Using a shared gmail account for customer support

I’m kind of fed up with the help desk SaaS I’ve been using for Feature Upvote. It is pretty good, but has some idiosyncrasies which frustrate me, and an ongoing bug which I’ve reported a couple of times and doesn’t seem to be getting fixed.

Instead of changing to another SaaS, I’m going to try a shared gmail inbox for a while.

Does anyone else do this? If so, what tips and tricks do you have for how best to use gmail for customer support?

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To kick off with an answer to my own question, my initial Googling came up with this article from Groove:

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Sounds like your SaaS provider needs exactly what I am offering at the new visualSilicon.com :star_struck:

I do all my work on Gmail. So I have a couple of notes. It can certainly be improved as an inbox for the working professional, but it is indeed the best email client I can get my hands on.

The link you shared has a lot of what you are asking but I would say you have to see what works for you because everyone works differently. For example colouring labels works really well for me but some people might not like too many colours…

I didn’t see them mention the Snooze feature. It’s a god sent feature. Just snooze your sent or received mail to when you want to followup and forget about it. Saved me a lot of headache. It goes into snooze folder and reappears at the date and time you picked.

Regarding the points on that page also the “stars or those arrows” are not great for me, I ended up having so many of them that they have become somewhat meaningless. I use labels (folders) and colour them with light or strong colors instead. Strong red has the highest priority. When I want to see highest priority stuff I just click on that label/folder and I have a list or I easily see them amongst hundreds of emails. What’s great is you can have multiple labels (priority, which customer, and even which stage of work)…

And don’t underestimate the power of automatic filters. You can automatically label emails with certain senders and subject lines (which gives you colouring out of box) and in case of less important stuff you can “Skip Inbox” so you never see them until you choose it is time to click on that folder to see them…

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I wonder if anyone has seriously used Trello’s inbox feature for customer support given its nice integration to Bitbucket and Jira!?

You could possibly auto-forward your emails to customer specific Trello boards from your gmail!

I use a Google Group as a collaborative inbox. I don’t think it scales particularly well, and there’s a disconnect to your ticketing system. But for me it’s “good enough”.

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A couple of friends are using https://frontapp.com for support in their SaaS and another project. It lets them see a customer email and exchange notes about it, then one of them replies to the message when they’ve got a resolution. The customer can’t see their notes, only the people inside the project get those. Well worth a look for your situation.

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I wonder if anyone has used https://asana.com/ at all - they have a Gmail addo/plug-in by the looks of it.

Hi steve I use gmail for support. I find it works well for small teams.

How I do it:
I use a separate gmail Account, I have google gsuite so I setup an address support@

I have about 5 support accounts from my different site all feeding into the one gmail account

I then setup labels for myself and my developer. When I need my developer to reply to an email I change the label to his name

When an email is answered we archive it

I find the whole thing works extremely well and would recommend it. Being able to reply from the excellent gmail phone app saves a lot of time.

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Just so you know: you don’t need Google GSuite for that. I have all my @domain.com emails set up in standard free Gmail, and they all come into Gmail via POP3 retrieval. When I reply to them, Gmail sends them back as though from @domain.com again. My end users have no idea I’m using Gmail (well, unless they check the mail headers and see the routing information).

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I’d not use a free gmail account for professional support:
If you loose your password or access due to a incident, you loose all your customer support emails (google is known for closing free accounts sometimes). Paid accounts allow for advanced recovery, because there’s a payment trail.

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What, really !!?? :dizzy_face:

Yes. Actually mostly you just loose access to the account, but the account does technically still exist.
I understand this mostly happens when:

  1. you loose your password
  2. you don’t have access to your recovery mail anymore.

Or:

  1. you travel and log in from an unknown device (or similar) and type the password wrong a few times
  2. you don’t have access to a recovery email anymore

From google’s point of view that’s account security. When that happens you can’t contact (the non-existent) customer support, nor can you prove that you are the owner of the account.

With a paid account you can prove that you are the owner.

Ah, so that’s just to do with poor user security practices, rather than Google just closing a free account for no reason (which is how you made it sound). I have two-factor authentication with Gmail, plus a recovery email with my business domain; so I get an SMS when logging in from a different PC, and my recovery email will always exist. This security risk is a non-issue for me.

Also, it should be noted that all my customer mails still exist on my domain’s mail servers: I just use Gmail as a front-end to access and reply to them, because it’s much more convenient. I will never lose access to my customer’s support emails. All this without paying for G Suite.

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