We have all been thrown into a completely new way of living, and that is in both the home and work life. It will take time to adjust to this huge and literally overnight shift, but there are certain things that will make this easier.
The main thing that means that we can continue to go about our daily working activities, despite the unprecedented circumstances is looking at cloud-based apps. Without the scope of the software we have available to us, working from home for many of us would prove far more difficult, and potentially even impossible.
Our MD has always been somewhat of a “Tech Geek”, always looking for the next app or piece of software to make day to day work easier. Not only reducing the workload for mundane activities, meaning that we can spend more time building relationships with our customers, but also reducing parallax error as a result.
Yet with a raft of software and apps available to us, all vying for their time in the spotlight, how do you know which platform will be best for you and your business?
The simple answer is a lot of time, research and ultimately trial and error. So we wanted to share our thoughts on some of the apps we use on a daily basis, having already been through the trial stage. This list is of course not exhaustive, and different companies may find other apps and platforms more useful for industry specific functionality. However, all the apps we have listed below, has proved to be incredibly easy to use, and remove a lot of the daily frustrations that are all too familiar when running a business.
Passwords are a hugely frustrating yet necessary aspect of everyday life, each time you create an account you are required to enter a password. Trying to rack your brain to come up with an original password, and then ultimately reverting back to your staple password with a few more digits added in. Then when coming to log in to the account you inevitably struggle to remember whether you used revision 1 or 10 of staple password.
I am sure we are not the only people on the planet with this issue, and quite frankly we became fed up with it, so researched password managers and found Roboform.
This has removed a huge amount of frustration that hunting for the scrap piece of paper that has revision 1 through to 20, with many scribbles where passwords have been forgotten and reset. It also has an option to generate and remember complex passwords for you, increasing the security of your passwords 10 fold, therefore reducing the risk of hacking etc.
We use this app on a company wide basis, and every employee has found this easy to use, in addition to enjoying the benefits of the reduced frustration it brings.
Prior to moving onto Xero, we used a rather laborious accounting system, which meant Gina was the only person that could use it – without the need for a 1000 page manual! However this was a system we had used for 24 years, so the move to a new system was a little daunting.
However, we have never looked back! Xero is so intuitive that every member of the team is able to administrate tasks on the system, from apprentices to the directors. It is easy to set permissions so that the relevant tasks can be carried out by the relevant employee, without seeing information not required for them.
Xero have also recently bought Hubdoc – the apps work together and enable purchase invoices to be uploaded, they are then updated on Xero automatically and just need a click to approve.
Getting feedback is useful for any company, whether positive to boost morale or constructive to ensure that processes can be improved to ensure better customer service.
These can be quite difficult to keep track of unless put in a formalised process, which is how we came across Customer Thermometer. It is a very simple yet effective system, that enables templates to be created for whatever you would like feedback on. A simple traffic light system is used for customers to rate their experience, and there is also an option for them to leave a testimonial, which are then easily accessible for you to access and use on social media, or for training etc.
The system also calculates your Net Promoter Score (NPS), meaning it is easy to keep track of company performance as perceived by customer experience. We are proud that out latest score is 100! You can read feedback from our happy clients here.
This app (which is part of 365) is basically a collaborative work-space where you can chat, undertake projects and plan certain tasks. We looked into this initially as we have a lot of information that is important for day to day running of the business.
We didn’t want to clog up emails and our CRM system with internal correspondence – in our experience this often means things are missed, or not properly documented.
Whilst this isn’t something we have used for long, it has been refreshing to easily be able to separate internal and external communication. This has also proved beneficial for keeping an audit trail of all internal conversations, and tasks not otherwise documented.
Way We Do
If you’re anything like us, then processes are constantly evolving to ensure the best possible customer experience. However with this evolving process, teams are required to keep up with the new ways of doing things.
Often this falls to their own notes, which can sometimes result in a decrease in efficiency and potentially accuracy. At the very least it slows down completion of tasks, due to having to trudge back through notes to ensure a task is being completed to the most up to date instructions.
So we were searching for a central place, that every employee could access to ensure that the company wide instructions were followed for internal processes, to ensure consistency. It was also important to us that we found something that could be easily updated, whilst notifying the relevant parties of the changes.
Way We Do provides a perfect premise to create your internal company standard operating procedures (SOPs) or “manual” which can be easily updated and reviewed by those with the correct permissions. This platform also enables you to request staff to sign off on certain processes so an audit trail can be kept, enabling management to identify whether errors are due to attitude or systems.
All of the above apps that Focus use on a daily basis are intuitive and beneficial to our processes and the services we provide our customers. This is not necessarily a direct result but stems from our whole team being effectively informed and trained. Each platform is accessible from any PC, as they are cloud based, and this is what helps tie our processes together – even when we are all working apart.
Please note that Focus are not affiliated to any of these companies but thought you may find our shared experiences useful.