6 reason why GSuite is the new black


Wondering if GSuite is the best possible choice for your business?

With so many alternatives available on the market, making the right decision may be truly challenging. Things get even harder when your company is already accustomed to another solution. In that case, is switching to GSuite really worth all the hassle then?

In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the most unique advantages of GSuite, as we think it’s the best solution available out there. Ready to find out why GSuite is the new black? Keep on reading to learn more!

First of all, what exactly is GSuite?

GSuite (formerly known as Google Apps) is an extended suite of Google’s intelligent apps, tailored specifically for business purposes. There are three main pricing options available: GSuite Basic, GSuite for Business and GSuite Enterprise.

To name just the most prominent options, GSuite Basic allows you to set up a custom email address, share calendars to schedule meetings through Google Hangouts, store files in the cloud and collaborate in real-time on Docs, Sheets and other documents.

Apart from all the features included in the Basic plan, GSuite for Business comes with:
  • unlimited storage for your Gmail inbox, Google Photos and Google Drive files
  • company-wide file search to access company content across Google Drive, Docs, Sheets and other GSuite services
  • shared drives so you can still access all the files, even if a team member leaves the company
  • advanced administrator features, including extensive activity reports, security keys and more
Last but not least, when it comes to the Enterprise option, its main advantages are related to advanced cybersecurity.

Sounds good, but what’s in it for your business? Here are the 6 main reasons why GSuite is one of the best solutions available on the market:

GSuite makes you look more professional and reliable

Think about it: are you more likely to trust someone who sends you an email from an address like this:

name.surname@gmail.com
or like this:

name.surname@companyname.com?
The answer is probably obvious in this case. When you receive an email from a customized company address, you’re much more likely to trust the sender. The business appears as more reliable and serious. If someone messages you from a private email, you might be suspecting they’re a part of a young, unorganized business – or, in the worst-case scenario, scammers. First impressions matter!

With GSuite Basic, you can set up a company email address for as little as $6 per user per month. The GSuite for Business option costs $12 per month and comes with loads of cloud storage as well – 1TB if the company is smaller than 5 employees, unlimited if it’s bigger. For what you get, it’s an amazing value for money.

GSuite is suitable for all businesses, big and small

No matter if your organization consists of 5 or 5,000 people, GSuite for Business is sure to meet your needs.

When it comes to small and medium businesses, GSuite is a huge productivity boost. If you haven’t been using a business app suite before, you’re going to be surprised how much smoother things can get when you start working with a good cloud-based solution. GSuite’s shared drive, file sharing features and compatibility with common file formats (including .docx and .xls) make it the perfect work facilitator for companies in all shapes and sizes.

What about particularly large companies, though? GSuite for Business solutions work like a charm, but if you need extensive security controls and activity monitoring, GSuite Enterprise is exactly what you’re looking for. This one is Google’s most extensive app suite, created specifically for huge corporations. If you’d like to learn more about how it works, you can read the Forrester GSuite report. You’ll find out how GSuite can help you save 21 days per user per year (which in many cases equals the annual leave) and decrease the data breach risk by over 95%. The numbers speak for themselves!

GSuite if perfect for work on the go

This situation may sound familiar to you: after leaving the office, you receive an email. The task is almost completed, all you need is to make a tiny little change in the document. A really tiny one, just two clicks and it’s done.

Does it mean that it needs to wait until you get home? Or until tomorrow morning?

It doesn’t if you’re using GSuite – it’s perfectly suited for work on the go!

Apart from Gmail and Google Calendar, you can also use Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and other GSuite applications on your mobile devices. What’s more, if you get inspired on the commute, you can use Google Keep to take notes and come back to them later. As GSuite is a cloud-based solution, all your data will remain perfectly synchronized between devices. To top it all off, GSuite is available for the vast majority of operating systems, including iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone.

GSuite was made for collaboration

This one’s particularly important for those who value remote work. If you’d like to work together on a document, you don’t need to sit next to each other. Many users can access the same file at the same time, add comments, suggestions and make edits right away.

Sounds good but a little generic? A good example is a collaboration between a copywriter and an editor. The writer shares a Google Docs file and the editor can either edit the text or add comments and suggestions for the writer to accept or decline later. Here’s how it looks like in action:





What’s more, you can access the whole revision history, too. This is really helpful if you’d like to come back to the previous version or see what changes have been made. To sum up, GSuite gives you control over your files and makes working together so much easier! A win-win solution, isn’t it?

GSuite works well for outbound email campaigns

This one is a small feature, but it might be really important for some users.

If you’re into email marketing, GSuite for Business has another major advantage which can be a game-changer for you. It allows you to authenticate outbound mail through DKIM and SPF records. This has a positive impact on your spam rankings, which is crucial for good deliverability rates and successful outbound marketing campaigns.

Last but not least, GSuite can be customized according to your needs

One of the best things about GSuite is its dedicated community. If a particular problem needs to be solved, you can always look for a solution on the GSuite Marketplace. There are thousands of add-ons available for all kinds of fields, from administration and accounting to sales and marketing.

Need an example? Shared Contacts for Gmail is a popular GSuite extension for sharing contact lists within an organization. It’s particularly useful for big companies who work with many clients. You can also read more in our blog post on the best GSuite add-ons.

