There are many advantages to email: It’s easy to use, simple to implement, affordable to manage, and accessible to (nearly) everyone. Shared email gives teams one simple channel for solving a stream of issues.
However, it's notoriously difficult to wrangle a shared Gmail or Outlook mailbox. Emails slip through the cracks, teams accidentally send out multiple responses, and everyone lacks the context they need to solve ongoing problems.
The best team email management software magnifies the strengths of email while also solving some of the problems caused by a shared mailbox, improving team collaboration and optimizing the customer experience.
What is team email management software?
Team email management software is a tool that helps teams manage, sort, organize, and send email. Team email management tools are mainly focused on incoming emails from customers — one-to-one interactions — instead of sending emails to large lists of people.
The 8 best team email management software
In order to create a great customer experience through email, you need access to the right tools. Since email management is a pretty broad category, we put together a list of eight team email management tools that cover a number of different use cases.
1. Help Scout
Best team email management software for customer service.
Help Scout is team email management software built specifically to help customer service teams deliver a great customer experience. With Help Scout you get access to powerful collaboration tools to keep everyone informed and eliminate duplicate work.
Stay organized as you scale with mailboxes, tags, and assignments
Help Scout's mailboxes, tags, and assignments can help your team keep things organized:
Mailboxes: Mailboxes sort customer conversations across teams, brands, products, and email accounts, which is especially helpful if your team is responsible for multiple email addresses.
Tags: Categorize emails by topic or type of issue with tags. These visual indicators help you track different conversations — and they enable topic-specific reporting, too.
Assignments: Assign conversations to users through a simple drop-down menu. The user sees all of their assignments in a “mine” folder. You can also search by assignee to see what a specific team member is working on any given day.
Automate routine tasks with workflows
Instead of manually organizing your email queue, you can set up automated workflows to assign requests to the appropriate team members, prioritize urgent requests, move requests to different folders, and more.
These workflows free up your team to focus on helping humans rather than powering through an administrative slog.
Collect customer feedback with satisfaction ratings
Help Scout offers the option to include customer satisfaction surveys at the end of each support email your team sends. You can adjust the language and visuals in emails and on the collection page. There’s also the option of including a space for comments.
With this capability, you benefit from capturing the real thoughts and feelings of the people you communicate with every day.
Bring efficiency to the queue with context
Customer profiles in Help Scout's sidebar show you previous conversations between your team and a customer, which company the customer works for, the type of account they’re on, and other basic information to help interactions go smoothly and limit hassle for both customers and agents alike.
To pull in more information, teams can leverage integrations or a custom app built through Help Scout’s API. With each data point, you have more context for a response that addresses the needs of the person sending you an email, no matter the circumstance.
Collaborate behind the scenes with notes, saved replies, and collision detection
With Help Scout, you can tag colleagues in notes that are only viewable by internal team members. There’s no toggling back and forth between different tools and no chance someone outside of your team can see your notes.
Team members can also create saved replies for routine requests. That way, they’re not starting from scratch every time they respond to a customer — saving time for agents and giving customers quicker responses.
You can also see who is responding in real time to avoid collisions or repeat responses; simple red and yellow markers show who is responding to a conversation. Even if you miss those signals, collision detection prevents team members from sending out an email to someone who already received a response.
Best of all, email management software is just one of the entire suite of customer service tools you get access to when signing up for Help Scout. A couple other notable tools are Docs, which allows you to build out a knowledge base, and Beacon, which lets you provide live chat and send proactive messages.
Price: Starting at $20/user per month.
Best team email management software for Gmail users.
Many of the tools on this list are standalone offerings, but Hiver is a little different. Basically, it acts as an extension to an existing Gmail account. You’re able to assign emails to specific agents and add notes — all things you can’t do from a standard Gmail account.
There are also task automation and analytics features, but it should be noted that many of the more advanced features are only offered on their higher-cost plans.
Price: Starting at $12/user per month.
Best team email management software for Outlook users.
Emailigistics is similar to Hiver, but instead of working with Gmail, it’s an overlay for Outlook. It provides similar functionality and light collaboration features such as notes and assigning capabilities.
You’re also able to do some automations like routing emails to specific people based on certain conditions to improve productivity and response times. Rounding things out, they offer access to analytics to see how your team is performing, though this is only offered on their higher-cost plan.
Price: Starting at $10/user per month.
Best team email management software for combining personal and team email.
Email management software is often used to manage a group email address (i.e.,
email@example.com). However, if your team wants to use both personal and shared email addresses to interact with customers, Front could be a great option.
