2022’s Top Shared Team Inboxes for Managing Conversations
Kyle Kuczynski
Kyle Kuczynski
MessageDesk Co-Founder & CMO
Updated: Feb 10, 2022
Top Shared Team Inboxes

Here’s a List of the Top Team Inbox Software and Shared Inboxes for Teams

Busy day? Lots of conversations going on?

Stop for a second.

Make a list of all the ways your teammates, coworkers, customers, clients, or contacts are communicating with and amongst each other.

There’s:

  • Email
  • SMS text messages
  • Phone calls
  • Video calls
  • Website chatbots
  • Slack
  • Facebook
  • WhatsApp
  • Instagram

Your list of messaging platforms could go on and on, but…

What if you could unify all of these conversational silos? What if you could simplify and streamline your team and customer conversations into just the right view?

To do this, you’ll need a shared team inbox.

In this article I’ll show you:

  1. What a shared team inbox is
  2. Common team inbox features
  3. A list of the top team inboxes

Read on for more.

Try a shared team inbox for free. No payment required.
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What is a Shared Team Inbox?

A shared team inbox, shared inbox, or team inbox allows groups of people to access messages from one place. Shared team inboxes unify email messages, text messages, or any other kind of messages into a shared view for multiple people. Team inboxes are collaborative tools that make it easy for team members to start, assign, filter, manage and respond to messages.

7 Common Team Inbox Features

  1. Conversation assignment and filtering tools
  2. Multiple users, logins, and permission levels
  3. Send as and send on behalf of
  4. Message scheduling and automation
  5. Internal chat, mentions, and team discussion features
  6. Integrations with at least one or many messaging channels
  7. Insights and analytics

1. Conversation assignment and filtering tools

The top feature that all team inboxes share is conversation assignment and filtering. No matter the messaging channel, a shared inbox software makes it easy to:

  • Categorize conversations by type to create multiple views
  • Assign and manage conversations amongst teammates
  • Filter conversations chronologically or by state (open, closed, responded, waiting, etc.)

Conversation assignment and filtering tools make it possible for teams to scale their messaging. Teams can manage more business conversations because they have more actionable and insightful views of priority conversations. This can also lead to faster response times.

If you look at MessageDesk, you’ll find a toolbar front and center for assigning, filtering and creating views of conversations.

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2. Multiple users, logins, and permission levels

It may seem obvious, but shared team inboxes are well… shared. They’re unified inboxes where multiple people can log in and see open conversations in real-time.

With multiple users and logins come multiple permission levels. Some conversations might be sensitive or just not relevant to the whole team.

So most team inboxes have granular permission levels. This makes it possible to give certain teammates access to specific conversations and information.

3. Send as and send on behalf of

Consistency is key when it comes to customer service and improving your customer engagement strategy. This is why team inboxes make it possible to send messages as someone else or on behalf of your organization.

It may take multiple teammates to resolve a customer issue or answer a question. But with a shared inbox software, anyone can pick up on a conversation. This makes resolving issues and responding using a group email address or shared phone number easy.

Many sales and support teams use a group email address like info@, sales@, or support@ or use 800 numbers. This helps them unify their email and text message support lines.

4. Message scheduling and automation

Scheduling and automation are time-saving features that break down into two categories.

  1. Basic message scheduling (scheduling one-time, individual, non-recurring messages)
  2. Advanced automation (setting rules that string messages together or send messages automatically when something occurs)

Most shared team inboxes offer basic message scheduling. This means scheduling one text message, or one email to one person, one time.

But advanced automation allows you to do way more.

SMS-based inboxes like MessageDesk allow you to set up autoresponder text messages based on your office hours. When someone texts or calls you when you’re away, they’ll automatically receive an out-of-office text message.

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5. Internal chat, mentions, and team discussion features

Team inboxes don’t just unify conversations with contacts and customers. They can also unify conversations ABOUT contacts and customers.

Many team inboxes allow users to tag other users and leave internal comments that are tied to specific conversations. This makes it easy for team members to comment on and resolve problems in the same messaging channel.

Most of these chat functions work by simply putting @ in front of the user’s name. Other inboxes use separate in-line message streams.

6. Integrations with at least one or many messaging channels

Some team inboxes like Hiver (for Gmail) and MessageDesk (for text messages) focus primarily on one messaging channel. But other inboxes like Front and Missive allow users to incorporate multiple messaging channels into the same inbox view.

Because there are so many messaging channels and ways for people to connect, conversations can become fractured. Information gets stored in separate silos.

But a multi-channel team inbox brings all of this communication into one shared space. This really helps when your contacts or customers have different communication preferences.