Key takeaways for your business

As you can see, GSuite has a wide range of applications in business. It can help with improving your team’s productivity and collaboration processes in many different ways. No wonder it has a market share of over 55% worldwide!

If you’re not using any cloud-based apps in your company yet, we highly recommend you start your journey from GSuite. We’re sure that you’ll never want to go back! On the other hand, if you’re already used to another system, we still encourage you to give it a try. Google offers a technical guide to GSuite transition to make this process as simple as can be. Why not see for yourself?

The importance of contact sharing - why should you share contacts?


While working in any organization, one of the most significant aspects of productivity is knowledge sharing. Thanks to aggregating information, your team can achieve better results. By getting access to more information, your employees can boost their performance. To fully benefit from knowledge sharing, you need to provide tools that enable sharing data and helps to automate this process.

You can say that sharing contacts is easy and you don’t need anything extra to just do it - however, this applies only if you have one or two contacts to share. With more of them, it becomes tricky and risky to share them over any communicator. This is where handy tools step up and make your organizations’ work a breeze. Shared Contacts for Gmail is just one of the examples - it makes sharing easier with the feature of creating numerous address books, sharing them and keeping them updated for everyone who has been granted access to them.

Read on to find out why your employees should have an easy opportunity to share contacts with each other - and why it is so important to deliver them tools that help in terms of sharing.

Save time

Do you know anyone who likes wasting time? We neither. Being productive at work is one of the keys to success. You may not think about it, but actually sharing contacts in any organization can cost a lot of time and annoyance of your employees who need to do it all over and over again, or update tools on a daily basis.

Saving time it one of the most crucial aspects of sharing contacts - and the reason of trying external tools for many. While typing in contacts manually can take many precious minutes and hours, using dedicated plugins boosts this process. Once you share contacts with your employees, you can also save some time of your customers and business partners, as the communication will be much faster and more adjusted to customers’ needs. Instead of spending time on tedious tasks, your customer service team or salespeople will have more time to focus on what is really important in your business.

[case 1]

You are in charge of organizing an event, there are four people in your sales team. You main goal is to sell some booths, right? Each salesperson has its own address book, some of them even have the same contact in their address book (let’s say, a contact to a very important decision-maker) but they need to update it individually if any new info pops out. It is tiring, time-consuming and, simply put, annoying. Why is that? Gmail does not allow users to share contacts with each other. As ridiculous as it sounds, it is true and can make work a nightmare.

Obviously, salespeople would like to work on the same, regularly updated in real-time, address book, to save time and efforts. With Shared Contacts for Gmail, you can share contacts with your coworkers and, therefore, seal your deals quicker.

As a salesperson, you can share your address book with the users and groups of your choice. You choose who can edit it or delete it, as well as some sync options. Even though you shared it with others, you still have some control over it. When you share the contact manually, you may lose sight of it. The address book you’ve created is now available for everyone you granted access to.

Contacts are synchronized, sales department is happy, clients’ data is automatically synchronized in the shared group, booths are selling fast. Simple as that.

You may not want to look back and try to share contacts over sticky notes.

[case 2]

Imagine a school where 100 teachers give lessons to ten classes, but there is only one leading teacher in each class who has contacts to all parents of the students. Then, imagine that one teacher would like to contact a couple of parents, regarding a school trip, and another teacher would love to get in touch with parents of a particular student who is extremely talented and should be sent to a special competition.

The struggle is real.

Whoever worked at school knows that it is one hell of a ride, and asking colleagues for a single contact may take ages. This is where Shared Contacts for Gmail comes in handy, helping big and well-structured organizations share contacts within teams. Hassle-free. And in seconds.

Enable smooth communication

How often does one client require contact from several teams? The answer is simple: very often. Sometimes clients need help from customer service, and sometimes your sales team needs to email them for another reason. Within one organization, every procedure can be simplified, once data are shared. Needless to say that it helps a lot if your team for some reason encounters a huge rotation, or when team members have days off. No one would like to be disturbed during their holidays with mails and asking about one single contact. So, if apart from taking care of your clients’ satisfaction, you want to take care of your staff happiness, do not let them react during the holidays and have everything sorted before their days off.

[case]

Take a look at our short & sweet case study with Lyska!

It’s as short as the implementation of our plugin is.

Support sales

Tools like Shared Contacts for Gmail can be helpful for the sales team while its members approach new customers. Your company’s agents can have easy access to potential customers that have already been contacted and to the new ones that are interested in your offer. They can be also brought down the funnel and everyone in the sales team can be kept in the loop. According to some tactics, the sales team should be divided: there should be some people in charge for prospecting and then in charge of selling and closing the deals. Sharing contacts can ease the pain of this process. It plays even more important role if your company does not operate on CRM and is not willing to get one. Well-customized Gsuite, along with Shared Contacts for Gmail, can successfully replace CRM and skyrocket your sales process.

Actions speak louder than words - and case studies speak louder than actions, so take a look at another example of successful contact sharing with Shared Contacts for Gmail!

Sustain the communication

Life is unpredictable. Even if you can count on your employees, you do not have control over their personal issues or even health. To avoid the situation when an unplanned absence of a team member influences your relationship with a client, you need to make sure that employees share important data, including contacts. The sooner you act, the sooner you can be sure that the data about clients and contacts is securely stored, and you won’t have to worry about any circumstances.

Managing 600 craftsmen is not a walk in the park. Especially, if your challenge is...

