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19.10.2017   00:32   Project Management
How to manage a remote team: best tools and practices
 

Many small businesses and startups tend to work remotely, because it helps to cut the expenses greatly. Commonly encountered remote workers are among others designers, accountants and customer support agents. To successfully handle such teams you’ll need to master the basic principles of employee management. But to get the best out of your remote team, you’ll have to use the new strategies and recent digital tools. We’d like to share some of the best such tools and practices in this article.

Prioritize consistent communications

To truly succeed with a remote team you need to make your employees feel engaged. It’s quite a daunting task if you don’t see them every day. That’s why you need to make your communications consistent, so that every employee feels they are a part of a unified team.

  1. Everyday briefings will show your employees support from your side and genuine interest in their work.
  2. Weekly feedback is very important, too. Especially if you make it less formal. Schedule an online meeting where you can discuss work results and plans for the next week, share ideas and insights. Don’t forget to thank your employees for the work.
  3. Quarterly meetings contribute to improved team collaboration as well. You can analyze current team performance and outline further development plans.

Choose the best digital tools

It doesn’t matter if you have a huge enterprise or a small startup, you’ll benefit from using modern technologies and tools regardless. For effective work of a remote team you’ll need tools for project management and task tracking, project collaboration and discussion, collaborative document editing, document sharing.

  1. Use messengers like Slack, Telegram or WhatsApp for team collaboration and project discussions.
  2. For document sharing, meeting planning and video calls there are Google Drive, Hangouts, Google Meet.
  3. For task management within a remote team use ourDeskun plugin.
  4. For online meetings and discussions there are tools like Join.me, GoToMeeting.

Invest in personal meetings

When working with remote employees, it’s really important to organize personal meetings. Hold offline events for all employees, and you’ll be able to effectively rally your team. We know that hotel rooms and plane flights are quite expensive, but consider it an investment in your business stability and prosperity.

Clearly define roles and responsibilities

When you clearly state the roles in your team and define the work order, you’ll shuffle off misunderstanding, and your employees will prioritize tasks and plan their time more accurately. Usually remote workers are quite organized and disciplined themselves. However even most confident people might feel anxious when the roles and responsibilities are blurred. When you start a journey with a new remote team member, be sure to clearly state the duties and expectations. Provide the following information:

  1. Clearly defined tasks with deadlines
  2. Contacts of the team members who can help
  3. The place where those tasks are fixed (e.g. task management app), KPIs
  4. Weekly or quarterly plan to fulfill
  5. Internal support contacts for any questions or problems, contacts of a senior manager to appeal to in emergency cases
  6. Information about other company employees: current positions and contacts

Demonstrate their contribution to the company growth

Nowadays employees don’t stay with one company for decades anymore. So it’s really important to motivate them for professional development within a certain company and demonstrate how they contribute to its growth. When people their contribution to the overall company success, their efforts will pay off even after dismissal.

The main tip for remote team management is to treat each employee as an individual because teams with identical people don’t exist. Use the best digital tools to always be in touch, make your expectations and roles clear and don’t forget to guide and encourage your workers. Then your remote team will become a valuable asset.


 
 
25.09.2017   22:05   Project news
New version 1.2.7.0
 

Our team works on Deskun improvements and updates non-stop. We push for fixing all bugs identified on the spot and adding new features for our users.

Current Deskun update (1.2.7.0) includes the following changes:

  • Plugin load time has been greatly reduced.
  • Now you can move multiple tickets to another channel at once.
  • New feature – message tracking notifications. You set up notifications in your Control Panel, or for an individual message before sending it.
  • Improved chat channel navigation.
  • Now it's possible to change a ticket's owner. They will receive all notifications related to the ticket.
  • System notifications now have their own unique look and place. New chat messages are now also displayed as notifications.
  • Fixed several minor bugs and improved overall system stability.

Deskun updates automatically, you don't need to worry about extra downloads of any sort.


 
 
18.09.2017   16:10   Project Management
5 tasks every freelancer should automate
 

The ultimate objective of everyone freelancing is to manage their time wisely. The money making process takes a lot of time and energy. You need to finish your tasks on schedule and take care of other important things to keep your freelance business successful. You need to keep looking for clients, discuss work details with them, schedule calls, prepare invoices and much more. You are losing potential profits by spending a lot of time to accomplish these tasks. Luckily, there are many automation tools and resources to help you out.

