What is an SMS Shared Inbox?

Luis Manjarrez
by Luis Manjarrez

Texting has been around for almost 30 years. It is the most popular form of communication in the entire world. It's hard to estimate, but some sources say between 4.2 and 5 billion people around the world have access to SMS messages. Compared to 3.9 billion email users and 2 billion WhatsApp users.

Not only that, but it's also one of the most effective tools of communication. According to TechJury, SMS messages have:

  • 90% open rate.
  • 90% of SMS are read within 3 minutes.
  • 98% of US smartphone users text regularly.
  • 80% of people use text messaging for business.
  • SMS open rates are nearly 5 times that of email.
  • 6 in every 10 consumers tend to have a positive impression of companies that contact them via text messages.

I think it is safe to say that texting is a big deal.

Ok, but what's an SMS shared inbox?

An SMS inbox is like an email inbox. It's a place where texts from one or multiple phone numbers are received, stored, and managed. An SMS shared inbox adds a layer of collaboration to the inbox concept. This means SMS from a single number can be seen and assigned to multiple people who access them from their own devices with their own accounts.

But do I need this for my business?

Most likely yes. Just reread the bullet points above. Texting is widely adopted and liked by people. Whether you're an ecommerce, work in sales, or rent camera equipment, customers will inevitably contact you and you will also need to contact them.

SMS can be used in a passive way, by letting customers send questions, ask to fix issues, give feedback -- in order words, for customer support. But you can also proactively engage with them by using SMS as a new channel to distribute marketing content. According to the previously mentioned source, SMS marketing campaigns perform 7 times better than email marketing campaigns.

But imagine receiving dozens or even hundreds of texts per day from customers. You need something more robust than a flimsy shared inbox. In order to successfully leverage this new channel of communication, you need to be able to categorize messages, distribute workload, share information, etc.

I suggest you have a look at our shared mailbox best practices article to learn more about the best ways to efficiently manage a shared inbox.

Missive: The SMS shared inbox tool

Missive is a team inbox and chat app that helps businesses stay on top of all their communication channels in a single app. All while enabling collaboration between coworkers. In Missive you can receive emails, Instagram DMs, WhatsApp messages, SMS, and more! SMS can be received and sent via Twilio, Dialpad, or SignalWire SMS.

One of the best features is the ability to collaborate inside SMS. For example, if a customer sends a text message, and you don't know how to respond, you can @mention another team member and instantly give them access and ask for help.

Collaborate with coworkers inside SMS messages

You can also create team inboxes and assign certain SMS to specialized teams. Maybe a customer has a sales question. Then you can assign it to the Sales team manually or through automated rules.

Assign SMS messages to teams

And you know how there's are always some questions that come through every day, multiple times per day...? With Missive's canned responses, you can quickly respond to popular SMS questions in seconds!

Pro tipUse the shortcut: Shift + Command + O to quickly open the responses popup

Nice! How do I set up SMS?


Step 1

Create a free Twilio account and buy a Twilio phone number.

Twilio's Console site allows users to quickly search for and provision phone numbers for your company. You can filter phone numbers based on location, phone number type, capabilities, and more from their Console.

Here's an in-depth guide to the phone number purchasing process. Or, if you prefer, you can also do a third-party phone number porting to Twilio.

You will be able to consult your number(s) in the Phone Numbers option under the Super Network category, which can be accessed by clicking on the sidebar's 3-dotted button.

Step 2

In the Twilio console, go to your dashboard and copy these two critical numbers: the Account SID and the Auth Token.

Live Chat Twilio dashboard

Step 3

Open Missive and go to Accounts > Add Account > SMS powered by Twilio

Live Chat Twilio dashboard

Select whether this SMS account will be shared with a team, like the Support team or if it will be a personal one.

Live Chat Twilio dashboard

Enter the Account SID, the Auth Token, and your Twilio Phone Number.

Live Chat Twilio dashboard

Step 4

Start engaging with customers via texts!


Learn how to install and best use it in this short tutorial video.

Step 1

In Missive, open your settings, click Integrations > Add integration > Dialpad then follow the instructions.

Step 2

Configure the Dialpad SMS inbox and Dialpad call logs by openning your settings, Accounts > Add account > Dialpad then follow the instructions.

SignalWire SMS

Step 1

Create a SignalWire account and get a SignalWire phone number.

Step 2

In your SignalWire dashboard copy these fields Project ID, Space Url and API Token, plus your phone number.

Image showing how to import an SMS SignalWire account

Step 3

Open Missive and go to Accounts > Add Account > SMS powered by SignalWire

Select whether this SMS account will be shared with a team, like the Support team or if it will be a personal one.

Enter the Space URL, the Project ID, the API token, and your SignalWire Phone Number.

SignalWire SMS fields in Missive
Luis Manjarrez

Growth at Missive
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