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- Date Established
- Palo Alto, CA
- Easy to use
- Good customer support
- Shallow learning curve
- Limited features
- Rudimentary feature set
Hiver is a Google Chrome extension intended to “supercharge” your email. Or your Gmail, to be precise. Run by a team of only 17 individuals, Hiver wants to dramatically change the way you look at email communication between members of your team — and also between your team and your clients.
Hiver doesn’t really fit in neatly with other project management platforms: there are no lists, no tasks, no projects, not a Gantt chart to be seen. And like I said, it isn’t even a stand-alone program, but an augmentation of a tool almost everyone already uses Gmail. What can such a basic tool really bring to the table?
The answer to that question is simple. Hiver allows you to aggressively organize your email, with shared inboxes for your teams, labeling capabilities, and comment functions. When communicating with a client, now all members of that specific inbox can see new messages, increasing the efficiency of your work. There is even an option to add read-receipts to your emails.
Think of it like this: you have a chair that you love. It is super comfortable, has great lumbar support, rolls around the office floor, and has perfectly placed armrests. It even swivels. There is just one thing wrong with your perfect chair: it doesn’t have a cupholder. Sure, you only need that cupholder 30-40 percent of the time, but when you really want it, it just isn’t there for you. If the chair in this metaphor is your usual email experience, Hiver is the cupholder that makes it that much better.
Table of Contents
Web-Based (SaaS) Or On-Premise
Hiver is a web-based program: no need to download anything.
There are three pricing options:
Plus plan – $14/user/month:
- 2 Shared Mailbox
- 100 Shared Labels
- Collision Detection
- Email Templates
- Shared Drafts
Premium plan – $22/user/month:
- Everything in Plus and…
- 10 shared mailboxes
- 250 shared labels
- Salesforce integration
Enterprise plan – $34/user/month:
- Everything in Premium and…
- 25 shared mailbox
- 2500 shared labels
- Priority Support
- Dedicated CSM
Hiver uses Stripe to process payments by credit card, which means they have no access to your payment information. As you can see, there is a clear incentive to pay for a yearly plan rather than taking things month to month.
If you are curious about the differences between the subscription levels and want to see them in action for yourself, there is a free 14-day trial available for both paid plans, and you do not need to enter payment information to access it.
Ease Of Use
Hiver excels when it comes to ease of use. It is a Chrome extension and works just as well as any extension I have ever installed. Once I added it to my email, I was quickly able to start arranging messages into new inboxes, grouping them together in logical ways. There is a tour available when you first login which demonstrates how various features work. This is a handy feature, but it wasn’t even really necessary for me.
If you feel like even after this short intro you still need some help, there is a “Quick Tips” section on the Hiver dashboard (found by clicking the yellow cog symbol in the upper right corner of the Gmail window). There are a few options to choose from here, based on how you are using Hiver (Are you involved with customer support? Sales? Project Management?). From there, you will get a quick rundown on how you might best use this nifty little extension.
Beyond that, Hiver is as easy to use as your email box always was — maybe even a little more so. No more back-and-forth between group members about what clients do and do not want; everyone can see because they all have access to the same group mailbox. No more trying to figure out which project emails are asking about; there is a label there to tell you. It just works.
Customer Service & Support
Hiver is not an especially deep program, and as such does not need much in the way of support. If you do need a bit of help while you are getting started, though, there are a few resources available:
- Help Center: This is a thorough store of short how-to articles covering all of Hiver’s features. Each of the topics has at least three or four articles linked to it. (I would criticize them only for occasional poor grammar.)
- Email Contact: You can send questions via email. When I tried, it took about 24 hours to get a response, and the answer came on a Saturday.
- Start Tour: When you first install and start to use the Hiver extension, you will be prompted to take a quick “tour” of the application. While only three steps long, this tour does aid in understanding the use of Hiver.
- Social Media: Hiver has a presence on Facebook and Twitter, but neither of these is particularly useful or frequented for support. I didn’t see any customers posting questions on either platform, and the only posts that were there were just blogs and self-promotion.
This may seem a short list, but then again, Hiver is a simple program. Most of the products I review feature at least a few video tutorials, not to mention webinars and email tickets. (I was able to find a few product videos eventually, after some digging on YouTube). However, most programs I review are significantly more complex than Hiver.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Hiver is very positively reviewed. As I browsed through various customer review sites, the lowest rating I saw was 4.5 stars. I think this is probably because Hiver really is only for one thing: email collaboration. Such an undiluted purpose lends itself to a well-functioning product, and Hiver customers seem to appreciate that. Even so, there are one or two complaints:
- Notes: A few users complained that their notes seemed to disappear from where they were created, only to reappear in other threads. This is by far the most serious complaint around, but it is by no means common.
- Initial Set-Up: Several users regretted their initial organizational choices when setting up the extension. Keep this in mind when considering Hiver for your organization. Do your research, learn as much as possible beforehand, and even consider pre-planning how you want to organize your labels, mailboxes, and contact groups.
