Shared Inbox vs Email Helpdesk

Shared Inbox vs Email Helpdesk: 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 a 3 to 5 member team handling say < 30 incoming requests per week, shared inboxes are ideal for you. This is because shared inboxes 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.

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 an Email helpdesk over a Shared inbox.

When to consider Email Helpdesk over Shared Inbox:

There is no ownership of Emails:

Lack of clear ownership is a let down in Shared inboxes.

Agent collision: This leads to multiple agents working on the same emails 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 helpdesk 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 software allows 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. Helpdesks provide Private notes that allow you to escalate & collaborate 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, Performance and End-user satisfaction out-of-the-box is innate to Helpdesk Softwares. HappyFox offers live and advanced reports. You can also customize, export and schedule HappyFox reports.

You’re doing a lot of manual work:

Although some mail providers 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, the need for an Email helpdesk 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.