Vik Chaudhary
Oct 26, 2018 · 12 min read

Shared mailboxes–such as info@company.com, sales@company.com or support@company.com make it easy for your customers to contact you. While it’s easy to set up these shared mailboxes on G Suite or Office 365, operating out of an email interface for teams to review and respond is difficult and outdated. With the introduction of modern collaboration apps like Slack and Asana, managing your shared mailbox can now be more team friendly. This comprehensive guide from Dossier (www.dossier.work) shows you how to set up a shared mailbox from scratch and manage incoming requests directly from Slack or Asana.

Managing your team’s shared mailboxes

SShared mailboxes–ex. info@company.com, sales@company.com, support@company.com — make it easy for your customers to contact you. They allow you to keep all your customer requests organized in one place. For your customers, these email addresses are easy to remember and each department can have their own mailbox, making it fast and cost-effective to set up an incoming channel to listen to and engage with customers.

If you use Google G Suite or Microsoft Office 365 for your business, setting up a Shared Mailbox can be very easy, or very confusing. This is a practical guide to setting up a Shared Mailbox, and outlines four solutions to this age-old problem of a team managing all incoming customer email:

  1. Sharing an Email Inbox with Your Team
  2. Google Groups and Outlook Shared Mailboxes
  3. Shared Mailboxes in Asana
  4. Shared Mailboxes in Slack
  5. Google Groups Mailboxes in Asana and Slack

While shared inboxes are easy to set up in Google G Suite or Microsoft Outlook, they keep us mostly in email, or an email-like interface, which is very 20th century. With email, there is no assignment, owners, internal collaboration, or due dates, for instance. However, our modern customer service ethos means that we must apply these concepts to incoming email.

With the introduction of new collaborative platforms like Slack and Asana, there is a faster, more collaborative way to manage shared mailboxes. In this Guide, we will first walk you through setting up a mailbox and then syncing emails to a collaboration platform of your choice.

Sharing an Email Inbox with Your Team

TThe quickest and easiest setup is to create an email account that is shared by an entire team, and where each team member has to login to this email account, in addition to their own, personal email account. It allows you to have a fully functional email inbox, that only contains requests to that email address, it requires very little training as your team is already familiar with this email environment.

If you choose to set up a shared email account, all you need to do is add a new user using your Gmail or Outlook admin portal. Then, each team member logs in with this shared email account, ex. support@company.com, and individually responds to the customer requests. However, If team members are in different cities or time zones, Google and Microsoft will think that these simultaneous logins are fraudulent access attempts, and either block access or require further authentication. If you have more than 2–3 people on your team, it becomes cumbersome to share logins and passwords, and deal with security challenge questions. For these reasons, this is not a hassle-free method to manage incoming requests to shared inboxes.

This is how you can create a new shared email account with G Suite or Office 365.

Creating a Shared email account with G Suite

  1. Log into your G Suite admin console at http://admin.google.com/
  2. From the Dashboard click Users
  3. Use the “+” button on the top left
  4. Click Add new users
  5. Enter a First Name, Last name and Email for the mailbox
  6. Ensure that the “Automatically generate a password” option is off
  7. Enter a password (you will have to share this with your team)
  8. Ensure the “Ask for a password change at the next sign-in” is off

Creating a Shared email account with Office 365

  1. Log into your Microsoft 365 admin center at https://admin.microsoft.com/
  2. From the left sidebar click Users > Active Users
  3. Click the + Add a User on the top left
  4. Enter a First Name, Display name, and Email for the new user
  5. Under the Password section, choose the “Let me create the password” option
  6. Enter a password (you will have to share this with your team)
  7. Ensure the “Make this user change their password when they first sign in” is off

Google Groups and Outlook Shared Mailboxes

AA Google Group Mailbox or Outlook shared mailbox is another innovative solution that solves many of the problems with a shared email account. Emails sent to the shared inbox address appear in each team members personal email inbox, further reducing the chances of a request being missed. After all, since every team member on the list gets copied on the email, someone is likely to see it. Or, are they? Lack of tools like assignments means that there is no accountability for incoming email requests, and requests may languish in mailboxes without a system to manage what’s open, closed, or needs reassignment.