Front offers some collaborative features like internal comments, and they also have more advanced features like analytics and automation on their higher-cost plans.
Price: Starting at $19/person per month.
Best team email management software for ecommerce.
eDesk is email management software with a focus on ecommerce teams. They have a number of integrations that let you connect with sites like Shopify, eBay, and Amazon. Instead of looking at multiple channels, you’re able to have all those messages in one central inbox.
You’re also able to process refunds and returns for eBay orders directly from eDesk, which can be a huge time saver if you do a lot of business on that platform. Beyond that, eDesk offers some more standard features like internal notes, reports, and collision detection – though some of those are only offered on their higher-cost plans.
Price: Starting at $69/agent per month.
6. HubSpot Service Hub
Best team email management software for teams using HubSpot CRM.
HubSpot is best known for their CRM tool, but they also offer an email management tool called Service Hub. It offers basic functionality like email sorting, assignment capabilities, and the ability to add internal notes.
As a standalone tool, there isn’t much differentiating it from other entries on the list. That said, if you use HubSpot CRM, you’re able to directly integrate customer profiles, giving additional context to your conversations.
Price: Free plan available. Paid plans starting at $45/month.
Best team email management software for social media.
Helpwise is a shared inbox tool that covers an impressive number of channels. It offers basic features like internal notes and ticket assignments, and it includes collision detection to help reduce duplicate replies and save time for your team.
You’re also able to automate routine tasks like ticket assignments and give quick answers to standard questions using saved replies. However, both of those features do have limits on their base plan, which could be a hindrance for some teams.
Price: Starting at $20/user per month.
Best team email management software for project management teams.
Missive is somewhat of a blend of two tools: email and project management. You have the expected functionality of other email management software, like email sorting and assigning, as well some basic automations and reporting capabilities.
Along with that, you’re also able to create and assign tasks to different users. One quirk of Missive is that their base paid plan has a six-month history limit (the free plan has a 15-day history limit), meaning you can’t see any messages more than six months old.
Price: Free plan available. Paid plans starting at $13/user per month.
Tips for choosing the best team email management software
Knowing which options are available and the key features to look for is a great starting point when searching for email management software. But it’s only a start; in order to find the best fit for your team, you’ll need to take a few more steps.
Involve your team in the process
The best people to help you select a team email management system are your team members. They’re the ones with their hands on the wheel every day, and leaving them out sets a bad precedent.
If you select a system that doesn’t align with your customers or their pain points, your team members are a lot less likely to go all-in on the change.
Approach the selection process as a leadership opportunity for at least one full-time individual contributor and one manager. This small group will play an important role in shaping the team’s approach moving forward; make sure they’re excited about the chance to contribute to positive change.
Understand the weaknesses of your current system
Send out a survey to your team asking where your current system is failing to meet your team's and customers' needs. Make sure to go through any big-picture takeaways from their responses as a group to make sure you understand their greatest insights.
Here are some possible questions to explore:
What do customers complain about most?
If a customer writes in with an ongoing support issue, what’s your process for understanding past communications?
Are you happy with the current customer response time?
Do you know how many issues you resolve every day?
Do you have the permission and capability to turn around a bad customer experience (give refunds, etc.)?
How do you measure your own performance every day?
If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?
How often do customers write in saying an issue still hasn’t been resolved?
All of these details set the foundation for you to understand how a new tool can fit in within the larger context of your customer support strategy.
Think beyond how you use the tool today
Beyond the team and customer experience, you’ll also want to consider how email management software can also help your larger organization fulfill a brand promise, align with a company’s values, and empower leadership with powerful business insights.
When you’re considering different options, think big, and imagine how a team email management tool could transform your organization from the top down.
Test solutions that align with your needs
Using the key priorities your team has already identified, narrow down the list of potential customer service email management solutions to a handful of options.
From there, set aside time to test them all. Ask the team members you appointed to use the software the way they would every day. Run reports, create saved replies, assign conversations to team members, and respond to customers about ongoing issues to see how the history appears within the software.
As simple as it is to select the software with the most bells and whistles, take the time to hone in on the options that make it easiest to serve your customers’ needs while aligning with your values.
Most of all, consider the solution that has the same level of support that you aspire to give your customers. Reach out to their support often and see how well it works on their end; if they don’t live up to your expectations, their software won’t either.
Improve your customer experience
When teams struggle to stay on top of emails, your community can tell. Rather than let the fluctuating state of your inbox dictate the experience of your organization, invest in a tool that ensures people receive the help they need every day. Your team members will be happier, and your customers will be, too.