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Shared Mailboxes - Any idea what that means?

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

Do you have a support team function that attempts to address customer queries from multiple email addresses?

Imagine you have a customer support team but only want one incoming customer support email address. Each agent requires access to the same incoming email, but this will be across multiple users’ computers, each with the ability to respond as that address.

A shared mailbox may well be the way forward for you.

Examples include inbox names such as ‘’ or ‘’ which are almost always managed by more than one person.

The idea behind shared mailboxes was to stop people in a team having to forward emails to each other. Everyone in the team has access to the emails in the shared mailbox.

Use of shared mailboxes has the following benefits:

· Everyone in each team has access to emails arriving at a common email address.

· Different members on the team can reply to emails in real-time.

· Team members have less clutter in their inboxes as there are no forwarded or group emails.

· Less CCs and BCCs when everyone on the team has access to the same information.

· Centralize all emails under one email address. Improve accessibility and collaboration across the team.

It is worth noting however:

· A Microsoft shared mailbox can store up to 50GB of data without having to assign a license to it. After that, a license is required to store more data.

· No more than 25 users – as recommended by Microsoft.

· You cannot prevent members from deleting messages in a shared mailbox.

· Each team member must have their own exchange licence to be able to access a shared mailbox.

When do we use a shared mailbox?

Shared mailboxes are used when an entire team is required to shoulder the responsibility of incoming emails.

Shared mailboxes work well for teams that must deal with a lot of emails on a regular basis. An example is a customer support team. There is likely a stream of emails hitting the support@ inbox, and it is unlikely that one person can handle all of them.

What is the difference between a shared mailbox and distribution list?

A shared mailbox is a full-fledged inbox. It has a separate Inbox, drafts, and sent items. Every email sent to the shared inbox can be accessed by users with access.

All users have the permission to change their ‘send as’ field — they can send emails from the shared mailbox address. The moment you delete an email, it will be deleted for everyone.

Distribution lists, on the other hand, are a list of users who receive the same email in their inboxes. The same email is reproduced for everyone who is a part of the distribution list. Simply, it is a group of email recipients with the same email address.

When they reply, the users can only use their personal address and not the address of the distribution list. When one user deletes the email, it does not delete the emails for the rest of the users.

This does however, mean a lot more emails in everyone’s inboxes!

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