1. Prospects search

Without new prospects and clients your freelance business will fade. But it doesn’t mean you have to open the Upwork tab and just wait for it. Use automation! There is an amazing tool for you, and it is called “Google Alerts”. Create an alert for “[niche keyword] + hiring now” or something similar. You’ll be notified of new opportunities daily or weekly based on the settings. This way you can always keep up on your prospecting.  

2. Client communication and task management

Most beginner freelancers communicate with their clients via email. It’s not a bad solution when you have a few clients and your inbox isn’t cluttered with other stuff. But let’s admit it: daily emailing routine takes a lot of time. That’s why there are many online tools that help you save time writing emails. As an example, minimalistic Deskun lets you communicate with your customers, discuss task details, share required files and much more. Within the same interface you are able to manage your tasks, create handy checklists, sort tasks by priority and deadline. Try it now!

3. Call scheduling

If you receive lots of calls from prospective employers and clients, or you often discuss project details over the phone, you’ll definitely benefit from automation. To forget about pen and paper call scheduling, try Calendly, CoconutCalendar or Appointy. WIth one of these services you will be able to indicate time periods when you can take a call. Your clients will always know when to reach you, and call scheduling won’t bother you anymore.

4. Bookkeeping

When you start your freelance business, you probably don’t have a bookkeeper at your side. As your clientele grows, you need to issue invoices, make sure they are paid and much more. Those are time consuming and decidedly not-so-fun tasks. Here comes automation! Save your time and sanity by using individual tools like QuickBooks to create invoices. Sometimes pricing is done on an hourly basis.  You can streamline the time tracking process too. Use simple tools like Toggl for high-precision automated time evaluations.

5. Social media management

Social media is a powerful source of new prospects. You need to constantly update and improve your Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter; and that’s a great target for time investment. You can automate your social media management with apps like Hootsuite or Buffer. Schedule quality posts for a week ahead and you’ll be surprised with how much time it saves.

You can also use Deskun to combine all messages from prospective and existing clients alike within your Gmail. This way you’ll be sure no Whatsapp message or tweet is missed, and you’ll get rid of many open tabs and apps.

Finding your prospects, managing tasks, call scheduling, social media management and bookkeeping are important tasks for your freelance business. But if you want to spend more time making money, use all the latest advances in automation.


 
 
14.09.2017   22:19   Project Management
One productivity advice that will make you happier
 

Many of us fall into a mental trap of forgetting how productive we really are. And sometimes the huge amount of tasks we have performed during a day seems insignificant. We regret that we did not do enough and could have done more. The fuller our day is various activities, the harder it is to define, what exactly we have accomplished.

Entrepreneurs and top managers are more likely to fall into this trap. Especially given the anxiety and burden of responsibility that weigh heavily on their shoulders. Ambitious people tend to value themselves accordingly to the progress towards certain goals. They often neglect small but important victories they make every single day.

Everyone has been in this situation: you are doing lots of work, making phone calls, replying to emails and don’t even have time to grab a bite. You get home completely exhausted and wonder: “What the hell have I actually done today?”. To avoid this trap, you have to learn one simple method. It’s called the done list. In fact, it’s the opposite of the todo list.

The method is really simple. You write down every useful thing you accomplish, even if it seems negligible at first. E.g. “Finally replied to client A emails”, “Drafted a post blog”, “Made an important phone call with partner B”. At the end of the day, take a look at this list. You will be amazed by how much you have actually done. It’s much better than going through your daily checklist and regretting the tasks you did not do. The done list will give you pride and relief instead of frustration and devastation.

Find your small wins. Make it your daily habit, and you will realize, how important and valuable it is to mark down the “insignificant” accomplishments. A road to big achievements is full with obstacles, and not everyone is courageous, strong and successful enough to make it to the end. If you if you don’t recognize and celebrate your small achievements, you will lose heart. Don’t sit and wait for major milestones. The amazing little triumphs are happening to you every day. Create the done list, and it will invigorate and strengthen you to accomplish great things.

Based on Businessinsider materials


 
 
07.09.2017   00:11   Deskun updates
New version 1.2.6.0
 

Our team works on Deskun improvements and updates non-stop. We push for fixing all bugs identified on the spot and adding new features for our users.

