Whether you own a small business or manage a customer service team, you know that better team email support is essential.
It’s essential for customer satisfaction, being a more productive team, and helping your business grow. At the same time, you want to find a solution that has simple pricing, access to all the features you need without pricey upgrades, and access to top-notch support.
So many team email management choices
The problem, of course, is that dozens of team email management tools are available today (including our own, Outpost). Features, pricing, and commitments vary. Finding the best email management software for your team can take up your valuable time, so we’d like to make it easier for you.
Let’s focus your choice on the top seven
That’s why our team has examined Outpost along with six other email management solutions.
We’re going to walk you through all seven:
While all of these services can help you manage your shared email, we think you’ll see why Outpost is the best choice if you’re looking for a simple, affordable, powerful tool that offers a team of people who are ready to help you get set up. But you don’t have to take our word for it—you can try Outpost free for 30 days and use it with your team.
Tools and features in our comparison
We’ll start with an overview of each service’s pros, cons, and who they’re a good fit for. We’ll also show you a handy comparison table, that addresses nine key features of top email management software packages:
- How many mailboxes or channels: Different packages include different numbers of inboxes, or may also have options for social networks or other contact points.
- Assignments: The ability to delegate emails to team members.
- Internal notes: Private conversation threads your recipient never sees.
- Tags: Organize emails using tags and setting priority levels.
- Templates: Save time by saving standard responses that can easily be customized and sent.
- Routing rules: Take back your time—let routing rules automatically respond with a template or assign similar messages to the right person on your team.
- Analytics: Monitor important data points to know how your team is performing and where there can be improvement.
- Mobile: How well does the service function and display across different devices, including smartphones and tablets?
- Email hosting: Can your team set up a brand new email address involving an IT team?
“Struggling with a shared inbox? Try Outpost.
It’s an easy way to organize, track, and coordinate responses to customer emails.”
(Okay, we are totally calling home team advantage and starting with Outpost, our own email management software.)
We developed Outpost to help teams of any size respond faster to increase customer satisfaction, to end the hassle of that super important email that fell into a black hole, never to be seen again, and help teams collaborate better without stepping on each other’s toes.
Outpost exists simply to make life easier for anyone who uses a shared inbox.
Setup is fast. You can connect unlimited mailboxes from any email service, including Gmail, G Suite, Office 365, and more.
Features such as assignments, notes, shared drafts, and collision alerts make it easy to see quickly which team member is responsible for each email—no more duplicate, conflicting responses…or worse, no response at all.
Saved templates let you save (customizable) answers to common questions, so you can respond in seconds or minutes, rather than hours or days.
Similar to filters in Gmail and G Suite, email routing rules reduce the time you spend on repetitive tasks, like playing traffic cop, and spending time assigning emails to the right person on the team.
Automatically assigning emails to specific team members is just the beginning.
Routing rules can also be set up to automatically reply with a saved template response, tag or star an email, mark a message read/unread, even automatically archive. Email doesn’t have to be a huge time-suck. Routing rules makes it possible to spend more time and focus on what’s most important: your customer relationships.
Real-time analytics help you track how long it takes your team members to respond to emails, so you can make better staff scheduling decisions, and even identify areas for further training so your whole team has what they need at their fingertips to take great care of your customers.
You can create as many new Outpost-hosted email addresses (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) as you want, without any additional charges to your account. You can use these email addresses to collect any type of email and collaborate on that email with your team. Creating a new inbox only takes a few seconds. Plus, you won’t have to talk to IT or get approval from anyone.
Our mobile app is coming soon, so if replying to messages on the go is essential, Outpost will be ready to support you soon. We’re also working on third-party app integrations that will make it easier to connect Outpost with other tools you’re using.
We keep Outpost simple by having only one monthly package which gives you access to all of Outpost’s features, including new features that we roll out in regular updates. Outpost also includes access to full support from our team, located in Eugene, Oregon. When you start using Outpost, a dedicated team member will be ready to help you. You’ll also have access to our Help Center, which is full of useful resources to help you get the most out of your Outpost account.
Our simple monthly subscription matches pretty closely with the basic or standard tiers for the other services mentioned in this article. Basic packages are usually a good fit for businesses and teams who are trying to find a solid solution that is sensible for the budget, while avoiding costly services and features they don’t need.
For only $14.95 per user per month, Outpost has no minimum user requirements and can be billed on a monthly basis (or 16 percent off if paid annually). It’s our way to offer great value in a hassle-free subscription.
“The shared inbox for teams
All your emails, apps, and teammates in one collaborative workspace.”
If your small team needs collaboration across team email, Front’s Starter plan can help you streamline communications across three team inboxes, manage schedules with a calendar integration, and set up to three workflow rules. However, teams using four or more collaborative inboxes, or requiring additional channels, more workflow automations and routing rules, or third-party app integrations will have to upgrade to a higher-tier plan.
Front gives you access to a shared inbox, assignments, notes, and up to 10 canned responses. Integrating Google Calendar or Office 365 Calendar can also help team members efficiently schedule meetings or check events, all while still inside the inbox.
Using Front can help streamline communications for teams who use multiple tools. However, Front’s Starter plan only includes three email inboxes. Social integrations such as Facebook Page management requires the Plus plan, and SMS integration requires an upgrade to Pro. Twitter requires a separate $20 monthly fee per Twitter account, which is available only with Plus or Pro plans. Analytics, additional reports, more automations, and API/plugins are also only available at higher tiers.
