Gmail for Small Businesses


Using Gmail for small business is an intuitive solution that works well for some. But many businesses eventually run into challenges as they start to grow.

Although Google has created many intuitive apps for business, there's one thing this web-based app is not built to do: customer service. Gmail is designed for one person, and your workflow can become increasingly inefficient when multiple people are using the same account. Some of the most customer-centric companies have experienced similar problems when they had more than one person on their support team. From using the colored-star system to printing out emails, Gmail has no scalable way to prioritize emails.

Sound familiar? Here are three issues that may alert your small business that's it's time to make a switch to an alternative gmail app:

1. Share Gmail Account Business

When an email arrives, who responds to it? If there's more than one person with access to the customer service Gmail alias, you have no way of knowing in real-time who is working on what. Without a system that assigns an owner, priority and status to an email, you can run into the risk of overlapping emails using Gmail, or even worse, losing track of customers entirely.

2. Gmail Prioritize Email

Gmail's Priority Inbox keeps your emails organized by identifying the most important emails. But when you share the job of replying to customers, your system will at some point reach its limits. There is no efficient way to track the priority of some emails over others or know when a support issue is updated, pending or resolved.

3. Understand the Customer

No customer likes to explain themselves twice and no company likes to be in the dark about a customer's history. Having a record of the customer and their history of interactions with you is critical for providing great customer service. Although Gmail enables third-party apps like Rapportive to access contact information right inside your inbox, the information is completely divorced from the customer's issue. Your business needs a 360 degree view of the customer, otherwise they'll be spending more time re-learning customer issues than actually solving problems.

When is it Time to Graduate From Gmail?

If any of the following statements are true about your business, it may be time to switch from Gmail to another email app for business:

  • You have more than one person responding to customer inquiries.
  • Your support team is continuously growing.
  • Tracking and managing email volume is difficult.
  • You refer your customers to multiple departments to get the right response.
  • You don't have an efficient process for tracking customer information and their prior conversations.
  • You worked on the same customer issue unaware that another person is already handling the problem.
  • Customer emails regularly exceed 24 hours before they are resolved.
  • Customers have no method to solve their own problems outside of contacting your support team.
  • Customers are increasingly expressing frustration when contacting your business.

Moving From Gmail to a Dedicated Email App for Customer Service

Using a dedicated email app for customer service can help you create smart workflows to track and manage your emails, so everyone in your company can play a role in supporting the customer and know:

  • what issues customers care about the most
  • The priority of some emails over others
  • When an email was created, updated and resolved
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