Current Deskun update (1.2.6.0) includes the following changes:

  • Added WhatsApp messenger support.
  • Added the feature of scheduled ticket creation and email scheduling for messages within tickets.
  • Chat widget now supports files upload.
  • Improved the Control Panel navigation.
  • Fixed several minor bugs and improved overall system stability.

Deskun updates automatically, you don't need to worry about extra downloads of any sort.


 
 
01.09.2017   18:04   Project news
Deskun wins two help desk software awards from FinancesOnline
 

Great news folks! Deskun just leveled up after going through the review and rankings of trusted B2B directory FinancesOnline.com, giving our software a score of 8.0 out of 10 and a perfect user satisfaction rating of 100%. Reviewers cited how our multichannel help desk solution is able to help companies and organizations deliver high-quality communication and customer service to clients via email, live chat, social messengers, all within the familiar Gmail interface.

The operation is straightforward. From Gmail, your agents are able to streamline communications with clients and deliver top level support regarding customer issues and queries. Deskun combines multiple customer support channels within the Gmail interface to provide better and faster support provision and at the same time manage the tasks of support teams. Such convenience and capabilities got the thumbs up of FinancesOnline, conferring on Deskun its 2017 Rising Star Award and Great User Experience Award for online help desk software. It was also mentioned in their guide to help desk software among other popular solutions of this kind. The awards are prestigious symbols of merit for products that carry outstanding features and have gained traction with customers for their total usability. We are grateful for the recognition that proves Deskun is performing well and helping its users.


The accolades, however, didn’t stop there. FinancesOnline’s dynamic algorithmic scoring and rating, coupled with the awards, pushed Deskun’s overall ranking. It is even mentioned on the platform’s list of best Zendesk alternatives, joining other long-time, big-name help desk software products. All these achievements we share with our users who have put their trust in Deskun to automate and simplify tasks relating to customer service and communication support. We are more than thrilled that we got the approving nods of both our users and industry experts.


 
 
17.08.2017   00:40   Deskun updates
New version 1.2.5.0
 

Our team works on Deskun improvements and updates non-stop. We push for fixing all bugs identified on the spot and adding new features for our users.

Current Deskun update (1.2.5.0) includes the following changes:

  • Agents can send images and files from chat channels.
  • Now you can filter tickets by last modified date.
  • You can specify message subject, recipient and BCC lists in message templates.
  • In the chat widget settings you can set an email address to receive messages from clients when operators are offline.
  • Messages in Deskun: Snooze folder are now automatically sorted by snooze time.
  • Now you can merge several tickets into one.
  • Now you can split selected messages and notes from one ticket and make separate ones.
  • Fixed several minor bugs and improved overall system stability.

Deskun updates automatically - you don't need to worry about extra downloads of any sort.


 
 
14.08.2017   21:08   Customer support
Top 10 rules for live chat customer support
 

Live chat is a great tool for engaging with customers. 42% of users prefer using it to contact support teams. Chat widget on a website helps to increase sales, leads to better customer satisfaction and reduces the cost of organizing support services.This all works if it’s used by properly trained and highly qualified customer support agents who follow proper rules of communication. We would like to share top 10 principles that will help your support team increase their performance and deliver amazing support in a live chat.

Rule #1. Don’t keep your customers waiting. If they see there are operators online, they expect immediate reaction. 79% of users prefer live chat because they can get immediate answers to their questions. So don’t fail your customers’ expectations. To ensure prompt reaction to new live chat messages, we have implemented sound notifications in Deskun.

Rule #2. Keep an eye on spelling. Follow spelling and punctuation rules, try to avoid jargon and professional terminology, because it can confuse your client. Never write in CAPITALs, don’t use shortened words like “lol”, “btw”, “asap” and other Internet slang. Make sure your support agents are properly trained before they start working with live chat conversations.

Rule #3. Introduce yourself. It’s considered good manners. When you say “Hi” and introduce yourself with your real name, it gives your customer the feeling of communicating with a real person as opposed to a robot.

Rule #4. Be friendly and polite. There’s nothing worse than a conversation with a dull support agent who uses only template responses. A friendly and cheerful mood will help you win the client's heart. And it’s the best “weapon” against angry and disappointed customers. The statistics claim that 75% users expect support agents to be friendly with them.

Rule #5. Always be honest. Never lie to your customers. If the client's’ problem cannot be resolved right away, admit it and tell the truth. Inform them about the time it could take to resolve the difficulty. If you are responsible for the issue they are having, take the blame. If you make any promises, be sure to fulfill them.

