After Gabriel Weinberg wrote about us in Services I Pay For, I thought I’d do the same. The only difference is that I’ll write about services that we pay for at HelloFax.
Uservoice Help Desk
When we got started, I would reply to ever email individually. I slowly realized that I was re-writing answers to the same 40 questions over and over again. Uservoice has this great feature, called a “canned response”. What you do is search for the most commonly asked question and insert it. Then, you can personalize it to each person (see below). The trick is to write like a human, not a robot. We went through hundreds of customer support emails and put our answers into the system.
Plus, as a user is writing in, Uservoice dynamically displays the user your Frequently asked questions, as they’re writing the question. So, many times Uservoice can answer their question, before they send the email.
We compared Uservoice and Zendesk; we ultimately went with user voice. Zendesk has amazing integrations with other services. But, we found their interface and ironically their customer support, lacking. With all the time we’re saving, signing up for Uservoice feels like we hired someone dedicated to customer support.
Olark lets you chat with visitors to your site, in real time. It’s one of those service you’re not sure you need, but once you use it, you realize you can’t function without it. There are many moments when someone visits your site and may have a second of indecision or a question. If they’re confused, they’ll leave and never come back. During those moments, a visitor can chat with one of us and solve whatever question they have. Plus, we also get the benefit of learning what those confusion points are, so we can improve the service. It’s also great to see people visiting your site in real time. It’s motivating to see people using your service in real time.
Amazon Web Services
Surprise surprise. Your biggest services use AWS for hosting, since it’s insanely simple to grow your infrastructure. I’ll leave it there.
We’re still in the free trial, but so far, so good. We just needed a way to communicate as a group, since gchat wasn’t cutting it. HipChat came highly recommended.
Google Apps for Business
We signed up for Google Apps for Business mainly to use gmail as our email provider. The gmail interface rocks and we don’t have to deal with mail servers. The only downside is that sometimes outbound emails have issues; so, I have to send the email from my person email account, which is unprofessional. But, it’s not incentive enough to switch.
Mailservers are just difficult to deal with and unless you’re a massive company, it’s not worth spending the time managing them in house. Mailgun has an extremely simply api and they’re do what they do really well, which is send email. Plus, their customer support is wicked fast.
We use mailchimp for all of our email newsletters. I just realized that we’re paying for 3 difference services that deal with email. The thing is, each emailing need is different and you need a tool that is focused on doing that one job really well. Mailchimp is one of those few tools that combines great user experience with something extremely useful.
Bug tracker that’s been around since the beginning of the internet. What’s not to like?
Github is just awesome.
If you think about it, you spent a lot of time each day deciding where to eat every day, going there, waiting for the order, eating, paying, then walking back to the office. Magnify that by the entire company and that’s a lot of hours. So, we get ZeroCater three times a week.
Having the right combination of services is helpful to having a company run well. Plus, you need software that will scale with you as you grow. We put a lot of thought into these choices, so I hope it helps.
Any great services you feel I left out? It’d be great to look into.