Front’s Basic plan costs $12 per user per month when billed monthly and has a maximum of 10 users (larger teams must use Plus or Pro plans, which start at $24 and $49 per user per month, respectively).
“Shared inbox for teams
All your messages—all in one place!”
ReplyManager centralizes communications for email, social channels, and third-party selling systems such as Amazon, eBay, Rakuten, or your own ecommerce website. However, social integrations such as Facebook and Twitter are available only at the highest tier, as are retail and online commerce integrations beyond Amazon and eBay. That highest tier, Enterprise, costs $79 per user per month, but the three user minimum makes the real cost $237 per month.
The Standard plan includes unlimited email channels and three Amazon or eBay accounts. You’ll also have access to analysis and reporting tools such as SLA countdowns, sales reports, and performance reports. Ecommerce fulfillment includes managing eBay returns, cases, inventory, and fulfillment.
If needing to tightly integrate email with Amazon and/or eBay sales support, ReplyManager can help keep teams from having to screen-hop from window to window. ReplyManager’s Standard plan is $35 per user per month when billed monthly. However, all ReplyManager plans require a minimum of three users, so the Standard plan’s real monthly cost begins at $105. Integrating Facebook and Twitter require upgrading to the Enterprise plan.
“The one app for all your team…social media…SMS…email…shared…personal inboxes.”
Missive’s Starter plan ties in up to five shared email, SMS, or Facebook accounts. The catch? You can access only six months worth of history or messages. (Unlimited history requires stepping up to the highest-tier Productive plan, which is $15 per user per month).
A comprehensive online Help Center walks you through Missive’s features in great detail. Email and Twitter support are also available, but at this time Missive does not offer phone support. Larger organizations can set up multiple teams based on the needs of different workgroups within the company. While Missive offers similar core tools to Outpost (such as team chats, assignments, and labels), routing rules and app integrations are available only at the highest tier.
For $10 per user per month, Missive’s Starter package has no minimum multiple user requirement. Features such as unlimited message history, routing rules, and workflow automation, though, require upgrading to a higher tier. An additional five shared email, SMS, or Facebook accounts may be added for an extra $15 per month. Integrating Twitter also requires an additional fee of $20 per month per Twitter account.
“Email collaboration for teams: Solved
Manage shared inboxes such as Support@ or Sales@ right from Gmail. Hiver’s team inboxes scale to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes.”
Hiver’s Plus Plan includes two shared inboxes for Gmail and G Suite users.
Teams can take advantage of collision alerts (to prevent duplicate replies), shared drafts, and templates. However, only higher-tier plans, starting at $27 per user per month, offer access to more shared inboxes, analytics, and automations. Priority support and dedicated service managers are also not available for Plus users.
“Turn Gmail into a help desk
Deliver better customer support from your current mailbox
No external help desk needed!”
Instead of prioritizing tools that make it easier to manage a shared inbox, Keeping focuses on incorporating a ticketing system into Gmail and G Suite. While Keeping offers some of the same tools as team email management systems—such as internal notes and templates—its focus is on helping teams deal with multiple support inquiries without a dedicated (and potentially more costly) help desk system.
Keeping routes support emails to individual team member inboxes. Team members can also track ticket status. Just because support emails are coming to team member inboxes, though, doesn’t mean those support emails are getting dumped in with other correspondence. Keeping organizes support emails into a separate support area, so team members can stay on top of both their support queues and their regular email.
Built-in templating features also help your team members save, use, and customize commonly sent responses. You’ll also be able to evaluate performance via analytics and reporting tools.
For $15 per month, Keeping’s Startup package has a twist: Instead of being priced per user, the Startup package includes three users for one shared inbox. All packages have full access to all of Keeping’s features. However, Keeping only works with Gmail.
“Google Groups makes it easy for groups of people—such as project teams, departments, or classmates—to communicate and collaborate.”
G Suite teams can rely on Google Groups for internal discussion, easy group emails (one address, no big CC or BCC lists), and document sharing. Google Groups can help teams collaborate and share in a dedicated environment that ties in with Gmail and G Suite email. Members can also organize meetings, conferences, or other events, and engage in topic-based discussions.
Supporting group discussion is not the same thing as enabling best-in-class team email though. While you can leverage your team’s Google Group for internal discussion around a collaborative inbox, there are some big downsides.
Google Groups lacks a unified dashboard for multiple team inboxes. To see which messages need replies, you’ll have to open each inbox separately. Technically team leaders can use Google Groups to assign messages to team members. But, you can only see assignments from inside each individual email.
Instead of internal notes, team members must forward emails or use separate tools. Replies route to inboxes, but there’s no way to know which team member is managing the discussion. Multiple replies can follow—a surefire way to confuse customers and degrade service.
For $6 per user per month, Google’s G Suite Basic package gives access to video and voice conferencing, team messaging, shared calendars, and document sharing. While you can store files in the cloud, each account is limited to 30GB.
Your team inbox, perfected
The team email management solution you need is out there—and there’s a good chance it’s one of the seven on this list.
A growing number of companies find Outpost to be an easy-to-set-up, user-friendly shared inbox that improves response rates, customer satisfaction, and sales. Customers also tell us they love Outpost’s dedicated support, unlimited mailboxes, lack of distractions, and straightforward, simple pricing.
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Posted in Email