How to use a helpdesk for better shared email

February 6, 2015 — Simon Kelly

How to use a helpdesk for better shared email

Using a shared email with your team helps to keep everyone in the loop, but how do you know someone has actioned the email? Who is meant to reply? If you are already using a helpdesk then give your team a high five! If not, curse your team and tell them to read this. Let’s look at how using a shared helpdesk can make sure the emails that are meant for your team are not just read, but assigned to a team member and actioned.

Why a shared email address?

If you’ve already got one, the answers will be clear. You need:

  • your team to see orders made on your ecommerce store
  • your team to respond to sales enquiries
  • your team to respond to customer support issues
  • someone to handle things in the unlikely event that you might want some time off

Most of the time the shared email is just that – an email address that is shared. Something like [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]. Multiple people can access the email, respond and do what they need to do.

But this lacks accountability and creates problems such as not knowing when someone else has responded and not knowing when someone else will action the email.

Benefits of using a Helpdesk Instead of Shared Email

With a helpdesk you have a central place where your shared emails are sent to and your team has their own account that they can login and access.

For example, if you have two people in your customer support team, here’s how it can work:

If person 1 is logged in and so is person 2, person 1 will be able to see if person 2 is viewing an email so they knowsnot to reply. Person 1 will also be able to write notes on the email and keep this private to his team so that only them and person 2 can see.

This helps them decide on the best course of action before responding to the email.

They then choose who is assigned to the email and can set this within the helpdesk so they know who is responsible. Person 1 then assigns the email to himself and uses a pre-determined saved reply to get back to the customer with a message that both people have agreed is the best course of action.

Within this process, both of these people have:

  • Avoided collisions by being able to see who is viewing an email
  • Communicated on an email privately via notes without responding to the customer
  • Assigned the email to the relevant person
  • Replied using a saved response

These features are common in the majority of helpdesk applications and go a long way to improving your team’s efficiency and ability to deliver customer satisfaction.

Set up a free shared helpdesk with Helpscout


Helpscout is the most easy to use and simple helpdesk out there and is completely transparent to your customers – they won’t even know you are using it (although on the free plan there is a little link to Helpscout in each email). Your team has all the benefits described above from and easy to use web console and your customers will see it just like any other email.

To get set up, visit Helpscout and sign up. Create a new mailbox then forward your shared email address to the mailbox address and you’re all done. You can invite up to three other members of your team to use the shared mailbox for free. This is great for small teams and ecommerce sites.

Helpscout have a great demo on their site and lots of resources if you want to learn more.

We’re all about using technology to help businesses and this is one of the most valuable ways to improve your teams communication with your customers and to help grow your business.

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Simon Kelly

Simon started his first web agency in 2009 which he merged with the SGD team in 2023. With a strong background in digital strategy and a history of working with fast-growing Australian companies, including CyberCX, Envato and Agency Mavericks, he's passionate about using ethical digital marketing that delivers business value. Simon's experience includes coaching digital agencies, running digital marketing workshops, driving growth and excellence within the SGD team.

Read more posts by Simon Kelly

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