5 Business Tools We Couldn’t Live Without

We all have business tools we use at work.  Most of the time, you can break them down into two categories: (1)  Those we like and (2) The rest that we deal with. There are some that are awesome and others that we would just rather forget about.  The ones that haunt you at night or make you pound your head on the desk.  We are thinking about business tools right now because it's summer which means vacation season.  Right now, it is very possible that either you or one of your co-workers is working with a tool they don't normally use to cover someone who is on vacation.

At Level365, we wanted to share our Top 5 tools we use and like (in no specific order).  How could we rate them in order? It would be like choosing a favorite child. We like them all equally depending on the day, the hour or the minute.

(1) ZenDesk

At the heart of what we do at Level365 is providing cloud-based Unified Communications via enterprise voice solutions.  It’s more than a business voice service; our platform transcends your desk phone by connecting it to your PC and mobile phone giving you flexibility, mobility and insight to work when and where you want. Our service is complicated on our end but simple, seamless and efficient for our customers thanks in part to how ZenDesk helps us manage and support our customers.

(2) Hootsuite

We aren’t Social Media experts by any stretch of the imagination but Hootsuite is a great tool that helps us manage, schedule, coordinate and keep track of our posts.  Instead of having to post individually in Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, LinkedIn and more, you can write your post one time and have it go to multiple Social Media platforms.  Posts can be sent real-time, scheduled for the future or scheduled by Hootsuite on a given day at an optimal time. Our Social Media tends to focus on improving business communications for SMBs between 5 to 500 employees but from time-to-time we also like to write about our experiences in general.   

(3) MailChimp

What’s not to like about MailChimp email platform?  It’s free* and easy to use** for the most part. There are some asterisks here because although MailChimp is free but there are of course some paid options.  Here are our “free” and “easy to use” disclaimers.

*Free:  There are paid options if you prefer additional features, or you have more than 2,000 subscribers or send more than 12,000 emails per month. The paid pricing starts as low as $10 but increases based on the number of subscribers you have.

**Easy to use:  MailChimp is logical and well laid out, but like anything new, you have to spend some time using it to get up to speed.  There are plenty of great resources online but click here for a good overview read and here for a good video.

The process for designing email is great. The templates and layouts are easy to use.  Creating an email is as simple as updating a word document with options to easily layout the email as you want with pictures, columns and Call-to-Action buttons.

(4) Intercom

We use Intercom to help us manage logins to our Web Portal.  Intercom helps us know if users are engaging with our Web Portal to utilize our Unified Communications (UC) platform to do things like check voicemail, view call history, manage answering rules,  forward calls, change greetings and view presence, all of which contribute to more efficient communication. The Intercom platform allow us to engage with customers in real-time on our Web Portal by sending them a pop-up messages or emails.  Intercom is a great way to interact with customers where they are at (on our Web Portal) and while they are utilizing a tool that give our customers access to more information, flexibility and mobility when it comes to using our service.

(5) Slack

Slack helps our teams communicate internally. It helps keep people, projects and tasks moving forward. It just works well and works for us.  A few benefits that our team really likes is that Slack is easy to use, it cuts down on emails and provides us presence information. Despite its name, Slack doesn’t mean what you think it means and in fact it works just the opposite for. It motivates us, provides energy and actually speeds things up. Slack's tagline is the place where work happens. Check it out Slack for yourself here.

Bonus:  Although this is a Top 5 list, we would be remiss without mentioning our favorite tool; our own service.  We are of course a little biased with this one!

(6) Level365 - UCaaS

Level365 offers a complete Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solution with enterprise voice that is customized and scalable for your business.  Our service provides seamless integration of business communications among desk phones, computers and mobile devices to support remote teams and flexibility for on-site staff.  The UC platform extends beyond voice communications with Unified Messaging, Presence, Analytics, Chat/SMS, Cloud Faxing, Business Systems Integration and more. Our favorite feature is not just reliable business voice service, but rather the overall benefits and functionality through our Web Portal and Mobile app that allow us to work wherever and whenever we want.