Many companies use distribution lists to save teams time and effort for both internal and external communication. A distribution list is an efficient way of sending emails to multiple recipients at once and saves the manual labour of having to type in each individual’s email address.

While distribution lists can be helpful, they’re not always the answer. They come with issues such as cluttered inboxes and a lack of accountability across a team. This is where shared inboxes and Emailgistics can improve your Outlook experience.

Please keep reading for a complete guide on distribution lists, how to create them, and how they differ from shared inboxes.

What are distribution lists, and how do they work?

A distribution list is a group of emails organized under a single email or group email. The list allows individuals to receive a copy of all emails sent to the distribution list address. A team typically manages messages sent to this email address rather than an individual.

A significant benefit to distribution lists is that anytime a customer or employee sends emails or receives replies to these addresses, everyone on the list gets a copy of the email. This avoids issues if a particular individual is out of office, too busy to reply to the email, or forgets. With a distribution list, you can ensure that your customers’ emails are receiving replies from your team.

How to create an email distribution list in Office 365

Before you start using distribution lists, you need to create them in Outlook. Here’s a guide on creating an email distribution in the Outlook desktop application.

  1. On the navigation bar, click the People icon
2. Under My Contacts, select the folder where you want to save the contact group
3. On the Ribbon, select New Contact Group

4. Name your contact group

5. Click Add Members, and add people from your contacts list or address book

6. Click Save & Close

How to import an email distribution list

To import an email distribution list into Outlook, you first have to ensure that all the required contacts are in an excel file. You can import the file by going to File > Open & Export > Import/Export.

Then you will be able to select the excel file and directly import the contacts to your contact list in Outlook.

What is the difference between distribution lists and shared inboxes? (and why shared inboxes are better)

A shared mailbox allows multiple users to access the same data in one centralized mailbox. Everyone who has access to the mailbox can read, reply, forward, and send new emails from the mailbox address.

With a distribution list, you can simultaneously send the same message to a group of people. Everyone in the distribution list gets a copy of the email, and unlike with shared mailboxes, message history and replies cannot be seen by the team.

Shared mailboxes allow for greater collaboration and increase the replies your customers receive. Every member in the shared mailbox can see what emails have been answered and which ones are still waiting for a response. Shared mailboxes increase collaboration across teams since emails are being sent to a group inbox rather than to individual email addresses.

How to convert a distribution list to a shared inbox?

Distribution lists can be converted to a shared inbox using Microsoft Admin Council. To do so, you will need Microsoft 365 admin permissions and access to the Microsoft Exchange admin center.

For a step-by-step tutorial on converting a distribution list to a shared inbox, check out this post.

Problems with shared inboxes

While shared inboxes are helpful, they are missing key features that you need to work collaboratively and efficiently with your team. And that’s where Emailgistics comes in.

A major problem with shared mailboxes is too many users (too many hands in the cookie jar). With Emailgistics, you avoid this problem as our intelligent software automatically routes emails to the right team members every time. Meaning no more emails falling through the cracks and happier customers.

Want to track an employee’s performance and your SLAs? With real-time customizable dashboards monitoring metrics important to your team, you can easily do so, empowering you to make informed decisions to keep on top of SLAs. Emailgistics allows you to set limits for your team members and ensure everyone has an appropriate workload by setting the maximum number of messages assigned to each user’s inbox. 

Emailgistics helps you achieve your goals in the four areas that matter the most: customer satisfaction, collaboration, productivity, and metrics & insights.

To learn more and sign up for a free demo, click here.