5 Tools Startups Should Use to Effectively Communicate with Staff and Clients

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When it comes to starting your own business, there is a lot to consider…

The location of your office, the make up of your team, how you plan on attracting potential clients, and much more.

Usually, there is a detail startups forget about – it’s communication. Communication is one of the most essential things that can effect your business both in a good and in a drastic way.

The more effectively you communicate with people, the more organized your staff are, and the happier your clients are.

Let’s have a look at these 5 useful tools that will help you better communicate with staff in your organization, as well as your clients.

1. Trello

trello-screenshot

Trello is a lightweight project management app that helps teams collaborate with each other and keep track of current projects. The service is highly visual and customizable. It’ll perfectly suit a team that prefers kanban-style management.

You can create a number of boards with Trello. For example, a board for your designers, a board for your marketing staff, one more board for your developers and so on. Each board may have an unlimited number of columns and task cards.

Most businesses choose a standard model: Plan -> In Progress -> Done. However, you may add additional columns such as; For Approval, Keep for Future, Need Reply , etc.

Trello lets you add a detailed description for each column as well as labels and stickers to your task cards. The tool makes it easy to see what your team members are working on, which tasks are on hold and why.

There are three options you can use:

  1. Free – for small startups.
  2. Business class for $9.99 per user/month. It includes a wide range of options and can be integrated with Evernote, Github, Google Hangouts, Mailchimp, Salesforce, Slack, Google Drive, Dropbox and other services.
  3. Enterprise for large companies who need to collaborate with numerous teams. The price is set individually on request. Here you’ll get 24/7 support, additional security options, and all Business class features.

2. Slack

slack-screenshot

While Trello helps you track current and future tasks, Slack is a communication tool that is killing emails. Instead of sending an email to your colleague and waiting for a reply, you can drop them a few lines on Slack.

It’s an excellent private channel that lets you exchange messages, files, and links. The service is instantly searchable, thus no message will be lost. You can filter the search results by relevance, recent type, or file type to find exactly what you are looking for.

Slack integrates with a majority of popular services such as Google Drive, Google Docs, Dropbox, Twitter, MailChimp, Trello, Groove and many others. The service offers fully functional iOS and Android apps, so you can stay tuned wherever you are.

Currently Slack offers three packages:

  1. Free – for those who want to give it a try during an unlimited period of time.
  2. Standard – for $6.67 per user/month billed annually. Here you get additional options like group calls, extended file storage for each team member, unlimited apps and service integration, etc.
  3. Plus – for $12.50 per user/month billed annually. This package includes all the features of the Standard one plus additional security options and 24/7 support with 4-hour response time.

3. Officevibe

officevibe-screenshot

Officevibe is a great tool that allows you to see how satisfied your co-workers are. It provides a continual feedback system to help increase productivity, reduce turnover and build a responsible and friendly team.

Use Officevibe to create short 5-minute surveys and send them to your staff. You can set the email to be sent automatically at the necessary frequency. The reports come in real-time, thus you can see what troubles your team and what they appreciate. This tool allows you to quickly find the weak points and fix them.

You can also use Officevibe to promote team building activities and increase your staff engagement in the process.

The service is available for $4 per person per month. Before buying it, you can start a 14-day free trial period.

4. Survey Monkey

survey-monkey-screenshot

When you know the strong and weak points inside your office, it’s time to think about your current and potential clients. And that’s where Survey Monkey is a must-have. This survey creator offers a number of tools to easily survey your clients and analyze the data you obtain. It’s widely used by KraftFoods, Samsung, and other companies.

Creating a survey using Survey Monkey is really easy. All the icons are clearly marked and labeled. Besides, there is a short description of each option. While you are creating a survey, it appears in the center of the page, so you can see in real-time the way it’ll look.

When you are done with creating your survey, choose one of the distribution options: embed your survey into your site or blog, create a link to it and share on social networks, or send via email.

There are four plans available:

  1. Free – lets you have up to 10 questions in your survey.
  2. Select – for $26 per month with an unlimited number of questions.
  3. Gold – for $25 per month/user will give you custom themes, color, and additional reporting options.
  4. Platinum – for $85 per month/user includes all the Gold features plus advanced survey logic, phone support and additional distribution options.

5. Zendesk

zendesk-screenshot

When you use Survey Monkey or Officevibe, it’s you who starts a conversation. With Zendesk, it’s your clients who contact your team first. It’s a ticket-based service that is widely used by companies such as Scyscanner and many others.

Using Zendesk, your clients may create a ticket with their question or issue. The service is very flexible. You can set what fields your customer should fill to create a ticket, add triggers and tags, create auto-replies, sort incoming tickets by question type, create macros for a faster reply, add how-to guides, and so on.

You have 30 free days to try Zendesk. After that you’ll have to choose one of the four plans:

  1. Essential for $5 per agent/month. This package includes basic options like unlimited tickets, Twitter and Facebook integration, agent macros and web widgets.
  2. Team for $19 per agent/month. The Team package gives you a customer portal, branded help center, performance dashboard, etc.
  3. Professional $49 per agent/month. With the Professional package you can create multilingual content, community forums, check analytics and get custom private apps.
  4. Enterprise $99 per agent/month. The most expensive package offers custom agent roles, multibrand support, hourly insight analytics, multiple schedules and other great options.

Wrap

Whatever idea you want to implement in your startup, you should always keep in mind how you will communicate with your staff in the process.

It’s not a secret – the more effort you put into building a strong and friendly team, the higher your revenue will be at the end.

If your staff are not happy, it’ll effect your clients and your reputation.

I hope the tools above will help you create a great and productive team and communicate effectively with your customers. If you know more cool services, share them in the comments below.

Guest Author: Terry Smith is a freelance blogger, former teacher and web developer. He enjoys modern technology and likes sharing his thoughts and ideas with other people. You can follow him on Twitter.

The post 5 Tools Startups Should Use to Effectively Communicate with Staff and Clients appeared first on Jeffbullas's Blog.

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