Creating a Shared email account with G Suite

Creating a Group mailbox

  1. Login to your G Suite admin console at http://admin.google.com/
  2. Expand the left menu (using the button on the top left corner)
  3. Click Directory > Groups
  4. Use the Add button the “+” on the bottom right
  5. Enter a Group Name and Email address, ex: support@company.com
  6. For Access level select Public
  7. Click Create

Adding members to Group

  1. In the Group details click Manage users
  2. Add team members who will receive emails coming to this address and click Add

Allowing people outside your organization to email the group address

  1. Navigate back to the Group settings
  2. And click Access settings
  3. From the left sidebar choose Permissions > Posting permissions
  4. Under Post choose all options (including Anyone on the web)
  5. Click the blue Save button

Shared Mailboxes in Asana

AAsana is a task management tool that focuses on collaboration to help you and your team efficiently complete tasks. You can assign tasks, set due dates, comment, discuss internally and attach files within each task, so every team member always knows what to work on. When you get all incoming email into Asana, it becomes the perfect management app for your shared mailboxes.

Manage all mailbox email using Asana’s assignable, organized tasks

Syncing emails into Asana requires you to use either Asana’s email sync, or one of the Asana add-ons that the company recommends in their documentation. Dossier, available on the Asana app store, is recommended by Asana. This guide shows you how to setup Dossier to sync emails to Asana, but you can use any email sync option you prefer.

Here, we will show you how to setup Asana with Dossier, so you can use Asana to manage shared inboxes. Teams can easily track incoming requests without duplication or clutter in their own personal email inboxes. They only have to log in to one place to manage all communications–Asana. By connecting Dossier to Asana, all updates to Asana tasks are synchronized with your G Suite (Gmail), Office 365 (Outlook) or Microsoft Exchange email inboxes.

Create an email account for the shared mailbox

Create an email account for your shared mailbox following the steps in the Sharing an Email Inbox with Your Team section. Note that this is an actual, licensed email account at your domain, and not an alias or group. We recommend this technique.

Create an Asana account for your mailbox

  1. Login to your own Asana account or create one at https://www.asana.com.
  2. In the left side-bar, Click the “+” button next to your Asana team.
  3. Choose Add Project.
  4. Create a Public Project where emails sent to your mailbox will appear (eg. Support Requests).
  5. In the left side-bar, Click the “+” button next to your Asana team.
  6. Choose Invite People.
  7. In the field for Invite More Members enter the shared email address, ex. support@company.com.
  8. Click Send Invite
  9. Login to the shared email account and open the signup email from Asana
  10. Click the button and sign up for Asana as the shared email account

Create a Dossier account for your mailbox

  1. Read the section in Dossier’s help docs Create a Dossier account for your mailbox. Once you’ve signed up for Dossier, then,
  2. Dossier syncs your inbox and create Asana tasks for emails from the last 30 days. These emails will be added to the Asana projects that you specified.

Using Asana to manage incoming emails

Now that you have all your emails in Asana, you can manage all requests directly from Asana.

Shared Mailboxes in Slack

SSlack is a collaboration tool that helps you better communicate with people within your organization. With channels to organize communications, Slack is an organized messenger for all your internal messages. confusing, long, threaded team emails within your team that clutter your inbox. With Dossier, you can also use Slack’s power, ease of use, and multi-platform availability, to manage your mailbox requests. You can collaborate with your team, assign tasks and even reply to the sender, directly from Slack!

Manage email requests coming into your mailbox in Slack

Create an email account for the shared address

Create an email account for your shared mailbox following the steps in the Sharing an Email Inbox with Your Team section.

Creating a Slack account for your mailbox

  1. Login to a Slack admin account or create one at https://www.slack.com.
  2. Click your Workspace name (top left) > Administration > Manage members.
  3. Click the green Invite People button.
  4. Choose Full Member.
  5. Enter the name and email address for your mailbox, ex: support@company.com.
  6. Click Send Invitations.
  7. Login to the shared email account and open the signup email from Slack.
  8. Click the button and sign up for Slack as the shared email account.

Create a Dossier account for your mailbox

  1. Read the section in Dossier’s help docs Create a Dossier account for your mailbox. Once you’ve signed up for Dossier, then,
  2. Dossier will now sync emails in your inbox from the last 30 days to a new Slack channel.

