This article explains how you can quickly set up a help desk using G Suite's Google Groups for Business Collaborative Inbox,
What is Google Groups for Business Collaborative Inbox?
Google Groups is best known as an Internet message board, however what isn't so widely known is that Google Groups is also capable of being a shared support inbox, allowing you and your colleagues to manage customer questions and issues as a team. Your customers (or leads, or suppliers, etc) can email your support email address and you can view, manage and respond to their questions. Think of your Collaborative Inbox as a kind of turbo-changed version of the regular Gmail inbox: customer emails are grouped by subject and you and your team can reply to queries, assign support issues to other team members, categorize and manage emails. There are also a number of other help-desk type features such as marking queries as complete, filtering isses and so on. This article will guide you through the major steps involved in setting up a company shared inbox.
1. Create your Collaborative Inbox
To begin, head on over to Google Groups, and sign in with
your G Suite login (you will need to be a company admin or have delegated permissions to create a group).
Click to create a new group, give your group a name and an email address and select the group type as
You want your customers (who of course are not part of your G Suite organization) to be able to post help questions to your group, so select the permissions option to allow "anyone on the web" to post
Go ahead and create the group.
2. Set post permissions
You also want your customers to be able to email in their queries and issues, so click the link to "manage"
your group and
navigate to "Information" > "General Information" and check to "Allow posting by email"
Your group is now created, test it is working as you expect by sending an email to your group address from an email outside of your organization. The email should show as a topic in your group shared inbox.
3. Set up email authentication
If you haven't done this already, now is a good time to set up email authentication for your domain. This is
as without email authentication set up your replies risk going to your customers' spam folder. Email
or Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) is a process whereby you prove that you own the domain name you are
To set up email authentication log in to your G Suite admin console and navigate to "Applications" > "G Suite" > "Gmail" and click on "Authenticate email". If you haven't already set up email authentication you will see a screen like the below
If you purchased your domain as part of your G Suite set up then simply click on 'Start Authentication' and G Suite will automatically do the rest. If not, you will need to insert some information into a TXT record of your domain's DNS settings. This process can be a little technical, however G Suite does provide on screen instructions to help you.
Google provides an online tool that you can use to validate your G Suite outbound mail setup at https://toolbox.googleapps.com/apps/checkmx/
4. Setup an auto-reply message
An automatic, or canned response lets the person contacting your support desk know that you have received
To set up a canned response in Google Groups, navigate to "Settings" > "Email options". To enable the
auto-email for people
emailing your support address, check the option "Enable auto-reply message for non members outside the
and enter the text you would like your customers to receive.
4. Tip: Reply to messages from the shared inbox
When a new message arrives you and all members of your group
will receive a copy of the email in their Gmail inbox (you can control who receives notification and with what
This is a handy feature as it allows you and your team to be alerted promptly
of customer emails without having to continually monitor the shared inbox.
You can reply to these emails directly, however if you do this without CC'ing in your group email then your email response will not be saved in the email thread in Google Groups. For this reason it is best to reply to queries by going first to the shared inbox. If this is not possible, for example if you are replying using Gmail on your mobile device, then remember to CC in your group support email address so there is a record of the correspondence.
5. Tip: Post resplies on behalf of the group
When you or a group team member responds to a customer email from the shared inbox you have an option to send the response from your own email, or from the group email. It is best to select to post on behalf of the group because this way replies will come to the shared inbox (where they are tracked) rather than to your personal inbox (where they won't be tracked).
For more information on Google Groups for Business see the Google help topic