database.
You’ll also see emails they’ve exchanged already with that inbox. That way, you can read through previous emails to make sure you’re not sharing the same information again and that all of their questions have been answered.
The issue of miscommunication between employees is resolved by the ability to add tags and notes to each email or a conversation. That way, anybody checking on that conversation will have additional information needed.
An additional feature that many of our clients love is the ability to add tags to a conversation. This is particularly important if your shared inbox receives a variety of questions that different departments are best equipped to handle.
For example, if someone has a question that’s best answered by your marketing department, you can tag the email as “marketing” and a notification will go to the employee that’s best suited to handle it.
Ready to Take Full Advantage of Shared Email?
You now know the answer to the question, “What is a shared inbox?” As you can see, there are many advantages to using one along with a couple of drawbacks.
If you want to take full advantage of having a shared email address without these disadvantages, sign up today for a free trial of our software to help you get more out of your shared inbox.