When emails are published to Slack channels, they can be assigned to team members and replied to directly from Slack.

Google Groups Mailboxes in Asana and Slack

CCompanies often use Google Groups to create incoming email inboxes. A sales@company.com email address is the external identity of a group called “Sales Inquiries” composed of salespersons who will be responding to incoming emails. Emails sent to this group usually get sent to every salesperson, and managing any volume of email is challenging. Instead of using your Gmail inbox to respond to incoming emails sent to a group, you can send these emails to Asana or Slack, and assign, manage and respond to the emails there.

Dossier intelligently recognizes shared mailboxes that are connected to Google Groups. All you need to do to sync group mailbox emails is connect the Gmail account of any member of the group to Dossier. Once connected, you can sync incoming emails to a Dossier Feed, an Asana project or a Slack channel — and manage your mailbox from a modern, yet familiar interface. You and your team can reply to customers, discuss requests internally, assign requests to an owner, set timelines and close requests once they are complete.

All requests sent to your group mailbox are seen in Asana as tasks
Requests sent to the group mailbox can be managed directly from a Slack channel

Creating your Google Groups mailbox

Create a Google Group email address for your shared mailbox following the steps in the Google Groups and Outlook Shared Mailboxes section. Since this email is not a fully licensed Gmail user, emails sent to this account will be seen in your own email inbox.

Create an Asana project for your mailbox emails

  1. Login to your Asana account or create one at www.asana.com.
  2. In the left side-bar, Click the “+” button next to your Asana team.
  3. Choose Add Project.
  4. Create a Public Project where emails sent to your mailbox will appear (ex. Sales Inquiries).

Creating your Dossier account and syncing your mailbox

  1. Read the section in Dossier’s help docs Create a Dossier account for your mailbox. Once you’ve signed up for Dossier, then,
  2. Dossier will now sync your inbox for emails from the last 30 days, including any emails to the Google Groups email.

Syncing your Google Groups emails to Asana

  1. In the Dossier portal, click your Profile picture (top right) > My Account > Apps
  2. Connect your Asana account and click Save
  3. Open the Feed settings for the Google Groups mailbox by clicking the pencil icon next to the feed for the mailbox (it will be named with the email address of the group).

4. Change the Workspace type from Team to Customer.

5. Turn Asana sync on for the Group Mailbox and choose the “Sales Inquiries” Asana project you had created earlier.

6. Subsequent emails sent to your Google Groups address will sync as tasks to the Asana project you selected above (in this case the “Sales Inquiries” project)

Syncing your Google Groups emails to Slack

  1. In the Dossier Portal, open the Apps section (left sidebar)
  2. Connect your Slack account using the blue Connect button
  3. Now, Click the Setting button to open Slack settings

4. From the list of Feeds displayed, find your Google Groups mailbox (it will be named as the email address of the Google Group)

5. Pick Create a New Channel in the adjacent field

6. Click Save

7. Subsequent emails sent to your Google Groups address will sync to the new Slack channel (named with the email address of the Google Group)

You can now manage and respond to requests sent to your Google Groups shared mailbox in modern apps like Dossier, Slack and Asana. Inflated inboxes, missed requests, and the inability to track and assign emails are all in the past! Welcome to the 21st century way to manage your Google Groups mailbox–in Dossier, Asana or Slack.

SSlack, Asana, and Dossier all have free editions of their products. Very soon, you will reach the limitations that the free editions have, but it will be long enough for you to try the techniques above. G Suite and Office 365 are not free apps, and you will pay approximately $5/mo for each email account. Here is where you can download and sign up for these apps:

www.dossier.work
www.slack.com
www.asana.com

In summary, you can share Gmail or Outlook accounts to setup a single mailbox and have your team members share these accounts. Alternatively, you can manage these emails in Dossier, Slack or Asana where you can collaborate with your team more efficiently to review and respond to customer inquiries. Let’s get to a better place with managing incoming emails!

Dossier

An App to Organize Customer Conversations

Vik Chaudhary

Written by

Dossier CEO — Talk to customers at https://www.dossier.work

Dossier

Dossier

An App to Organize Customer Conversations

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