Web Applications Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for power users of web applications. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My team uses email for providing support to users. All support emails are CC'ed to the support team mailing list. But sometimes it can still happen that two people in the team are replying to the same email at the same time, and clicking on Send at the same time. The user then ends up receiving two replies.

The easiest way to solve this would be to send a reply with only the support team as recipient, telling the team that I'm typing a reply right now, but this is too troublesome. Does there exist some tool with which I can see which other people in my team are currently replying to the same email?

share|improve this question

migrated from superuser.com Nov 2 '12 at 15:45

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

If two people are using the same account, then assigning the task to a single person, solves this problem. – Ramhound Nov 2 '12 at 13:56
We are not using the same account. – Hongli Nov 2 '12 at 15:50

One thing you could try is the collaborative inbox feature in Google Groups - http://www.googlegooru.com/how-to-setup-a-collaborative-inbox-in-google-groups

A true workflow application or support system (like Zendesk) would of course be better, but if you don't have the budget for it, then collaborative inbox may suit your needs well enough.

share|improve this answer
Could you describe how Collaborative Inbox solves the problem? – Vidar S. Ramdal Nov 14 '13 at 11:09

Create a contact group of all relevant team members and Bc that group by default when replying to an email that they've all received. That's what my team does anyway and seems to work pretty well.

Other than that there's nothing by default in Gmail or in Google Labs that will tell you when another person has replied to an email that you've received unless you both use the same account in which case it will automatically update the conversation view to reflect the newest reply.

share|improve this answer
They are already CC'ed. The problem is both people typing and clicking on Send at the same time. I don't need a default Gmail/Google Labs product. Are there any third party ones? – Hongli Nov 2 '12 at 15:51
It sounds to me like you're trying to use an email product (gmail) for a workflow task. You really need a tool/process that lets queries be assigned to people. One gmail work-around would be that the person who starts working on a received message assigns a label when they START their reply, and everyone checks the original message for this just before pressing SEND – MaryC.fromNZ Nov 3 '12 at 0:02
That is what I meant. I want notification when someone STARTS replying, not when someone has replied. But I want all this to happen seamlessly and without hassle. How do you make labels that are visible across multiple Gmail accounts? How do you automatically apply a label upon viewing a message? – Hongli Nov 4 '12 at 12:56

What you are really asking is "How can I see what people are replying to on their screen before they send"

The problem is, GMail does not have some kind of live-updating way of sharing an individual account status with other accounts

BUT there are other Google Products that do. For example:

  • One solution is you could have a separate Google Spreadsheet where people copy and paste the subject line of the email they are replying to and put it in one cell, the customer's name/email in the next cell, and finally their name in the cell next to it. Google Spreadsheets live updates, and you can see who has grabbed what email. Every day or every morning you can delete everything in the spreadsheet and start over
  • You can do the same with Google Docs. You could even have people draft their emails in a single shared Google Doc (assuming there are not TONS of emails coming through at once) and this way if someone is about to reply to an email and you want to add something, you could collaboratively edit it as well.

A true ticketing system is probably better, but these are quick ways you could deal with it. I personally sometimes will reply back to my team (but not the customer) with a quick "I'll get this one" email - that way everyone knows I have it and they don't have to worry about it

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.