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Limitations of Google's collaborative inbox

While Google's collaborative inbox offers much greater capability than an individual account, there are several significant limitations you need to know about before setting one up for your team. These limitations are why we built Front, and why many teams are using Front to manage shared inboxes more efficiently.

Lack of Flexibility in Assigning Responsibility

You can only assign a Topic to a team member, not individual emails. That leaves room for confusion on who is following up to a given email. While you can assign multiple team members to a Topic, this doesn't allow you much flexibility in getting specific. So accountability is limited.

Collaboration Isn't Available

If you want to discuss a response among your team, you won't be able to easily do so within the interface. You'll be stuck forwarding emails, which gets extra messy when there are multiple recipients. You could chat about it, but that would mean you're left describing the email in a G Chat, and that context is forever lost when you need to reference it later.

Visibility is Limited

You're limited to filtering by tags, assignee, and responded to/not responded to, and you can't create different filtering based on what you need to see specific to your team. That makes it hard as a manager to see what needs urgent attention.

Lack of Analytics

Want to see stats on how your team is performing, or create reports that easily allow you to determine where bottlenecks lie? You don't have this ability with Google's collaborative inbox.

No Integration with Apps Other than Google Apps

This is one of the biggest drawbacks of Google's collaborative inbox. Most teams are using multiple software systems to run their operations: Salesforce, Asana, Drift, Facebook, etc. There's no way to integrate these, so you'll be duplicating efforts and switching tabs to manage messages and projects.

No Automation and Customization

There's no automation functionality, so your team will need to manually handle tagging emails and triaging. You cannot customize your inbox other than your tags, so you can't make your inbox fit your team's unique workflows.

Read why Front is a better way to manage email as a team, rather than using Google's collaborative inboxes.