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I have searched here and on Google for the best solution to achieve a similar function to a shared inbox here at my office setup. I also spent one hour with the Google Apps Support team in the States over the 'phone without finding a perfect solution. Your ideas might be much better. Here is the situation:

  • We have eight users at the office, setup as name@example.com.

  • Our umbrella company has five subsidiary companies. Using one subsidiary as an example, let us call it subcompany-x.

  • I would like customers to be able to send an email to subcompany-x@example.com

  • Three users should be able to receive this email and reply to it without exposing their personal email address. They should be able to reply as subcompany-x@example.com.

  • All users should be able to read each others replies and follow all customer conversations.

  • the CEO is using a Blackberry 'phone to check email and is not a techie person.

The different options I see have different pros/cons:

  1. Creating a Google Apps User for subcompany-x@example.com and delegating this account to my three users. Problem: requires the users to login to a new account to read/reply. the CEO is not able to read/reply to emails from his 'phone.

  2. Creating a Google Group for subcompany-x@example.com and the other four subsidiary companies. Problem: 1. Expensive to add extra users. 2. When a user replies to a customer email from his Gmail inbox it appears as being sent from the user's personal email address and does not keep the other users informed of the reply. The Groups web interface does this perfectly, not the email setup.

  3. Creating email aliases. Problem: Only one user can have subcompany-x@example.com as alias.

  4. Making advanced settings in the Google Apps Control Panel Settings for Email routing. I don't understand these so well.

Please let me know if I am missing something here. I really cannot get my head around this issue. It seems so simple, but it is not! Even Google themselves could not solve it for me.

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Google's Collaborative inbox should work in your case (previous answer) but there are issues with that approach. The collaborative inbox (groups) requires users to keep moving out of their Gmail to check the emails and to reply to them. That is a hassle and the collaborative inbox UI isn't as intuitive to use when compared to Gmail's interface.

There are other solutions which allow you to manage Shared Mailboxes better. Have a look at Hiver Shared mailboxes . It allows you to access and respond to the shared mailboxes right from your Gmail without opening a new app or website. Every user can choose to reply from your own email id as well as the group's shared email id. All users in a shared mailbox have access to other emails too in that mailbox.

Other popular solution is Front. It works well too but you will need to move away from your Gmail and use their app instead.

Disclaimer: I'm associated with Hiver but I think it is a relevant answer here.

  • You should probably disclose the fact that you work for HIver. – Ricky Notaro-Garcia Dec 19 '18 at 22:06
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The Collaborative Inbox would be your best solution if it were not for the CEO:

https://support.google.com/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=167430

This is a specialized Group which allows people to respond as the Group. This does not address the CEO's need to be mobile.

The other solution which is messy and requires users to pay close attention to others who have responded: 1. Setup a group for each subsidiary 1. Setup a Send As address for each user for each group (e.g. name@example.com can Send As subcompany-x@example.com) 1. Configure each user's email to reply using the same address it received from. 1. Switch the CEO to an Android phone so he/she can use the Send As feature.

  • +1 for suggesting collaborative inbox. If the CEO could be persuaded into checking mail via the Gmail web interface, it could solve that problem, too. – Vidar S. Ramdal Feb 28 '13 at 13:32
  • thanks for your thoughts. To get the "collaborative" inbox to really work, every user replying to messages have to remember to CC the group email address. Fat chance... :-) – Henrik Söderlund Mar 2 '13 at 12:58
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    Henrik, that is not the case. When they reply to the message, the reply-to address is actually the collaborative inbox address which will send it to the final destination. It is just a Google group with special characteristics. – Weehooey Mar 2 '13 at 13:53
  • The collaborative inbox works best when you have your users use web access to the group. They can then "take" the email, set their reply address and mark it complete. – Weehooey Mar 2 '13 at 13:54
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Google doesn't offer this as a full solution so your best bet is to use a Chrome extension to achieve a shared inbox for you. There's not may tools out there to truly achieve this, but DragApp.com will be a good fit in terms of simply connecting up Gmail to your team, and you are away.

There are other options such as Front, Hiver and a few more but for me, it's key to stay inside Gmail. I'm stuck using Gmail (in a good way) and all of the other solutions take you away from this.

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