The Top Tools our 2015 Podcast Guests Recommend

Whilst preparing the 2015 Highlights shows I just couldn’t fit all the great ideas and advice in – so over the next few months I’m also going to pull some blogs covering the best elements of our podcast interview shows.

This one (our first) is all about the Top Tools our guests have recommended.

I ask each guest for their Tool Top Tip:

Maybe a collaboration tool, a social media plugin, a phone app, or just a way of working. Is there a cool little tool you use that makes you / your team more efficient day to day?

For this post I’ve grouped their recommendations into these categories:

  • Customer service
  • Outsourcing
  • IT
  • Marketing
  • Team management (by far the most popular category!)

Follow the links if you want to hear the tool being discussed in more detail.

2015 top tools blogTop eCommerce Tools: Customer Service

ZenDesk was the most popular recommendation in Customer Service. Both Val from Lifestyle Labs and Lick My Dip‘s Dave chose it.

With Dave recommending you integrate it with the onsite chat widget from Zopim.

Our other customer service tool tip came from Dorin of Bursa de Anvelope – who recommends the funky little email tool Sidekick which shows you when people open your emails.

Top eCommerce Tools: Outsourcing

I’m a massive fan of the little outsourcing tools online. So it was great to hear 2 of our guests recommending them:

If you’ve not tried them out – give it a go on a little task, maybe some social media research or something…

Top eCommerce Tools: IT

Please don’t assume this is a boring section and jump straight on to Marketing – there’s some great nuggets here!

A couple of our guests recommended their online file storage systems:

Pascal also tipped us off on using VoIP phones – it’s an online phone system that’s a nice alternative to traditional telecom. Also on the subject of phones Eric from Beardbrand told us about Grasshopper, a system where the customer can call in on a freephone number and they can route that call whereever they need to.

Quite a few of our interviewees recommended Google Docs and Apps – but we’re going to cover than in team management. On that theme though Sue of Blacker Yarns prizes Outlook for Small Business ahead of any other Tool.

Top eCommerce Tools: Marketing

Marketing time!

By far the most popular tool overall was Hootsuite for managing social media, recommended by so many of our interviewees I’m going to resist listing them all here!

Linda of Sugru was a mine of useful marketing tools. Recommending both the Facebook Ad Manager mobile phone app, and SuperMetrics which lets you automatically pull data from Google Analytics into spreadsheets (google and Excel).

John from Beads Direct‘s recommendation follows on nicely from Linda – he recommends Google Analytics custom dashboards.

The top-marketing-tool-tip-that-you’re-least-likely-to-have-heard-of award goes to…. William from Maxwell Scott Bags with his excellent recommendation of the digital PR and link building tool Buzzstream – definately worth a look.

Top eCommerce Tools: Team management

It’s time to dive into the most popular set of tool recommendations. With sub-headings because there are just so many of them to cover!

Team management software

If you’re considering adopting one these – I make no recommendations on which to chose, as you really do have to consider your needs and then find the tool that best suits your business. This list is a great place to start…

Team training resources

Several of our interviewees focused on how they create a training resource for the team so that knowledge is maintained in the business:

And the rest of the team management tool recommendations:

  • To keep your non-desk based team members in the loop Alex from Serious Brands recommends providing them with tablets
  • To keep yourselves efficient HoneyTree‘s Sebastian uses Toggl which tracks what time is spent on each task

If you’d like to hear the latest recommendations from our guests – then just visit our podcast page to listen right now, or find out how to subscribe.