“They needed to restrict the use of their drivers’ mobile phones to only contacts and calls, and wanted the common address book to be maintained only by a few admin staff.”

Find out how Myer Construction sorted it out.

Secure your data

We can be sure that in almost every organization, employees share contact one way or another. That is why providing a plugin for that procedure is so crucial. With a dedicated tool, your company’s data will be safe. While sharing contacts, pay attention to managing access. You probably do not want everyone to access an entire list of contacts. You can share groups of contacts with the right employees and let them edit or update the list. Sharing sensitive contacts on a piece of paper or in the form of a sticky note is not really safe, and you need to admit it. With Shared Contacts for Gmail, you have control over who can edit, who can delete, and who can sync contacts in a common address book. This way, you can be sure that no one who is unauthorized won’t access your precious list of contacts.

How to share contacts for Gmail?

If your company uses Gsuite or even individual Gmail accounts for contacting and communicating, you are a lucky one! Even if Gmail itself does not offer any native features allowing for sharing contacts directly in Gmail, with a small yet powerful plugin available in G Suite Marketplace it is more than possible.

Shared Contacts for Gmail can be a game-changing feature for organizations that use the Google ecosystem for everyday work. Within the G Suite universe, your employees can share documents, spreadsheets, and contacts - and now they can easily and quickly share contacts. To get this feature, you can use a plugin, such as Shared Contacts for Gmail.

With the help of the tool mentioned before, you can not only share contacts but also manage permissions, so that the right employees can have access to appropriate contacts and edit them. But only if a manager enables that. The customization and settings are up to you and can really make your teamwork a breeze.

Shared Contacts for Gmail is supported on mobile phones/ tablets & Microsoft Outlook, and it automatically updates every single change on all of the devices. So that your employees have immediate access to the updated information, this solution is intuitive and easy-to-integrate with Gmail. That way, your co-workers can seamlessly share their contacts with each other and benefit from each other connections if needed. Your customer service team, account managers or salespeople will definitely thank you for that.

It is also safe, so you don’t need to be afraid of the leak of any sensitive data regarding contacts from your organization. Limited API access protects the privacy of your contacts so that no one unwelcome will not get your data. Shared Contacts are supported on your own domain, sub-domains, and on external domains so do not worry if you have an email address different than @gmail. We still got you covered.

Wrap-up

Many companies underestimate the power of sharing contacts in the organization. There are many reasons behind it - some of them think it is not safe, others claim that they do not need it. There are also companies who do not implement it on purpose, for example, their sales team does not want to share their clients’ relations and contacts in fear of stealing contracts within an organization. No matter what your reasoning is, it is high time for you to open your eyes and appreciate the smooth contacts’ sharing. It can make work easier, more effective, quicker and more satisfying.


We truly hope that now you can clearly see the purpose of secure sharing of contact within the organization and will consider doing more in terms of sharing! Start today - use Shared Contacts for Gmail and boost your team’s productivity. It is available via Google Marketplace, easy, user-intuitive and very light, so no one will face any problems with onboarding and implementing to their everyday tasks. Good luck with improving your company’s performance!

Sales teams: Do you really need a CRM?


Modern sales and customer service teams are responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with prospects and clients, which is not an easy task. Nowadays, consumers are not only well informed about the products and services they want to buy but also demand excellent and personalized customer experience. They require an immediate reply and don’t hesitate to buy a product from a competitor if the initial customer service doesn’t meet their needs. No wonder that salespeople do their best to meet the growing demands of the clients and at least consider investing in digital tools that help them to put data in order and automate repetitive tasks. CRM is an example of such a tool and it’s so popular that many salespeople consider it a must-have.

“In fact, salespeople don’t always need a CRM.”

Although we agree that it can facilitate lots of processes for some teams, especially smaller, it can be overkill. In fact, salespeople don’t always need a CRM. What they need is to turn leads into clients and to turn clients into loyal ones.

CRM may be helpful but it’s not a must and we strongly believe its alternatives are at least worth considering. In fact, 90% of companies use CRM only as a contact database, so it’s safe to say that their needs can be addressed using simpler and cheaper solutions. But before we move on and present the most popular CRM alternatives, let us first explain what exactly CRM is and why it’s worth to consider different options.

What is CRM and who needs it?

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a popular software, used by salespeople around the world. Its main purpose is to organize information about leads, clients or stakeholders and to automate communication with them, whether the goal is to close a deal, increase brand awareness, nurture long-term relationships or offer customer support. The main goal of CRM is to improve business relationships and profitability and streamline processes. It also helps to handle customers’ issues raised in different channels (email, instant messenger, fan page, just to name a few). CRM can perform a wide array of tasks and its features often include order management, ticket support management, mass mailing management and more. Each record tells a story about a relationship between a customer and a company, since the initial interest. And each brand can learn a lot about their customers from such stories.

Apart from basic contact details, CRM can contain transactional information, customer’s place in the sales funnel, interests and more, even public social media information. CRM can also be integrated with accounting, call center and other software which enhances its functionality. What is more, it’s increasingly common to use a cloud-based CRM which is a flexible and usually more affordable solution. All this information can be visible to the entire sales and/or marketing team, even working from distant locations or on the go. Sounds useful, especially in providing personalized offers on a big scale.

