Tips and Best Practices

3 apps for SaaS that help you operate like an IndyCar Pit Crew

It's such an exciting time here in Indy in preparation for the Indy 500! When I think of the 500, I go deeper than all the drivers. There's SO MUCH that goes into making those cars fast enough to win on race day—the technology, the crews, the mechanics, the sponsors. That's why I wanted to share my own recommendations for how you can collaborate with employees, customers, and more better within your own business.

How much time per day do you spend replying to internal email? Or rely on email to manage internal processes? Or hate your customer support system? Here at PactSafe, we've been able to establish some awesome productivity & collaboration practices from Day 1. Really, I'd like to think of our team as efficient as one of Roger Penske's legendary Pit Crews. There are a lot of apps that have enabled the perfect level of collaboration to help us do our jobs as efficiently as possible. To the point where PactSafe has eliminated internal email. We reserve email exclusively for customer, investor, and partner communications. These are the apps I'd recommend to any business looking to up the collaboration game (while also upping the productivity game). 

1. Slack. Slack. Slack.

OK, so we're not the only ones talking about Slack... but it is mission-critical to our business. Don't know Slack? Slack is a collaboration platform (a "chat" app, if you will) that is incredibly easy to use and can integrate into your core business systems. And it's searchable, making any conversation or file really easy to find.

Get real work done. The energy of the office is invaluable, but sometimes you need to get away from distractions to hammer down and get stuff done. Enter "Do not disturb" for Slack. Using "Do not disturb", you can disable notifications on Slack and focus on getting work done. Very few things at work are super urgent, so when real and focused work needs to be done, click this little guy:

Keep tabs on your business with Slack's integrations. Slack also integrates into our technology stack so we can easily keep tabs on what's happening in one place. Here are some awesome examples:

  • We've added our favorite blogs so that whenever new posts come through we're notified
  • Any time a new customer signs up, it posts right away to Slack (through our HubSpot integration with Zapier)
  • Updates on important customer support tickets go straight to our #support channel
  • Important code deployments are tracked in Slack
  • If I share a Google Doc from Drive, it will automagically replace the link with the name and author of the Google Doc (which makes it searchable!)
  • We've integrated our app into Slack so that I can easily run a slash command (/trials) to see all our active free trials with contact information

Compartmentalize your conversations. In Slack, you can spin off conversations related to any specific topic with ease. For example, when we had a big meeting coming up, we created a private channel for our co-founders dedicated to conversation related to that meeting. That way, we can easily find the room and re-discover the converstion, important documents, and more.

2. Intercom

Intercom has been amazing for us in both enhancing our customer experience as well as engaging our customers to provide quick and specific feedback. For those who don't know Intercom, it's an awesome app that plugs into your website or mobile app to enable real-time conversations, notifications, and analytics across email & in-app experiences.

We've primarily setup Intercom inside PactSafe's app to enable real-time chat with our team. Our customers can give feedback, troubleshoot issues with us, and more. Here's the Intercom setup in our app:

See the little question mark in the bottom right? Any time a customer of ours pops that little guy open, it sends a message to us on Slack:

The benefit here is that we can reply as if we're actually having a conversation with our customers. Novel concept. And it beats the heck out of a more complex support ticketing system for simple issues or for providing product feedback. We also use Intercom for pushing out in-app notifications for major releases, triggering notifications based on customer activity (like when you first log in, you'll get a really nice welcome message from me!).

3. Trello

Trello is an absolutely awesome project management/task management app that really empowers collaboration. I'm relatively new to Trello, but I've been really impressed with a couple of things about it that have made my life easier as I've come up to speed:

  • The "Lists" allow me to easily organize and visualize work that needs to be done and current status. Mike Reynolds over at InnovateMap is a huge Trello advocate and gave me some great tips to organize our workload and collaborate.
  • My boards keep my teams easily organized. 
  • Checklists make it super easy to coordinate many sets of different types of tasks within a specific "card" that needs to be completed. For example, we break out content that needs to be developed by different sales stages with different checklists.
  • The integrations in Trello are AMAZING. Integrations to Google Docs, Salesforce, and Slack make it super easy to keep everyone on the sample page!

The same as any pit crew in the Indianapolis 500, technology can be an enabler in helping you operate like a well-oiled machine. "Heeeeeeeeeee's on it!" Enjoy the race weekend!

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