It’s the best way to manage email, text messages, and other types of conversations in one place.

7. Insights and analytics

As a bonus, many more advanced team inboxes offer analytics and conversation tracking. Some inboxes like Salesmate take this to the next level because they’re more sales and CRM-driven.

Insight and analytics features also coincide with ticketing systems for tracking the status of a customer support request.

In other cases, some platforms offer simple tracking on message open rates, response rates, and engagement metrics.

Try a shared team inbox for free. No payment required.

Top Shared Team Inboxes (In No Particular Order)

  1. MessageDesk
  2. Front
  3. Intercom
  4. TeamInbox by Zoho Mail
  5. Helpwise
  6. Missive
  7. Hiver
  8. Salesmate
  9. HelpScout

1. MessageDesk - business text messaging team inbox

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Best for:

Teams who use SMS text messages to communicate with contacts, customers, co-workers, and teammates.

Overview:

Of course, I have to mention MessageDesk as part of my best-of list. How can I not? I’m a co-founder after all. 🤷

MessageDesk is a business text messaging team inbox. It’s ideal for small to medium-sized businesses and organizations that need an SMS inbox for text messages.

It works great for texting one-on-one and broadcasting to large groups from a 10-digit phone number or 800 number. You can also connect your existing business phone number or text enable your landline.

MessageDesk is a great tool for businesses and organizations looking to create conversational experiences with their customers. But MessageDesk and texting also work well as an employee communication platform.

Overall, MessageDesk is well suited for customer support and service, review and feedback collection, payment and scheduling reminders, and text message marketing campaigns.

After a free trial, starting costs are $14 per month for one user. We also offer custom pricing for larger teams.

Features:

  • Shared team inbox
  • Scheduled and automated text messages
  • Templates and MMS messages
  • Group texts and broadcasts without reply all
  • Call forwarding and voicemails to any number
  • Desktop, tablet, and mobile apps

Pros:

  • Highly functional shared team-inbox
  • Affordable starting price
  • Excellent customer service

Cons:

  • Currently, few integrations with other messaging channels like email

What users say:

Contributor Image
Sylvia L.
Programmatic Account Manager
"MesageDesk is great for sending mass texts for the staff or communicating with returning clients. We have sent promotional deals to our returning clients. We can also group clients if need be based on categories."
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Joylyn O.
Marketing Consultant
"MessageDesk is an effective texting app with excellent customer service. The templates are customizable with tagging features to personalize messages. MessageDesk also has fantastic customer service where real people answer your questions."

2. Front - multi-channel team inbox

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Best for:

Businesses that need to unify email conversations, text, chat, and more into a CRM-like experience to provide superior customer service.

Overview:

Front is an email-centric shared team inbox. Email is what they do best, but they also support text messaging and chat as well. Some users do note this functionality is limited.

Front combines the simplicity of an email inbox with the automation and insights of a CRM. Teammates can work together to send out faster replies, keep messages organized across channels, and maintain a personal touch.

Front costs $19 per user per month for the Starter plan or $49 per user per month for the Prime plan. They also offer custom pricing for their Enterprise plan.

Features:

  • Unified email, SMS, chat, and other forms of messaging
  • Customer complaint tracking
  • CRM integrations
  • Automation rules and smart notifications

Pros:

  • Tagging and organization features
  • Excellent email forwarding features

Cons:

  • More expensive compared to some other inbox options

What users say:

Contributor Image
Luis C.
Case Manager
"The software caters to be very user-friendly, especially for those who are tech-savvy. I heavily utilize the "rules" feature to automate tasks to forward, delete, or archive specific emails, whether from a domain or whatever criteria I set up."
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Sahib T.
Customer Experience Specialist
"There are few kinks - its not integrated well with other apps like Gmail or Slack when opening from the app itself, even the front app is slow and not smooth as the browser! opening a conversation and assigned conversation again just because a new tag was added sometimes makes the job harder as in addition to the current work you have to go through the previous work as well."

3. Intercom - team inbox

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Best for:

Medium to large-scale teams that sell and support a digital product by connecting with contacts through their website or app.

Overview:

Intercom is a top-rated communications platform that offers a host of conversational messaging tools for the tech-inclined. Their inbox gives product, sales, and support teams the ability to manage and reply to chats on a website, from a mobile app, email, and even social media.

Intercom’s team Inbox helps you seamlessly collaborate across teams, set up distinct inboxes for support and sales, assign permissions, and cooperate on complex issues using notes and mentions.