In short, among the biggest advantages of CRM you can easily find:
  • a centralized database of leads and customers - accessible for the team members no matter where they work,
  • identifying and categorizing leads and customers,
  • offering more efficient and personalized customer support,
  • standardizing the salespeople’s workflow. 
CRM is mostly used by companies with big customer base, that perform lead generation and nurturing campaigns and offer customer support. When there is a relationship to maintain there may be a need for a system that automates it. However, you don’t always need CRM to get all the abovementioned advantages. At the end of the day, you want to close the deal and maintain relationships with customers, that’it. Investing in CRM may be a good way to do that, but not the only one.

When you don’t need a CRM?

Many CRMs are complex platforms that require some time to learn and to set up and that can be costly. It’s not always the case as there are solutions available in all shapes and sizes, but many small teams need a fraction of the possibilities that popular CRM offer. In the case of a small company with not so many clients, one contact manager that uses email as a communication tool can be sufficient. Another example is a company that cooperates with a few big and returning clients. In such a case, tailor-made communication is more important than automation and can be achieved without any CRM.

CRM Alternatives

Common Contacts Repository

As we’ve already mentioned, 90% of companies use CRM as a contact database. The truth is, having a shared database of contacts may be the most straightforward way of keeping all the relevant information about customers and maintaining relationships with them. What is important, you don’t need to invest money, time, and other resources on implementing a new tool. Such a database can be successfully developed in well-known Google Contacts. Apart from keeping contact information there, it’s possible to create custom fields and notes on top of the regular contact details, which could make Google Contact an efficient sales tool.

However, there is one major issue with that - Google Contacts doesn’t have an option to share such a database with other people. A plugin from Shared Contacts for Gmail solves this issue making Google Contacts a fully functional sales tool and a valuable alternative to any CRM.

Common Drive and Word Processor

MS Word, Google Docs or either paid or free alternative is accessible and easy to use software that may be used by sales teams to gather contact information, make notes and comments. Each client can have a separate folder on a shared drive (Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive or another) with all the important files, including the document with contact details, preferences, purchase history and any other relevant information.

Cloud-based versions make it easy to share the documents and collaborate in the team, no matter where each person is located. If needed, it’s easy to generate a PDF or even print the information by those who prefer offline, pen and paper ways to deal with information. It’s probably not the most efficient and recommended way of performing sales, but it’s extremely simple and accessible to everyone - office packages are widely taught at schools.

Spreadsheet

MS Excel, Google Spreadsheets or alternatives are much more common in sales that you may think. In fact, lots of salespeople have started their careers using spreadsheets and they’re quite used to work with them. Spreadsheets can be a simple and efficient way to organize information and calculate numbers. They can also serve as efficient lead trackers. Just enter an input date, lead name, lead email and phone number, funnel state, the name of a person who is nurturing this lead and notes. Now you can see the number of leads and sales per salesperson, per day and per stage by using filters or pivot tables. Simple as that. Similarly, you can track cold calls and emails or closed deals. It’s even easier when you download a ready-to-use template from any sales repository.

Similarly to the text editors, cloud-based spreadsheets are easy to share and collaborate and lots of people are familiar with them before they enter the job market. What is also important, thanks to the cloud-based tools there is also no risk of deleting data accidentally - every change is saved and it’s easy to restore every piece of data.

Trello and other kanban boards

Project management tools can also be used as CRM alternatives. It’s possible to set up free and popular kanban boards like Trello to meet the needs of the sales team. The most straightforward sales kanban board may consist of such five columns:
  • prospect detected,
  • prospect contacted,
  • prospect followed up,
  • client won,
  • client lost.
Another board example, more detailed and proposed directly by Trello is:
  • Contacted us,
  • Ideas,
  • Contacted,
  • Leads,
  • Meeting arranged,
  • Pitch / Demo done,
  • Won (deploying),
  • Contact again later,
  • Lost.
Of course, boards can be adjusted to the needs of a specific team and Trello shares various ready-to-use templates. Each lead can be easily moved between the boards which shows the overall sales flow and a stage the lead is currently on. Such boards are also available for everyone who has access, no matter the location or the device they use.

Email

Email seems to be the most obvious and straightforward way to contact leads and customers. In fact, it is the most common way to communicate with anyone online in the written form. No wonder it’s massively used by salespeople around the world. Advanced mailboxes, such as Gmail, have become much more than messaging tools. Apart from sending and receiving email and gathering contact information, Gmail offers calendar integration, notifications, tasks, tags, filters and other useful features that can be used by salespeople. Gmail integrates well with other tools that belong to the G Suite ecosystem and is easy to use on mobile.

However, even Gmail has some limitations. First of all, it doesn’t allow to share contacts with other people, which is a major bottleneck in sales.

Shared Contacts for Gmail solves this issue by letting salespeople share and update different contact information with each other. Thanks to this small but powerful feature email can become a fully functional sales tool, easy to use and accessible to anyone.

As you can see, in some cases investing in CRM is inevitable but we only recommend it when the scope of work and data is massive and various. For smaller teams who communicate with a smaller number of clients, simplicity is the key. At Shared Contacts for Gmail, we believe that Gmail enhanced by sharing contact information between different people can be a powerful, fully functional and accessible sales tool.

