Gmail just added a function that allows users to give another user permission to view and respond to their email. This function has been available through my Google Apps account for some time, but I just took note when they pushed it out to the rest of the world recently.
Now, delegating email may sound to some like a terribly impersonal touch or something reserved for only those with at least two or three personal assistants, but the practical small business use for this is very real.
Let’s say you want to create some company mailboxes for things like sales, customer service, advertising, media requests, etc. Many companies do this as a way to channel inquires to a company inbox even though it may be monitored by one person.
Now, let’s say you have two people that field sales inquires and two that field customer service requests. By creating shared or delegated email accounts multiple people can monitor these inboxes and everyone that has permission can see what was replied to and what still awaited a reply. (Add the Canned Responses function and you could also create a library of common responses so that everyone monitoring the box could have company approved messages at the ready)
This is also a great way for those small business folks that do have a personal assistant or VA to delegate certain email tasks or for those that simply use multiple accounts to hook them all together for the purpose of viewing and responding.
The reply from a delegated email says that it comes from the account holder but with that add-on sent by firstname.lastname@example.org