Q. What tools (analog or otherwise) are you using to avoid email backlog among your team members?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Because half of our company is based in Berlin, our European headquarters, we rely heavily on Skype as a key source of communication between team members. We’ve found it to be much more efficient to conduct Skype calls, chats, video calls and even conference calls than to exchange five to 10 emails on one topic. My co-founder and I have even had several 2 a.m. Skype business calls.
– Marvin Amberg, Caseable
All of our customer service emails are flowing through FuseDesk, which links to our CRM Infusionsoft. This keeps complex, long-running discussions with clients out of our inboxes. As a bonus, we can track responsiveness to clients and see the conversations, so our message is always clear and consistent.
– Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems
We use Basecamp to manage projects, which keeps our collaboration on projects “in the cloud” instead of needing to search through and reply to endless emails. If needed, team members can still receive email notifications, but we have the information stored in Basecamp to ensure that we don’t lose important communication in the trenches.
– Patrick Conley, Automation Heroes
We started to use HipChat a few months ago. It’s a very simple messaging service, and the app is available on mobile too. It has helped limit the amount of emails, and more importantly, it’s enabled us to speed up the process of finding solutions to issues. Being able to quickly ask for feedback has helped us cut down on the amount of meetings we have too!
– Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches
We encourage our team to post any non-critical messages on our internal social network, Yammer. This helps us avoid email clutter and gives us an opportunity to share links and testimonials from customers as well as praise each other for a job well done.
– Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh Inc
7. A Private Facebook Group
We use a private Facebook group to share non-essential information among our team, such as announcing an upcoming party, sharing good news about the company or celebrating an employee’s birthday. This way, urgent emails are in the inbox, and the fun stuff is on Facebook.
– Sarah Schupp, UniversityParent
Confluence is a fantastic wiki application built by Atlassian. We use it rather than sending team emails because information can be liked, commented on and archived within an external email system. Because it’s much more searchable than email, information that needs to be asked about doesn’t live in email — if you have a question, you check the wiki first.
– Charlie Gilkey, Productive Flourishing
9. Yammer and Hall
We have found in our office that tools like Yammer and Hall are far more effective and efficient than long, chaotic email strings. Actually, we encourage our employees to steer away from email. It is my biggest pet peeve when someone loops me into a 25-page email string and gives you no clue why. Am I supposed to read all of this? There’s no way that’s happening.
– Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media