7 useful extensions and plugins for GSuite





GSuite (previously known as Google Apps for Work) is one of the most popular sets of cloud-based business tools worldwide. According to Datanyze, it has a market share of more than 55% – which means it’s even more popular than Office 365! As of January 2018, it was used by more than 4 million paying businesses, and the number definitely grew a lot since then. Some of the biggest companies using GSuite include Salesforce, Atlassian and Verizon. With such an impressive portfolio, GSuite is really keen on sharing its success stories.

The GSuite universe is truly extensive. You could say it covers all kinds of business needs, from communication (Gmail, Hangouts, Google Calendar) and file storage (Google Drive) to productivity (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Sites).

This wide array of options doesn’t mean that GSuite is a completely finished product. A large community of users is dedicated to creating different extensions and add-ons to get even more out of Google’s powerful tools. 

When users are asking for new functionalities, Google is not able to implement them fast enough. Instead, third-party plugins are built to meet the most urgent needs much faster. Thanks to an active community of GSuite users, a huge choice of add-ons is available on the GSuite Marketplace. It’s not a niche source by any means – many plugins boast millions of users!

In this article, we’re going to cover 7 of the most useful extensions, add-ons and plugins for different GSuite apps.

Ready to improve your experience and boost your productivity? Let’s jump right in!

Gmail plugins – our top picks

Shared Contacts for Gmail



When your customer service (or sales) team is growing, so is your contact list. With the volumes increasing fast, your agents are no longer able to share all the contacts with each other manually. The bad news is, Gmail doesn’t offer a solution to synchronize all the contacts within an organization. The very good news is, there’s a dedicated app for that!

Shared Contacts for Gmail was designed for companies who would like to share common contacts within their organization. The main advantages of this plugin include:

  • Simplicity: in one click, you can share Google contacts lists the same way you share folders in Google Drive or Google calendars.
  • Flexibility – Once synchronized with SCFG, your shared contacts will be synchronized with your mobile or your Microsoft Outlook.
  • Different access levels – Just like with Google Drive, certain users may be allowed to edit or only view the contact list
  • Cross-domain support – You can share contacts with users of your G Suite domain, but also with users of other domains or @gmail.com users.
  • Advanced administrative features: Administrators can restore lost contacts at any point of time or check logs of who has shared, deleted or removed contacts anytime.

Mailtrack

Source: Chrome web store
Imagine a situation that probably sounds familiar: you’ve sent an email and got no response at all.

Then you’ve sent one follow-up. And another one.

Still, you feel like you’re talking to a brick wall.

At this point, you find yourself wondering: did someone even bother to open these emails at all?

Well, this question doesn’t have to remain unanswered. Mailtrack is an email tracking app which will show you if, when and how many times some has opened the email you’ve sent them. The double checkmark sign visible next to the email means that it has been opened already. If you wish to stay updated all the time, you may also choose to receive push notifications on your desktop.

Google Docs plugins – our top pick

LanguageTool




If you write for a living, you’re well aware of how hard it is to proofread yourself.

Fortunately, there’s a tool that can do that for you! LanguageTool is a smart proofreading add-on which supports more than 25 languages! Apart from English (together with regional varieties), the list covers German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, as well as smaller languages like Polish, Slovak, Danish, Tagalog and even Esperanto.

It’s a brilliant tool not only for non-native speakers. Typos and grammatical errors happen to everyone – having a plugin which will correct them for you is a huge time saver!
Easy Accents


Easy Accents is a really useful plugin if you’re writing in different languages often, or even more if you’re using words in different languages within a single piece of content. Instead of switching from one keyboard to another, you can insert different accents (e.g. German, French or Spanish) directly from the Google Docs sidebar.

That’s right – no more typing “u umlaut” and copying from Google Search results.

Google Slides plugins – our top picks

Pear Deck



Our best tip for successful workshops and lectures?

After you share the knowledge, make sure your audience remembers the main points.

Pear Deck is a Google Slides add-on which can add interactive questions and quizzes to your presentations. This way, your lectures will instantly become more fun and memorable. You can choose to add multiple-choice questions, true/false buttons and even drawing modules to unleash creativity.

While most of the extensions featured in this article (and most GSuite add-on in general) are based on one simple concept, Pear Deck is quite an extensive tool. It offers many customizable features with a wide range of applications, from primary school lessons to employer branding events. Highly recommended!

Lucidchart




Having plenty of data is one thing – presenting it in an attractive way is another.

Drawing ideas on paper is a natural way of explaining a concept – why not make it digital, then? Lucidchart Diagrams is an intuitive plugin for creating diagrams and charts. It is used by many brands from the prestigious Fortune 500 lists, including Adobe, Hewlett-Packard, Netflix, Amazon and General Electrics.

Lucidchart comes with 500 different templates, drag and drop menu with elements in all shapes and sizes, as well as a wide range of integrations with other tools. Apart from, obviously, GSuite, the tool can be integrated with Slack, Jira, Salesforce and other popular SaaS products for business.

To top it all off, there’s a free version available – if you’re not creating particularly large diagrams, it will be enough for your needs.

Google Forms plugins – our top pick

Form Notifications



When you create a survey on Google Forms, you’re probably not opening it every day to see if there are any new answers – unless you’re very passionate about it.

It’s much more convenient to receive notifications instead – you won’t need to keep refreshing your form every now and then.

Form Notifications add-on was created to make your life easier. This add-on can send email notifications to both form respondents (e.g. thank you messages) and form creators (e.g. when you meet a certain response threshold).

