Shared Inbox vs Email Helpdesk

Shared Inbox vs Email Help Desk: What’s best for your team?

Are you looking to improve the support experience for incoming email requests? Or do you already use a shared inbox and looking for a switch? This article is for you.

For starters, let’s talk about why Shared Inboxes are beneficial.

Shared inboxes are great for small teams

If you have 3 to 5 team members handling say less than 30 new email requests per week, shared inboxes are ideal for you. This is because shared mailboxes come with very minimal configuration. They are also almost always inexpensive.

Shared inboxes can work for most departments

Be it an HR team, IT team, Accounts payable or a Customer Support team, you have the flexibility to collaborate using shared inboxes. They are generic and also fit into most use cases of client communication.

However, it becomes challenging as soon as your team grows and the inflow of emails increase, to keep these conversations just within shared inboxes. Here are some indicators for when you must consider a Help Desk software over a Shared inbox setup.

When to consider Email Help Desk over Shared Inbox

There is no ownership of Emails

Whether you are using Google’s Gmail or Microsoft Outlook for your email account, the lack of clear assignment of ownership is a big let down in Shared inboxes.

Agent collision: This is when multiple agents start working on the same email conversation and sometimes even replying redundantly. 

Orphaned emails: Emails that no one picks up, as there is no accountability. Clear ownership of emails is critical and help desk software offers automatic and manual assignments to ensure even distribution of workload.

Shared Inbox is cluttered with all request types flowing into one place

For efficient email management, it is important to categorize your incoming emails and neatly shelve support, sales and marketing emails. Help Desk and ticketing software allow you to create Categories to organize your emails and designate the right people for each category.

Internal collaborations are offline and undocumented

Resolving queries need contextual intermediate communications within the team where shared inboxes fail, as it is impossible to have branched conversations on the same email thread. To improve team collaboration, help desks provide Private notes. These are internal notes on a ticket that allows you to escalate, collaborate, and follow up within the same ticket.

HappyFox also has a task management module within a ticket where you can create tasks and assign agents to track them.

Task Management for Shared Inbox in HappyFox. Screenshot shows how you can create and assign tasks in HappyFox
Task Management for Shared Inbox in HappyFox

You’re unable to measure your team’s performance

To run an efficient system, it’s important to identify bottlenecks. Reporting on Inflow, response time, resolution time, and end-user satisfaction are innate to help desk software. HappyFox offers live and advanced reports out-of-the-box. You can also customize, export and schedule HappyFox Reports.

You’re doing a lot of manual work

Although some email clients allow you to create email templates, they are not intuitive and neatly organized based on context. However, you can create Canned actions in HappyFox for repeated replies. Additionally, you can also perform actions along with replies, all in one go. You can also automate frequent actions using Smart Rules.


In conclusion, shared inboxes act as a good short term solution. However, as the stakes increase, in order to reach inbox zero, the need for an email help desk becomes inevitable to maintain accountability and retain customer satisfaction. Contrary to popular belief, you just need 30 mins to get set up, gain control over your team’s business interactions and improve your ROI. Take HappyFox for a spin now.