A shared inbox has applications in many team collaboration, customer service, and internal support use cases, with applicability in multiple functions within multiple teams. This article will explain how to apply a shared inbox to IT service management and other team interactions in enterprise and other organizations.
What is internal service management?
Employees interact with many teams on a daily basis to get their work done. These interactions occur for two major reasons: to request or to provide service/support.
When an employee encounters a problem that gets in the way of their work, they can ask for help from an internal service team. This is called internal service management, internal customer service, or, as the analyst firm Forrester calls it, “enterprise service management.” Internal service is what your company does for its own employees.
IT service management
An IT service is the best example of internal customer service. When an employee has trouble with their office network, company-provided devices, or applications (e.g., mail, team chat, VPN, etc.) they can ask for help from the IT team. The IT team will look into the problem and come up with a solution that meets both the short-term and long-term needs of the employee. The industry term for this is IT service management (ITSM).
To overcome complex IT problems, mature organizations and enterprises can employ complex frameworks, such as ITIL, COBIT, MOF, eTOM, TOGAF, etc. They can also implement ITSM tools (also known as service desk tools) such as Atlassian, BMC, Cherwell, ManageEngine’s ServiceDesk Plus, and Service Now, along with other systems of engagement (e.g., team chat, email, and more) to tackle IT-related issues.
Interactions within the organization
Within organizations, interactions between teams go beyond IT issues. Employees need support from teams such as facilities, administration, HR (e.g., payroll, medical claims), product management, and others to complete their work. These are highly standardized interactions with predefined sets of requests that are addressed by the respective support teams.
As part of their everyday operations, specialized teams, such as creative/design, legal, compliance, finance (e.g., accounts payable, accounts receivable), and others provide specific support to internal teams. Interactions occur within the context of the service they render.
Besides service-related interactions, teams also collaborate with other team members within the organization. For instance, teams such as development, IT security, and marketing communicate with other internal teams as part of their daily operations.
Below are some examples of non-IT interactions within the organization.
Type of service: HR services such as payroll, medical claims, attendance regularization, hiring new resources, compensation/reimbursements
Service requested by: Employees (organization wide)
Service delivered by: HR team
Type of service: Design requests such as collateral, video editing, website redesign, presentation design, media, and booth graphics
Service requested by: Product development, PR team, leadership, marketing, sales, events team, etc.
Service delivered by: Design team
Type of service: Vendor contract reviews, data protection impact assessment for marketing campaigns, conflict with competition over brand aspects
Service requested by: Marketing, sales, purchasing
Service delivered by: Legal and compliance teams
Type of service: New asset purchases, vendor payment requests/subscription renewals, requests for remittance copy
Service requested by: Vendor relations/purchasing, marketing, and more
Service delivered by: Accounts payable
Type of service: Flight booking, hotel booking, visa/passport assistance
Service requested by: Leadership, events, sales, marketing
Service delivered by: Travel desk
Systems of engagement
Systems of engagement are interfaces for interactions between teams. Teams employ a combination of tools for engagement (such as email, team chat, workplace tools, and self-service) and department-specific tools (such as CRM, Salesforce, human resources management systems, chatbots, customer support management, and help desk) to go about their daily operations.
Teams tend to choose their preferred systems of engagement (such as ticketing tools, service desk tools, customer help desk tools) for each of their use cases. Small teams usually manage it with simple email/team chats to deliver these services to employees. The choice of tool varies based on factors such as the volume of incoming requests, operational processes and workflows, the total cost of ownership, learning curves, and more.
Zoho TeamInbox for internal service management
TeamInbox is also known as a shared inbox. It is an inexpensive yet intuitive tool with applications in a variety of team collaboration, customer service, and internal support use cases. It has applicability in multiple functions, teams, and use cases.
Zoho TeamInbox is fundamentally designed to permit multiple users to access a group inbox simultaneously, conduct optimal actions on the email, and communicate on the email. It integrates with email services to improve email management and facilitate collaboration. Multiple users on the teams may access, read, manage, and send emails thanks to the tool's single collaboration space.
Teams can set up group inboxes for their respective use cases, add team members, and set up workflows on the shared inbox, instead of each team having a different set of processes and tools.
Below are some examples of group inboxes for various organizational teams.
recruitment@ resume@ payroll@ attendance@ learning@ med-claim@
design@ marketing@ campaigns@ social@
accounts-payable@ accounts-receivable@ reimbursement@ invoice@
facilities@ device@ tech-support@
How does Zoho TeamInbox enable internal service delivery? Consider this use case of a marketing team member working on a promotional collateral who submits a request for creatives from the design team.
- The shared inbox tool allows the design team to create unified inboxes for their group IDs (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, etc.) and add team members to groups.
- The incoming emails/design requests to these group IDs will be received only on the group ID and not on their personal mail, so the manager can assign the requests to a designer who is relatively light on work or designers (group members) can claim the requests themselves.
- Each group member can perform actions on the emails—respond, add tags, color code to provide more context, or they can archive, snooze, and more. The status of the email will change for everyone else in the group. Examples of tagging for better context include:
High priority, Marketing team, Video format
Medium priority, Product team, Banner creative for LP
High priority, CEO, PPT/pitch deck design
- The design team can initiate conversations with the requester right on the email and discuss their requirements by tagging them in the chat function, creating seamless collaboration within and across teams.
- The design team can define rules and configure the workflow of emails delivered to group inboxes. For example, the team can automate tags for requests from the CEO as high priority and assign them to a specific designer.
- Teams can also draft service request templates; for example, the teams can create a catalog to gather more details on the request from the requester.
- The design team or the manager can leverage analytics and track insights on the volume of incoming requests or individual designers (team members) and audit activity logs.
- For example, the manager can understand the type of requests, from which teams, the average turnaround time for each request, and more to make calls on hiring new resources or improving the tool stack for better service delivery.
The merits of implementing Zoho TeamInbox for internal service management
1. Standardizing processes. To improve productivity, organizations must standardize their service delivery processes. Implementing a service desk or a help desk tool for every instance of a particular use case is extremely expensive that only large enterprises can afford.
Implementing the TeamInbox tool can streamline the service delivery process through email management. Regardless of their position or department, employees should be able to follow the same processes so they can be monitored and improved over time.
2. Eliminating silos. When each team in the organization has a point product of their own for their service delivery, it can lead to the formation of silos. Using a shared inbox can act as the single interface for all service requests within the organization.
Shared inboxes are a great way to improve productivity in the organization. They can help break down silos and increase collaboration between departments, allowing for greater efficiency and customer satisfaction.
3. Avoiding shadow systems brings better governance. Individuals and teams may sign up for a free trial or enroll in the "freemium" version of a product without involving IT, resulting in shadow IT within the organization.
Zoho TeamInbox is a low-cost and user-friendly tool that can be applied to a range of team collaboration and team support use cases. Implementing the tool across the entire organization will ensure that the IT department is involved in the tool’s installation and evaluation process. The IT team will be responsible for securely implementing and configuring the tool, and will determine who has access and who should be in charge of management, etc.
Implementing systems of engagement and service delivery tools at the organizational level is a strategic business decision that requires an understanding of the flow of interactions within the organization.
Growing organizations that want to streamline service delivery processes and operations before developing separate instances of service desk tools for each use case can begin that journey by using the shared inbox tool, Zoho TeamInbox.
For organizations that want to streamline service delivery and team collaboration, Zoho TeamInbox is a useful addition to the tool stack.
Zoho TeamInbox is best suited for service delivery because it helps teams manage the volume of email flowing through group IDs into shared inboxes. It also helps to organize, sort, and tag the emails appropriately.