Ah, shared mailboxes! The glue that binds sales teams together in a modern-day office. Shared mailboxes also called shared inboxes are a perfect remedy for messy team communication.
With a well-managed shared inbox, team members can access relevant information, easily track conversations, delegate tasks, and work around absences and technical issues like a ninja. That being said, managing shared inboxes is no piece of cake.
A recent study suggests that an average employee spends 20% of their time reading and replying to emails. That’s much valuable time lost to ineffective communication. By utilising shared inboxes effectively, you can streamline team communication, save time, and improve your team’s productivity.
While shared inboxes are present in almost every organisation, not everyone knows how to make use of it in the best way possible. This article will equip you with the fundamental techniques to manage shared inboxes effectively. You will be able to perform delegation, schedule conversations and monitor them, deal with any issues and ultimately create a positive environment in your team, building on mutual trust and transparency.
Here are 7 Tips to Manage Your Shared Inbox
1. Assign Responsibility
In an ideal world, your team would work together to manage the shared inbox, picking and choosing the queries they can best handle and resolving them easily. But things can quickly spiral out of control unless your team has a telepathic connection or shares a hive mind.
Chaos is inevitable without a clear understanding of who should attend to which emails. It’s like a game of hot potato, where everyone passes the responsibility to the next person until the inbox explodes like a bag of popcorn.
That’s why sales managers must step in and assign responsibility for specific mailboxes or queries to individual staff members. It’s not about micromanaging; but about establishing order and accountability.
Were you ever on the other side of customer service? Didn’t you wish for a speedy redressal of your problem? Well, so do 60% of all customers who want their problem to be solved within half an hour. That’s a tall order, especially if your inbox is messy. Assigning ownership to specific queries can ensure prompt responses and keep your customers happy.
2. Monitor Shared Inbox Like A Boss.
Did you know that 44% of employees check their email every 15 minutes or less? That’s much time spent studying and rechecking the inbox, which could be better spent on actual work.
Sales managers need a system outside of the inbox that can handle the task. It could be as simple as tracking conversations on a piece of paper, but it should allow you to track every move your team makes with each message.
Implementing such a system will be like giving your team a backstage pass to the inbox show. They’ll be able to see that their inbox is not a catch-all for organising their work but rather a tool for communication. And once they realise that more productive ways of managing tasks exist, they can use the shared inbox more effectively.
By monitoring the inbox outside of the inbox, you can help your team break free from the email trap and be more productive.
3. Remember to Reply
Let’s face it; unanswered emails are like dirty dishes in the sink: they pile up fast and can cause a real mess. And just like those dirty dishes, ignoring emails can lead to severe consequences for your business. Make it a habit to end every day or week by double-checking if all emails have been replied to by your team.
It’s not as hard as you might think. 86% of office workers still consider email as their favourite mode of business communication. So, chances are, your team is already pretty good at email communication.
An easy thing to do here is to set up automatic responses for your emails. You might have seen many companies doing that because such emails inform clients or customers that their query has been received and will be dealt with.
If you don’t want to do it on your own, make use of technology. There is ample of software that assists with anything and everything you want with your emails. Auto sorting tools will even eliminate the need for you to use email filters.
So, don’t let those unanswered emails pile up like dirty dishes. Take control of your inbox, respond promptly to every message, and watch as your business thrives.
4. Label Your Emails
Labels are like folders on other email platforms – they’re just called something different in Gmail. Listen to Shakespeare and just ignore the name and focus on the utility of the feature. Labelling your emails can help you categorise them as per their type and also assign them to the concerned person.
You don’t have to search through your entire inbox to find a critical email from a client – check the label, and there it is. The utility of labels however is not limited to mere categorisation. You can do a lot more with them if you put in a little work. A good example would be categorising different queries. This way you’ll know if you are getting the same query a lot of times.
Therefore, don’t shy away from using labels. They are not meant for kids, but for anyone who knows how to use them to increase their productivity.
5. Prioritise Security
Sharing login credentials for a shared inbox risks your organisation’s security. So, be smart and allot each team member unique login credentials. Not only does this increase security, but it also allows you to monitor how team members are using the inbox.
In addition to proper login credentials, encryption is crucial for handling business emails. Make use of public key encryption which lets your email server send encrypted messages which are incomprehensible to the naked eye. This increases the difficulty levels for hackers to understand and use data against you. Think of yourself as the spy protecting your country’s secrets using encryption.
So, take the time to protect your shared inbox adequately and keep your organisation safe from potential security breaches.
6. Examine Your Messages
The best way to learn is to look at your past work. This could work here too, by examining the messages by your team, you can make a plan to guide them better. A closer look at the shared messages will allow you to not only spot mistakes but also assess productivity.
Like, if you see that your team is spending more time on one problem as compared to others Or specific topics generate many back-and-forths, indicating a need for more transparent communication or standardised procedures.
To get started, you can create a spreadsheet or use specialised software to track and analyse your email data. By regularly reviewing these reports, you can identify trends and make informed decisions about optimising your shared inbox for maximum efficiency.
7. Following Up Is Key
While it’s true that these inboxes are great for managing client enquiries or complaints, they can also help you build stronger relationships with your team.
An easy way to do this is by following up and scheduling follow-up emails for any feedback you might receive from team members. It must be done as soon as you resolve a problem, this will ensure that your team knows that you care about their opinions. Also, you can make any changes if required as per the feedback.
You must also keep in mind that shared inboxes are an invaluable tool for inter-group collaboration. Any team can make the most out of it by using the tool for delegation and circulation of information. This will ensure that there’s no miscommunication and also a record of communications will be maintained, unlike in the case of verbal communication.
8. Measure Performance
The shared mailbox enables team leaders to effectively track team performance, monitor the sales cycle, and review interactions with prospects. It enhances transparency within the team, fostering a competitive edge among Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) by providing visibility into deals in the sales pipeline.
A shared inbox can improve the productivity of a team but without establishing proper usage guidelines it won’t go too far.
This can include assigning responsibility for different queries to set up automated responses and encryption for handling sensitive information.
Embrace shared inbox tools as a valuable means for building relationships and improving collaboration within your team!
A Final Word
Let’s face it, managing a shared inbox tool can be challenging – at least in the beginning. However, with the right processes and tools in place, using a shared inbox can be a breeze.
By implementing organisation tools like labels (or folders, if you’re not a Gmail user), you can quickly sort emails based on their purpose and assign responsibility to the appropriate team member. Plus, it’s not just about avoiding chaos – by tracking the volume of queries, you can identify areas where your team may need more support or resources.
But what about security? Opt for a system that allows multiple accounts to access the same inbox while keeping each team member’s credentials secure. And don’t forget about encryption – protecting your business emails with encryption can prevent hackers from accessing sensitive information.
Finally, by analysing the messages you receive and creating reports, you can identify areas where your team could improve and adjust accordingly. Plus, it’s not just about managing complaints – follow-up emails with your team after resolving an issue can strengthen relationships and provide valuable learning opportunities.