Let’s talk business. Our work and home lives are merging more than ever, and to be honest it can be a bit of a downer. But there are some new tools available for reaching your office and your audience more efficiently in an effort to really keep work at work.
When you can do most of your job from your laptop, it makes it a little harder to break away. A work email here and a text there, and soon you may start feeling like you never clocked out. With this combination of apps we dug up this week on Product Hunt, you can access your peers and customers in new ways with services that are made just for business.
(Maybe your personal life needs some more efficient messaging too. We covered apps for that in last week’s roundup. And check out earlier posts in the series to find products that help bring peace of mind, apps to increase productivity and innovative services for good.)
Talk to Users
Point and click feedback
Does this sound like an email you’ve gotten in your support inbox?
“You know when you’re on the home page, and then there’s that red button? Well I clicked and something weird happens on the next page and I don’t know what to do.”
Not all of your users are developers or UI/UX designers; actually, chances are most of them aren’t. So they probably aren’t sending you site feedback that’s really easy to understand … or even worse they’re just leaving your site frustrated without sending any feedback at all. Talk to Users makes it easier for any user to share site feedback with just a click.
For example, if a user is creating an account on your website, and the “Login with Facebook” button is broken, they can simply hover over the button to see the Talk to Users icon. From there, they just click and type to explain their problem. On your end, you see exactly what the user is seeing so nothing is lost in translation.
Even beyond customer relations, you can easily share feedback with your designer or developer, using this tool to point out problem areas. No more screenshots with layers of “Paint” on top of them, thank goodness.
Right now, Talk to Users is free to use while it’s in beta.
Responsive HTML emails anywhere you send them
Whether you’re an HTML pro or a rookie, Ink has a solution to help your emails look professional and — more importantly — the same across any email client, even Outlook. After pasting in the HTML for your email, just start playing around with Inky’s Inliner to pick a layout that works for your message.
Inky’s Inliner ensures that your email won’t be stripped of CSS when it reaches its destination. If you don’t have a style in mind for your email, Ink has some templates to get you started.
We rely so heavily on reaching out to customers via email, but with people using so many different clients and services, your messages could get lost in email translation. This solution is a simple one that doesn’t require you to attend a lecture series on responsive email design to make emails that look and work well. (But, they do offer training if you want to become a pro.)
When you download Ink, you get an HTML email boilerplate, a CSS stylesheet and two sample emails for free.
Business on your cell
We use our smartphones for just about everything. Your work contacts mingle with your family contacts, and your phone calls from Mom come in the same way as calls from your boss. This makes separating your work and home life really tricky. Even with separate modes on your phone, there hasn’t been such an expansive phone system for work/home capabilities until Truly.
Truly basically acts as a virtual second SIM card for your smartphone, separating the contacts and capabilities of your needs for work and home. With this complete phone system, you also get features to assist your team with customer support like a business caller ID that not only shows you who’s calling but also what they want. And, by showing you which line is being called, there’s no need to merge your work contacts with your personal contacts.
This phone system doesn’t replace you mobile carrier, it works alongside it. That means it doesn’t work by call forwarding — it calls you directly so you know you’ll receive the call. And as a bonus, you can make and receive calls through your browser!
Text your customers
With a ton of different ways to contact someone, SMS is still the fastest, easiest way to ensure your recipient gets back to you, especially considering how much time people spend on their mobile devices nowadays.
Sonar gives your customers a phone number that they can text to reach your business quickly and conveniently. It’s bringing customer support chat right to mobile devices for people to respond to at their leisure in a way that they’re used to.
On the business’s end, you’re probably not going to want to spend all of your customer support time huddled over your iPhone. Don’t worry, Sonar provides a web-based system that allows you to respond to any question from users. Even if a user doesn’t have a question, you can text them details on their order or just welcome new people to the site.
Rather than have your communication exclusively going to people’s inboxes, buried under days of sales and promotional emails, this is a more one-on-one approach to ensure that your users are having a personal, unique experience with your site.
Sonar is a subscription-based service with varying levels ranging from $20 up to $1,000 per month. See the options here.
Just for Fun: Maker
Telling makers’ stories
One of the best ways to reach your customers is with a story. Maker is a platform for sharing the stories of people making all kinds of different products around the world. Its simple, beautiful interface is pleasant to read, putting the maker in the spotlight. (And being featured on Maker could actually make for a great bit of hero content for your next Ink email!)
Beyond expanding your audience, Maker gives you the opportunity to discover new products in your space and get inspired by the stories behind them.
If you want to tell your story, you can sign up for the opportunity to join their beta starting early next year.
Have you tried any of these products? We’d love to hear your thoughts on how they’ve impacted your communication.