Having said that, I have to say that in terms of project management, Hiver is pretty threadbare. There are no productivity tools, no calendar functions, no timer tracking features. There are ways to use Hiver in project management; I will get to those in a moment. But it is far from a complete experience, even when compared with a program as simple as Trello.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
It is difficult to break down what people love about Hiver because they really just like the whole concept Hiver represents. One customer said:
The old concept of email is dead. That is, where each email inbox is a silo of information to just one person. That’s old-school thinking. Shared inboxes just make sense for collaboration and knowledge sharing. Hiver makes sharing of emails across your organization easy and automated.
The best endorsements of Hiver come from the array of companies using it. These include Change.org, StemCell Technologies, and Pinterest.
Here are a few more excerpts from satisfied customers:
We were a small team of people trying to stay on top of a deluge of e-mails. We wanted a method to delegate e-mails as tasks while automatically keeping everyone else in the loop. This service filled that role admirably and was effortless to setup. I can’t really ask for much more than that!
Hiver has been very helpful for our admin team to share receipts and other documents. It’s become an essential part of their workflow. Hard to imagine working without it!
My company just recently moved to using Hiver and it’s been very useful for us as a transition away from using Outlook/Microsoft Exchange. I’m most impressed with how quickly the Niraj and the rest of the development team respond to user comments. Many of my feature suggestions have been responded to and implemented within a matter of a week! Fantastic, I will definitely continue to use Hiver and look forward to working more with the team on an already great product!
Here are a few of the things that make Hiver… buzz (the writer in me is both pleased with and appalled by that pun):
- Shared Labels: Here is where Hiver makes the most convincing argument that it can function as a project management platform. By adding labels to your emails, you can assign tasks to members of your team. When they finish those tasks, they can add another label reporting that they are complete. Because Labels can be all kinds of different colors, you can color code to your heart’s content. The thing is, though, neat as this function is, it doesn’t really feel like it is what Hiver was meant to be. Rather, it feels like something you can make Hiver do. And in order to make it work, you will have to create a few protocols yourself. Other project management programs do this kind of work for you. Hiver makes you decide for yourself if this is how you want to do it.
- Scheduled Email: Hiver allows you to send messages when you want. If that time happens to be hours or days into the future, you can schedule the exact time of delivery for yourself. This could be a reminder for yourself or a team member, or perhaps a regular update for a client.
- Email Notes: This extremely useful feature allows you to converse with team members about emails without adding a huge “reply all” chain to your inbox. It functions just like a chat and is unique to each message.
- Templates: Have a particular email you send all the time? Turn it into a template to save you and your team members time. Hiver does not provide any example templates; you will have to create your own library before using them.
- Collision Detection: Know when someone else on your team is replying to an email before you do yourself. Obviously, this is useful, since it can help cut down on repetitive communication in your team, but it also just helps keep your inbox tidy.
- Shared Mailboxes: Of all of Hiver’s many features, this is probably my favorite. You can create a separate mailbox for each team in your organization, or even for each project within each team. All emails in these shared inboxes can be seen by each member of the team, and thus each team member can respond as they need. This keeps the information moving where it needs to move, with no one person controlling all communication.
- Activity Timeline: For every email you create, send, and reply to, Hiver makes a record that can be reviewed at a later date. Got a problematic customer or confusing thread of conversations? Get clarity as to who said what and when with this handy feature.
Integrations & Add-Ons
This category is understandably bare, as Hiver is really just a Gmail add-on itself. It is made specifically as an extension of your web browser.
As a Gmail extension, Hiver works exceptionally well. The features make sense, seem useful, and are a good value for your money. The app is easy to install and to use. Most people (myself included) like it very much and would recommend it to others who need an organizational communication tool.
But is it a good solution for all-around project management? That is not nearly so clear-cut. Hiver’s creators clearly believe their product can do the job; project management is featured in the quick tips guide and the “Why Hiver?” section of their website. And Hiver certainly can be used to help manage your projects.
The thing is, other programs can do a better, more complete job for a similar price. And they can generate reports on your productivity, better organize your task lists, and store documents. Hiver doesn’t do any of that. To borrow from my earlier metaphor, Hiver is the cupholder to Gmail’s office chair. Sure, cupholders are great, and it would be awesome to roll around in your chair, bringing your cold beverage along with you. But would it really be so hard to just hold it in your hands? Or put it on your desk? That is the problem with Hiver. It can do a job, but there are better choices out there if you need a more robust project management solution.
For what it is, though — a way to organize the heck out of your email — it excels. But don’t just take my word for it! If you like the features I described (and really, they are nice), try it out for yourself. Maybe that cupholder is right for you after all.
We've done in-depth testing of each and confidently recommend them.
We've done in-depth testing of each and confidently recommend them.