Features:

  • Customizable chatbots
  • Product tours
  • Notes and mentions
  • Lots of embeddable messenger apps
  • Email series and marketing automation tools
  • Integration with email and other website communications channels

Pros

  • Robust and expansive features
  • Killer chatbot and messenger experience for websites
  • Lots of automation with “series”
  • Great inbox for creating multiple views and assigning conversation and permissions

Cons

  • Complex pricing
  • Might be too robust, feature-heavy, and technical for smaller organizations

What users say:

Contributor Image
Jordan D.
head of Marketing
"The live chat functionality and reporting is the best I've seen. Setting up the live chat was quick and easy, and having suggested help centre articles based on the users question has helped reduce human support time whilst scaling."
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Jarred A.
Product Operations Leader
"So many features - figuring out what to use and how to best use Intercom does take some time and process building. This is more on us and figuring out our customer success models and less about Intercoms tools or technology stack."

4. TeamInbox - by Zoho Mail

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Best for:

Small to medium-sized organizations that already use Zoho and a group email address to handle communication.

Overview:

Zoho’s team inbox is a slick offering. It makes it easy for teams to connect email accounts and create a shared email experience.

Zoho TeamInbox gives teams email transparency. You get multiple inboxes so each conversation is visible to every team member added to that inbox.

You also get the standard assignment and granular permissions that you’d expect as standard with a shared inbox.

Features:

  • Shared inbox tools
  • Conversation assignment
  • Rules for sorting and assigning messages
  • iOS and Android apps

Pros

  • Slick user-friendly inbox
  • Encrypted messaging
  • GDPR compliance
  • $5 starting price

Cons

  • Email is the only supported messaging channel

5. Helpwise - multi-channel team Inbox

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Best for:

Support, sales, finance, and HR teams who focus exclusively on customer support and service with NPS and CSAT surveys.

Overview:

Helpwise allows you to manage all your communication methods with your customer in one place. With shared inboxes for email, SMS, WhatsApp, website chat widget, and social media accounts, you can easily collaborate with your team.

Helpwise offers extra services such as an online chat plugin and a centralized repository in addition to shared team inboxes. With Helpwise, you can talk with your coworkers in discussion threads, freeze conversations, and delegate messaging.

Features:

  • Conversation assignment and tags
  • Team member mentions in-thread
  • Productivity tools include templates, integrations, and workflows.
  • Inbox tools such as reminders and filters
  • Analytics and tracking
  • iOS and Android apps

Pros:

  • Multi-channel messaging capabilities
  • Integrations with CRMs and other apps

Cons:

  • Complicated pricing
  • Feature heavy and perhaps a little bloated
  • Lower-cost options don’t get you the top-tier automation rules and features

What users say:

Contributor Image
Mark T.
Small Business Owner
"First, Helpwise is easy to use. I have a small team of 3 that utilizes Helpwise to provide support to our small business clients. Previously we used a Gmail account that we all had the login to but that became cumbersome with who was responding and who emails were coming from. Because my team is not tech-savvy, things were being missed. Helpwise has corrected that to where it is easier to use and we have great tracking of our activities."
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Sharhriar A.
Small Business Owner
"The thing I dislike is the file manager. When I use Google Drive I can upload a file once and use it multiple times to send anyone. But I can't use helpwise file manager in that way. Every time needs to upload the same file and its stores on the file manager. It looks annoying."

6. Missive - team inbox and chat tool

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Best for:

Small to medium-sized businesses and organizations that need a lot of inbox features.

Overview:

Missive is an app that brings team inboxes and chats under a single roof. It was built with collaboration in mind to centralize your team's communication.

Missive recently redesigned their inbox, focusing on a business-first collaborative experience. Compared to other inboxes, Missive ranks as one of the most feature-rich. Their incorporation of multiple messaging channels also widens their platform’s capabilities.

Missive does have a “free forever” free team inbox. But you’ll need to upgrade to get the most out of the platform.

Features:

  • Shared team inboxes
  • Supports mail, live chat, SMS, and social media channels
  • Templates and custom signatures
  • Scheduling and automation
  • Tasks for project management
  • Workload balancing

Pros:

  • Super customizable
  • Lots of solid features
  • Multi-channel inboxes
  • Rules and automation

Cons:

  • User complain about buggy search functionality
  • Lots of features can mean a bloated, complex user experience
  • Pricing can be complex and expensive based on users

What users say:

Contributor Image
Troy M.
Technical Director
"Missive is a great email collaboration tool. You can share selected inboxes and message with the entire team, or just individuals. You can chat and comment on messages, which eliminates a lot of outside conversations, forwards, and cc'ing. The app works great and is super fast, as is the mobile client."
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Donna H.
Head of Operations & Analytics
"It would be good if the admin on the account could have more control over the individual user settings."