Summary

As you can see, there are plenty of different GSuite extensions, plugins and add-ons available on the market. They have quite a wide range of applications, too, from education to business analytics.

This is the power of the community at its best – when there’s a problem that needs to be solved, someone is going to come up with a solution in the form of a dedicated plugin. If you’re struggling with GSuite for whatever reason, be sure to check the Marketplace first – it’s quite likely that the fix you need is already there!

Customer Service Mistakes you never knew you always made



The customer experience can be a blessing or a curse. Giving your customers only the best is no longer a luxurious privilege but a standard in terms of customer service. While some companies underestimate it, others make the most of it, winning more leads and deals.

A customer support team does not have to be the easiest nut to crack. They need to deal with tasks and calls, messages and complaints, take care of current clients but are also often involved in acquiring new ones. Where to find the time and energy to actually deliver results and build relations with customers? That is the question.

As we mentioned, some companies already know the power of customer service, but it does not mean that they make no mistakes at all. Below, you can find some of the most common blunders (and some ideas of how to avoid them).

COMPANIES DO NOT CARE ABOUT THE CUSTOMER SERVICE TEAM

If your approach for hiring people for the customer support team is nothing more than “the cheaper and quicker, the better”, then it should not come as a surprise if they can be misfits. Proper onboarding takes time, as does finding the right people. Understanding the importance of onboarding is crucial for making your team work in the most efficient way, with full dedication and motivation. Once you provide such training, you can be sure that your team has all the necessary information to start working on building relations with your clients. If they don’t understand your product, they won’t understand your clients’ needs and, therefore, the customer service experience they deliver will be unprofessional.

Onboarding is one thing, another story is about the size of your team. If you expect two people to handle thousands of calls and mails, then you may be in trouble. Extremes are never good, though - if your team is too big and unorganized, you can struggle with information flow and effective performance.

62% of companies view customer experience delivered by contact centers as a competitive differentiator. / Deloitte

COMPANIES DO NOT COLLECT OR PROCESS DATA

So much data, so little idea about what to do with it. All that data is not here to make your life worse or more difficult, it is here for you to make the most of it. Once you know how to process data, you can offer better customer experience and any evaluations of your performance. You also can recognize some potential bottlenecks, problems and challenges, both internally and externally, among your clients or team members.

For some, obtaining some useful data may seem to be a challenge, however, there are a few helpful solutions to save you time and money. For example, if you need to handle a lot of inbound or outbound calls within your customer service department, you should have a lot of data at your disposal. Why? In such cases, no matter why your client contacts you or is contacted by you, you have complete information about their actions: e.g. the history of orders or the number of logins. You don’t need to ask them further and waste their (and your) time. Tools for call center management (such as CloudTalk) offer features like call tracking, call statistics or even automated callback, so you can deliver a flawless customer experience and make your calls great (and short) again. Needless to say that they offer many integrations that can make work a breeze.

90% of customers said they have had poor experience seeking customer support on mobile / SoftwareAdvice

COMPANIES ARE NOT RESPONSIVE ENOUGH

If you think that replying to a client’s message after a day or two is acceptable, we hate to break it to you. You should be responsive like crazy: some companies have just a couple of seconds or minutes response time on social media, and they reply to customers’ needs or messages quickly through chatbots or plugins on their website.

While planning your response process, you need to take a few factors into consideration. First of all: stay on the platform where clients contacted you. Your clients hate changing platforms, and why would you actually mess with it?

Of course, slower responses during weekends are acceptable, but neglecting your clients during working days can cost you… losing them.

67% of customers mention bad experiences as a reason for churn / Huffington Post

COMPANIES DO NOT WANT TO UNDERSTAND CLIENTS’ PROBLEMS

It may take you a really long time to find out what exactly your clients are looking for and what problems they need to encounter. However, you need to do it and your customer support team has to do their best to understand clients’ behaviour. To identify problems, you may need to go the extra mile and analyze some insights from your website. It can turn out that one button failure cost you a lot of potential deals. Instead of guessing what could have caused problems, it is better to dedicate yourself to a constant analysis of your performance. You can use tools for high-quality session replays to check out what areas of your website can see some room for improvement.

Once you receive some feedback, you should take it seriously as it is a huge part of the improvement processes. All feedback is useful, even if you are not able to implement it straight away. If some comments occur on a regular basis, it can be a clear sign for you to start thinking about adding such options.

COMPANIES DO NOT INVEST IN TOOLS

Seeing tools as an expense, not an investment, is such an obsolete approach. In an era where tasks can be automated to help your team achieve even better performance, managing all processes manually is just passe.

While some software will be of help for only specific industries and cases, there are quite a few tools that each customer service team should have at their disposal. One of them should be Shared Contacts For Gmail that can help exchange information between your customer support team and your sales team. And it all works with just one simple Google extension.

While Shared Contacts for Gmail will help you untangle your Gsuite communication, it is understandable that you may need a bit more, especially if you work with many customer service agents and need to handle a lot of client-related issues on a daily basis. This is where tools like Zendesk or Freshdesk step up, offering quite a few features that can make your customer service team work like a charm. What is more, you can integrate tools with each other (for example Zendesk with the aforementioned CloudTalk), providing your team a powerful suite of customer support tools. Integrating data between tools gives your team a batch of crucial information about each and every client, and can help you put your customer service back on track.

