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.
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:
Read on for more.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Scheduling and automation are time-saving features that break down into two categories.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Teams who use SMS text messages to communicate with contacts, customers, co-workers, and teammates.
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. 🤷
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.
Businesses that need to unify email conversations, text, chat, and more into a CRM-like experience to provide superior customer service.
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.
Medium to large-scale teams that sell and support a digital product by connecting with contacts through their website or app.
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.
Small to medium-sized organizations that already use Zoho and a group email address to handle communication.
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.
Support, sales, finance, and HR teams who focus exclusively on customer support and service with NPS and CSAT surveys.
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.
Small to medium-sized businesses and organizations that need a lot of inbox features.
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.
Teams who run support and help processes exclusively in Gmail.
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.
Sales teams who need a collaborative way to connect with customers.
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.
Companies of all sizes, but specifically those with 11+ users.
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.
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.
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