Rule #6. Keep a positive attitude. Even if you are bearing bad news and everything went wrong. Try to build your sentences in a way to prevent panic and negative reaction from your client. Admit that there is a problem, but give the information in a positive manner. Instead of “everything is broken and we have lost your secure data” try “We are working on this issue at the moment and hopefully we will restore your data in up to 5 hours”. Avoid the words “we don’t”, “we can’t”, “we won’t”.

Rule #7. Stay on the subject. While it’s important to be friendly and polite, it’s also crucial to remember the ultimate objective of the conversation – to resolve the client’s issue. When talking to a sociable person, there’s always a temptation to support the dialogue, move away from the topic, or tell a funny joke. Try to overcome it. By moving away from the topic you waste your time, while it takes only 42 seconds (on average) to resolve the initial customer issue.

Rule #8. Be empathetic and caring. We all know that there are lots of angry and disappointed customers. Instead of arguing with them, try to understand their problems and sympathize with them. Empathy is the magic pill against frustration. Give sincere apologies, let your customer know that you understand their issues and struggles. It was observed that empathetic support increases customer satisfaction ninefold.

Rule #9. Don’t abandon the conversation. It’s a common situation when the customer doesn’t reply to your messages right away. There might be various reasons for this; such as important phone call, urgent task or something else. Make sure that your client is online. Politely ask them about that several times with an interval of 1-2 minutes. If you don’t get a response, you are within your right to close the conversation.

Rule #10. End conversations on a positive note. Don’t finish the conversation immediately after the problem is resolved. Ask whether your client has other questions or suggestions. Thank them for their time; it’s really important. When saying goodbye /parting, don’t forget to wish them a good day.

Of course this list is incomplete, but following these rules will definitely increase the performance of your support team. Live chat from Deskun allows you to customize its appearance. Make it proactive by setting up automated initialisation and greetings. There are handy message templates for any immediate reactions to customer requests. Moreover, you can share files and images with your clients. Here is how to set up a live chat widget with Deskun.


 
 
20.07.2017   05:07   Deskun updates
New version 1.2.3.0
 

Our team works on Deskun improvements and updates non-stop. We push for fixing all bugs identified on the spot and adding new features for our users.

Current Deskun update (1.2.3.0) includes the following changes:

  • To represent the newest changes in a more logical way, queues have been renamed to channels
  • You can now set up a support service using online chat in addition to email
  • You can now link your social network accounts (Facebook, Vk.com), messengers (Viber, Twitter, Telegram, Skype) to Deskun and add chat widgets to your website
  • Completely redesigned Control Panel
  • E-mail tickets that haven't yet been completely uploaded to the current mailbox have an upload progress bar now
  • Ticket search now also searches in notes within tickets
  • Project owners can now delegate their access rights to others
  • Fixed a number of bugs in ticket creation and reply processes that arose in some situations
  • It is now easier to work with a large number of templates - template lists now have scroll and search bars.
  • Templates now support several new tags, you can see them on the template and autoreply edit pages.
  • Fixed several minor bugs and improved overall system stability.

Deskun updates automatically - you don't need to worry about extra downloads of any sort.


 
 
14.07.2017   19:33   Customer support
Deskun: Key features for email customer support
 

Our previous blog posts featured new Deskun options – live chat widget and messengers integration. However, multichannel customer support can’t be organized without email channel. Many customers consider it the best possible way to contact a company.  

In Deskun, you can use any email address for receiving client inquiries. After the simple setup, you’ll have all the emails sent to that address converted into tickets. You can assign a ticket to a particular employee, set priority, deadline and much more.

Working with tickets in Deskun

Deskun has a number of useful features for efficient processing of customer requests. First, there is collision detection or ticket lock. If an agent has already picked a ticket up, it becomes locked for other agents.

While resolving issues, agents are enabled collaborate behind the scenes using internal notes. These notes are invisible to customers. For instance, you can leave an important message when assigning a ticket to another agent, share some details about the client and so on.

In Deskun, you can create HTML message templates to use them in typical responses. You can create templates for yourself, or even share it with a team. Other handy options are email tracking and Snooze.

In addition, you can manage multiple tickets at once. Mark them read or unread, change their statuses, priorities, and deadlines, or assign to an agent.

More on managing tickets and organizing email support here.



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