A shared mailbox confers many benefits. But, switching over to using one, and getting it set up for your needs can still pose some challenges. Fortunately, teams thrive if you implement best practices when you’re using a shared mailbox.
Some of these practices work best when you are first establishing your shared mailboxes. Others promote effective workflows as you build out email workflows. As your company grows, what it needs from its email services will change.
Here are seven things companies can do to get the most from their shared inboxes. Each strategy can accelerate email workflow or improve the quality of email work. Often, it does both.
1. Create Accountability Rules
Shared mailboxes emphasize the success of the team or the department. But this success stems from each individual’s choices, and approach to their work.
It’s important to develop methods to hold team members accountable for mistakes. A good system can also highlight their successes.
Accountability starts when you onboard new team members. How should they choose email tasks to take care of first? Or who on the team will be responsible for answering which emails?
In order to help all team members have a shared understanding clearly define the employees’ roles. Then, clarify what it means in the context of a shared mailbox.
Accountability rules outline processes for dealing with tasks. How should team members check one another’s work without getting in each others’ way?
Accountability shouldn’t disrupt the collaborative team spirit.
2. Record Processes and Make Templates
Most teams find themselves addressing similar issues repeatedly. Within a shared inbox, you can analyze repeated problems. Then, you can note the solutions that worked best.
Record these best practices. Note which resources the successful responses used.
You can even make templates for common email responses.
3. Integrate Automation
Some recurring issues aren’t about email content. Instead, they stem from the tedious minutiae inherent to email tasks.
With a shared inbox, a team member might discover which small tasks take up disproportionate time. With metrics, gain more insight, to see which types of tasks take the longest to complete. Afterwards, you might automate that process.
Automation is already used in many sales and marketing processes. Different programs automate data entry. Others automate the process of aligning email responses to triggers in a drip campaign.
4. Establish Useful Folders and Labels
Shared mailboxes offer many folder and label options. Folders let teams categorize emails by content. They can also divide emails by task type.
Effective organization lets members batch emails. Task batching improves focus. Focus sharpens when a person’s mind doesn’t have to switch gears to address different topics.
Task batching, and subsequent intense focus, isn’t the only benefit from folders. Usable folders and labels make quick prioritization decisions easy.
What makes folder labels and structures useful? Labels should be direct and concise. And, many teams prefer “tree” structures that organize content broadly, and then narrow down to specifics.
Team members should agree on a folder system that makes sense for them. With this agreement, it’s easier to stick to the system. It also keeps everyone on the same page.
5. Prioritize Security
To make a shared mailbox work, it must be secure. A shared mailbox often carries high-value data. Set clear rules about access.
Prohibit shared mailbox access if a user logs on via insecure Wi-Fi. Implement routine password rotation. Limit permissions to trustworthy team members.
Does email content need to be check over before being sent out. An approval process for email sending can ensure that no information is sent out before the proper eyes have confirmed the content of the email an appropriate response. This can allow anyone to formulate a response, but the ultimate choice to send it given to someone else.
Also, always be sure to revoke permissions immediately when a team member leaves. Also consider whether the user has access to the email account associated with the shared mailbox, if that’s the case change the shared mailbox password as well.
Be clear about which types of emails the shared mailbox is for. Prevent cyberattacks and malware with effective, highly-rated software. Get recommendations from security experts.
6. Track Productivity with Smart Metrics
Is the shared mailbox working well for your team? Determine how you’ll answer that question before you set it up.
What are your team’s goals? How will a shared mailbox meet them better?
To answer these questions, choose the right metrics. Evaluate customer support efforts with tools like a Customer Satisfaction Score rubric.
Or, track increased productivity by measuring response times. Feed other measures into a labor productivity formula.
The right metrics can make your shared mailbox strategy a success. They also can help drive the troubleshooting process when things go poorly.
7. Aim for Inbox Zero
Inbox zero means your team got everything done.
When the shared inbox hits zero, teams feel a sense of accomplishment. Strategize and prioritize to make that happen.
The sense of accomplishment cultivates internal motivation in a team. Yet, that’s not the only reason inbox zero is a great goal.
Inbox zero means you haven’t left anyone hanging.
When a customer feels pushed aside, the relationship degrades. When collaborators on other teams see their messages go unread, resentment can build. Ignoring emails can destroy critical work relationships.
Inbox zero means everyone gets heard. With the right tools, that’s an attainable goal.
Shared mailboxes have been around for a while now, and they’ve become an essential part of many people’s work lives. And with good reason! They’re efficient and easy to use, which makes them perfect for sharing tasks among team members or collaborating on projects. The only downside? Sometimes you need more than just the basic shared mailbox functionality. We’ve given you some practical ways to get more out of your shared mailboxes. Now it’s time for you to try our solution and see how we can make email enjoyable again. Sign up today!