So, both at The Food Corridor and at 8z, I saw the power of a shared inbox for support. Sure, there are tools like Zendesk out there, but when you are just getting started, having a common inbox (typically in gmail) is a great idea. It’s free, everyone knows how to handle it, it has a great mobile client, and it is very flexible. It’s worth noting that both of these companies had relatively small support teams (less than 10)–once you get to a larger team, more specialized tools will be helpful.
What should you call it? You could call it ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ or ‘email@example.com’, but I’ve seen a lot of folks go with ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’, which can be used for all kinds of communication.
You can also use this as the master account for other subscriptions you have, whether of business specific newsletters or SaaS tools. If someone is signing up for something that other employees may need to use, use this as the email address. (You may want to set up a second inbox or alias for technical tools.) You can also augment the inbox with plugins. Rapportive was one that I’ve tried in the past, and I love Streak for easy CRM and email scheduling.
When you are responding to customer requests from this inbox, should you sign with your name or not? It used to drive me crazy when folks wouldn’t sign emails at 8z, because I liked to know who I was corresponding with. Now that I’m doing customer support, I see the benefit of being anonymous. When you have different folks signing emails, it can confuse the customer (“who am I dealing with again”). So I’d recommend signing or not signing depending on the context. If this is a person who you haven’t dealt with before and they have no context for who you are, leave it unsigned (or, as we do at The Food Corridor, sign with something generic–“The Food Corridor Gnomes”). If they are an existing client, then sign it.
Finally, keep this inbox clean, otherwise the value will decrease dramatically. Make sure you archive anything that is taken care of. Take shifts of who ‘owns’ checking the inbox. I’ve definitely seen folks re-forward an email so it goes to the top of the inbox, or using slack to coordinate responses. Forward questions or information for specific individuals or teams off to their email accounts, then archive.