In Part 1 of Inside Grenade, we looked at Google Apps for Work and I explained how we use it at Grenade and gave reasons why it’s a great solution for just about any business ranging from start-ups to corporates. In this post I’m going to list 3 web-based applications that we use extensively for customer support and operations.
Freshdesk is a cloud-based customer service platform that allows you to centrally manage your customer support. Headquartered in India, the company has grown dramatically in the past five years since it was founded and it now has offices in the U.S., UK, and Australia thanks in part to funding from Tiger Global, Accel Partners and Google.
Although Freshdesk wasn’t first to market and is smaller than its direct competitors, namely Desk.com (acquired by Salesforce) and Zendesk (listed on the NYSE), the company is extremely innovative and we decided that it was the best option based on our needs after trialling other platforms. We use it at Grenade for managing both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) support requests and staff members have their own logins so that the appropriate person can respond to a ticket. We particularly like the fact that you can configure multiple email addresses and domains in Freshdesk (info@, sales@, support@ etc.) which makes it ideal for managing several products and services from a single account. You can also use Freshdesk to add live chat functionality to your website or to power an FAQ section and it’s really easy to convert a response into a new FAQ. There are a host of other killer features which make Freshdesk a good option for most businesses. If you or your company are still managing your customer support from an email inbox you need to give Freshdesk a try!
Pricing is linked to volume and feature requirements but it’s free for a basic account with up to 3 users.
If you’re a hipster or a yoga fanatic, you probably know that “asana” is the name of a yoga posture. This was pretty deliberate as the Asana app is equally as flexible and good for your health as its physical namesake. In a nutshell, Asana is a powerful collaboration tool that was founded in 2008 by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and ex-engineer Justin Rosenstein. Asana’s slogan, “Teamwork without email” also serves as its primary value proposition as the app allows teams of people to work collectively on projects and track tasks without touching email (although, ironically, an email is sent out by default to all followers of a project alerting them when a task has been completed). Asana boasts an impressive list of companies that use it including heavy hitters like Uber, Airbnb, Pinterest, Dropbox, and Foursquare.
The real beauty of Asana lies in its simplicity and the fact that it can be used for many other things besides team collaboration. Tasks can be assigned to team members or made private so it’s also a great tool for managing a personal todo list and storing ideas. An added bonus is that it integrates with Google Apps so team members don’t need to create a separate account and can login using their Google credentials. All of our projects and operations are captured in Asana and we use it to drive our weekly team meetings which shows you how much we love it at Grenade!
The Asana pricing structure is extremely attractive for start-ups and smaller companies with 15 employees or less because… it’s Free! Flexible pricing plans are available for larger companies depending on the amount of users.
There is no shortage of HR solutions in the market today but most of them either form part of expensive enterprise software packages or they need to be installed and maintained on your company’s intranet. This is a pain point for many businesses that require a simple, cloud-based HR solution for things like leave tracking and approval, storing employee records, and managing recruitment. This was the problem that a start-up called TribeHR set out to solve and they’ve done a pretty good job as they were acquired by NetSuite in 2013.
Although we predominantly use it for leave tracking and approval at Grenade, TribeHR has several powerful features that make it great for recruitment, sharing company news, employee recognition, conducting performance assessments and so forth. For us it has completely eliminated files and unnecessary paperwork while still allowing us to store critical information and generate reports when needed. It’s also made it convenient for our staff to apply and keep track of their leave.
Pricing is linked to volume and feature requirements but it starts from as little as a few $USD per employee per month so it’s very affordable for most companies.
I hope that you enjoyed reading this post and please return in the near future for another installment of Inside Grenade.