Communication clutter can be a killer of productivity and efficiency in each and every company, so you should take care of these processes in your organization. Otherwise, you may identify bottlenecks within the company, not out of it.


Of course, there are still a lot of mistakes that companies can end up making when it comes to customer service. After all, many of them are still learning how to use it. They start training their staff and, actually, start realizing why it is so important for their company’s success. Eliminating all of your mistakes will not happen overnight, but having a fresh look at your performance is a great start. Good luck!

Best tools & tricks for boosting productivity: golden hints from 15+ experts


How hard it is to stay focused and productive? In the era of communication clutter, staying concentrated on your tasks and overcoming challenges is harder than ever before. 


We created Shared Contacts for Gmail to help you and your team stay productive with automating tedious tasks of sharing contacts. Today, we decided to ask other business and marketing experts about their suites of tools and tricks for skyrocketing productivity. Curious as what they told us? Take a look at their comments below. 


Take advantage of automation


In the digital transformation era, new technologies changed the way we work. While improving productivity in your team, you should automate repetitive tasks. There are two main reasons why it is so crucial. 


First of all, it is incredibly time-saving. Not only that the job is done without human effort, but also it takes no time. The immediate answer plays an essential role when it comes to customer service. For example, chatbots can handle basic questions from your customers, but once a complex inquiry appears, a system can hand it over to a human agent. Therefore, you do not need to worry about the quality of customer support, but at the same time, you provide instant and relevant answers. 

The second reason why it can be beneficial to use automation is that your team can focus on the bigger picture and more meaningful responsibilities. Once you automate boring and repetitive tasks with tools, your coworkers can more effectively manage them. Let's face it - your teammates will be much more motivated to solve challenging issues while they are not overwhelmed with dozens of monotonous duties.  


Maja Schaefer, CEO at Chatbotize


Choosing the right collaboration tool is crucial for boosting productivity in a team. Having all the discussion, comments and files within one app is a huge time-saver, as no one gets distracted with looking for something in many different places. If you manage to get collaboration and project management right, the productivity will follow. There is no one-size-fits-all – I highly recommend trying out different collaboration tools to see which one is the perfect option for your company.


Cristian Mudure, CEO at Stackfield


My productivity is a mix made of my creativity, my self-discipline and my toolbox. I use a lot of tools for making my work a breeze, but there is one that impacted the productivity of my social media team. This tool is called Kontentino and can be used for social media management, for us it is also a great collaboration tool in terms of social media content. Our clients can approve content in a heartbeat, which helped us increase our productivity and save a lot of time on operational tasks. 


Kinga Odziemek, Creative Owner at Brainy Bees


When thinking about productivity, think about your strategy first. Start from the bigger picture and have a closer look at the data, both quantitative and qualitative. What are the most urgent problems your customers are facing? Make these burning issues a priority – this approach will help you use your resources in a more effective way. 
The point here is that many people try to guess what are the most promising fields for improvement – and this makes their efforts hugely unproductive. Instead of taking a shot in the dark, you should turn to data first – the answers are already there.


Kamil Drążkiewicz, CEO at LiveSession


Much has been said about productivity and how to keep it on a high level. In my opinion, the most important aspect that affects productivity is: time, or quoting the famous song "So little time (so much to do)". The number of tasks to complete is increasing, while the time needed to do them is decreasing. It is therefore extremely important to master the art of time management. However, some tools can be of use. To put it more simply, they help save a lot of time (and nerves!), which in turn can be spent on finishing other tasks or resting and relaxing because regeneration is also a key element. Being tired and stressed means being unproductive.


Aga Cejrowska, Descra


Tools are all well and good, and we have tons of apps and other instruments to control our productivity level. Most of them allow to plan time better and get rid of distractions. But none of them will make you more productive if you have no motivation to work or do something. That's why my tactic would be to focus on your productive triggers -- habits and activities that bring you closer to your goals, motivating you to act.


For example, I become more productive when a deadline snaps at my heels. I hate being late, so deadlines become my trigger to work and therefore become more productive. One person may be more productive when working under pressure, and another may feel inspired when the fun and the laid-back environment is around. The trick is to find those triggers influencing your productivity and motivating you to work. It will help to organize time accordingly.


Lesley Vos, Content Strategist at Bid4Papers


To increase my productivity, I measure my time for most of my tasks at work, using a time tracking tool like Toggl. I've found out that some tasks drain a lot of my time (such as handling emails) while bringing very little in return. I also found out that I spend about 80% of my time as a writer researching and only 20% or so actually writing. That way, I learned that I need to get more efficient at research and stop looking at my Instagram feed as much as possible during working hours.


Mile Zivkovic, Copywriter at Chanty


Get an early start of the day
Always try to wake up earlier, as much as possible. "Clean" the most important things in early start, look at the schedule for this day and the prime to-do list. 


Turn of Distractions
Avoid frequent usage and chat on Viber, WhatsApp, Telegram desktop apps, as much as they make life easier they can make huge distractions in your daily work habits. Also juggling between tabs in your browser will put you out of focus.


Visualize before action
If you have some specific workflow that you cannot insert into immediate action, try to visualize. Draw or write down on paper, create flowchart, diagram and make the complete process visual.


Make your task list shining
Always track your task deadline, clear finished tasks and reschedule overdue tasks if necessary. Don't create just a bunch of tasks, connect your tasks with a key objective and use milestones. Milestones serve as your visual project guide. 