7. Hiver - Gmail-based inbox and helpdesk

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Best for:

Teams who run support and help processes exclusively in Gmail.

Overview:

Hiver is a relatively new shared inbox and helpdesk built specifically for Google Workspace. They help teams manage email in Gmail and deliver fast and empathetic customer service.

With Hiver, teams can assign, track, and collaborate on customer emails. They can also run advanced analytics and automation directly from their Gmail interfaces.

Hiver works as an extension that sits on top of Gmail. It displays notes beside emails so that team members always have the most up-to-date information.

Features:

  • Email delegation, tags, templates, and notes
  • Collision alerts
  • Automation
  • Analytics
  • SLAs and business hours
  • Customer surveys
  • iOS and Android apps

Pros:

  • Great for teams who already use Gmail
  • Simple and easy to manage
  • Doesn’t require learning a new app or software

Cons:

  • Just for Gmail users
  • Doesn’t function with Outlook etc.
  • A bit expensive considering it only works with Gmail

What users say:

Contributor Image
Alicia R.
Project Manager
"The best feature I like about Hiver is that if you close the email out in Hiver, it will also close out in your primary inbox. Not many add-ons do that, so this is helpful and creates an efficient workflow. I also appreciate the tags you can create, along with a color selection which I use to label each client. This feature helps quickly identify the recipients."
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Juan B.
Web Developer
"I think Hiver is a bit expensive compared to other tools on the market. However, it is a worthwhile investment if you consider its optimal performance."

8. Salesmate - team inbox for sales teams

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Best for:

Sales teams who need a collaborative way to connect with customers.

Overview:

Salesmate offers a shared team inbox alongside a complete sales CRM with contact management, smart emails, and voice call capability.

With Salesmate, you get a collaborative way to track leads and follow up with potential customers. Connect any email provider and your whole team gets oversight of sales conversations.

Features:

  • Email, text, chat, web, calls
  • Streamlined pipeline view for managing your sales process
  • Sequences and automation
  • Analytics and dashboards for progress and quota tracking

Pros:

  • Flawless email sync
  • Single source of truth for all sales conversations
  • Friendly pricing

Cons:

  • Single users are limited to 250 emails daily
  • No social media integrations

What users say:

Contributor Image
Michael E.
Marketing Manager
"Incredibly intuitive software that allows you to customize to your heart's desire. Feature-rich system, that includes pretty much everything you'd need out-of-the-box at a fraction of the cost you'll find elsewhere. Excellent reporting suite and usable by sales, marketing, and customer service. As far as all-in-one solutions go, this is an excellent option."
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Naveen K.
Onboarding Specialist
"The email tracking could be more accurate, it also shows the open history of the person who sent the information, also the email tracking shows the location of the server not of the person using the request, this is something that can be improved better."

9. Help Scout - team inbox for customer support

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Best for:

Companies of all sizes, but specifically those with 11+ users.

Overview:

Help Scout is another shared inbox alternative for teams who want to focus on customers.

Help Scout's clutter-free features keep teams of any size on the same page. The platform gets you great reporting, an integrated knowledge base, tons of integrations.

You can also build an extensive library of answers to frequently asked questions using Help Scout’s knowledge base. Team members can effortlessly include these answers into their responses and provide immediate assistance to consumers with only a few clicks.

Features:

  • Shared inbox
  • Assignment and automation
  • Private notes
  • Saved replies, templates, and tagging
  • Collision detection
  • Live chat and in-app messages
  • Knowledge base

Pros:

  • Lots of integrations
  • Great reporting features
  • Good balance of helpdesk features compared to larger platforms like Zendesk

Cons:

  • Some users complain about search capabilities
  • The knowledgebase document editor could use some work

What users say:

Contributor Image
Bryan M.
Product Director
"Help Scout is easy for our team to use, helps us provide better support to our customers quicker, and is a tool that we enjoy, not only one we're forced to use."
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haley P
Marketing Communications Manager
"The only thing I do not like about Help Scout is sometimes emails received within help scout do not come in formatted correctly, but the email will be formatted correctly in other inboxes such as gmail and outlook."
Try a shared team inbox for free. No payment required.

Ready to improve your team and customer communication?

There’s plenty of worthwhile shared inbox software on the market. The trick is deciding what’s right for you and your people.

For questions, you can always meet with a MessageDesk messaging expert to discuss your team communication needs.

You’re also free to try out MessageDesk’s shared team inbox and team messaging features by starting a free trial.