The tools that I’ve been using:
Notion - for wiki's and personal to-do's 
Loom - for quick video clarifications (to reduce time spent on unnecessary meetings) 
Calendly - for scheduling appointments 
Milanote - workflow sketching, diagrams, content collaboration 


Jovan Miljevic, Head of Marketing at Nifty


I have 3 tips for being productive: do your most important task first thing in the morning, have only 2-3 important & urgent tasks on your to-do list everyday (these are tasks you need to get done not tasks someone else wants you to do) and work less. The last tip is super important because busyness doesn't equal productivity. Focus on output over input and do whatever it takes to get the output. My boss says it doesn't matter if you work from  9 to 5 or 9 to 12 as long as the work is done. 

Also, for me tools matter a lot. Those who perform at the highest level often have the best tools that fit their workflow and tools can give you an advantage over someone who is just as hardworking but lacks the tools to supercharge their productivity. We at Venngage use Trello for every project / department weekly sprints, Zapier for automating manual tasks and I personally use Superhuman for email. These 3 tools alone when used to their fullest extent can help you keep you in your work rather than outside it.

Aditya Sheth, Content Marketer at Venngage


There are two productivity tactics that have been key for me. Number one is Notion and the processes outlined in there. First of all, before Friday ends, I always have my to-do list for next week ready. This keeps me sharp and allows me to execute with tenacity and without time waste.


All those to-dos are connected with macro goals and important files I need. I think that friction is our enemy on many fronts, including the way we operate internally. You wanna eliminate unnecessary steps and keep flows simple. It's precisely why we have all our processes as checklists in Notion, from creating or distributing content to Facebook Retargeting.


Another productivity boost that's proven to be super important is when you make your tool stack work together. How? With native integrations, Zapier and custom APIs. Even Michael Jordan figured out he can't win rings working alone. Our tools are the same. It's much easier for me to do email outreach if I can automatically import leads into ongoing campaigns or get notifications I need on Slack. But there are a lot of things you can do here.


Vukasin Vukosavljevic, Head of Growth at Lemlist


Given that productivity is a function of how much a person or team can produce in a given amount of time, saving time through efficient communication is key to boosting productivity. That’s why I’ve found that the best way to boost productivity is to streamline communication and collaboration in an all-in-one communication tool. This allows teams to find all of the features they need to efficiently collaborate in one place, and is particularly useful for teams working with remote employees. 


For example, the creative process can begin with a brainstorming session on a virtual whiteboard and continue in a dedicated chat room where colleagues can easily keep track of projects, and relevant new members are automatically added or removed. Features such as sending instant screenshots to many people, screen sharing with remote desktop control, and sending broadcast messages to a group or entire teams can also make communication more efficient and streamlined, and most importantly, save you valuable time.


Nikola Baldikov, Digital Marketing Manager at Brosix


I'm able to do the most work if I prepare in advance on what I'm going to be working on and what am I trying to achieve. Just like you prepare your gym clothes a day before I make sure I have my desk ready to start. As for tools, I use extensions like:
- GoFuckingWork - to block off sites
- Facebook Newsfeed Eradicator — which prevents me to go to Facebook

And of course, I use every software that speeds up repeatable actions. For example, aText which expands text, flycut which allows me to save multiple highlighted texts into clipboard or Alfred where I assign workflows for basic tasks. 

Dejan Gajsek, CEO at Grow + Scale


One of my favorite productivity tools is called IDoneThis. It’s like a project management app that is much simpler in nature. In essence, it’s a short list of tasks you or your team need to do. Every time I go to Trello or Asana, I jump to this app instead, because it’s quicker, easier to use and frankly, it makes me feel better. You can add small, daily tasks and tick them off as soon as your done for that sense of accomplishment. It also makes it super easy to track what your employees have done for the day.

Carsten Schaefer, founder and CEO at crowdy.ai


My two cents: Pomodoro technique and the Productivity Challenge Timer app. Great combo, specially for students. I used to learn like this and it helped me learn a lot more faster. You just download the app, put your project and click "begin work session". You have 25 min to read and learn and then you rest for 5 min. Four times like that and you take a longer break. It really boost our productivity but also it fights procrastination. This is the app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wlxd.pomochallenge&hl=sr

Nikola Komazec, digital marketer at Balkaneum


Automate your sales 


Lots of people in business lose quite a lot of time on business proposals and documents, especially sales reps. This can be automated with a quality proposal software, which should enable you to create modern proposals in just minutes. 
My productivity tip is to keep your sales process no more complicated than 3 steps: 

1. Start with the client meeting to build a relationship with the prospect and get the necessary information to get the project done.

2. Afterwards, send a proposal with your product/service specifications and T&Cs, which can be signed online. Once you set up your winning proposal template in a proposal software such as Better Proposals, this step will take you just a few minutes as you’ll only need to edit a few client-related bits. 

3. The last step is the famous follow-up. Good proposal software tools give you the opportunity to receive a notification when your proposal gets opened, downloaded or signed, so you'll know exactly when to follow up. Also, they should give you the information about which page the client has viewed the most. This will allow you to create a tailored email which points their biggest interest and will get you their feedback faster.


Petra Odak, Marketing Executive at Better Proposals


Would you add anything to this impressive list? Let us know!