Software Stack – The Tools We Use At WP Dude
I love to read blog posts about the software stack other business use to manage their work. As a globally distributed team with clients all over the world, we use online tools for all our work.
I thought I would write a post to share the software stack we use, the cost and how we use them.
Groove is a helpdesk ticketing system, if you ask us to do any work for you, it will be raised as a ticket in Groove.
We have a number of helpdesks or silos for our tickets. One for people asking for one-off projects and one for our maintenance clients to ask for ongoing support tasks.
We also automate tasks such as downtime monitoring and security monitoring, if any issues are noted tickets are raised in the appropriate helpdesk.
We have processes and canned responses in Groove so you always get a consistent working process from us.
To our clients, Groove just looks like email, no logins, no creating accounts but a transparent way for us to collaborate on work.
Check out my Review of Groove
Cost – $15 per user per month.
Trello is my preferred tool of choice to manage our workload and get an instant view on who is working on what.
I’ll write a post soon on Kanban, a project management system that has revolutionized the way we work. But in essence we have different silos for different stages of a projects life cycle form new request, estimate process, accepted scheduling and service delivery.
I use Trello to manage and move our work through those silos so I always have my finger on the pulse with regards to who is working on what.
I’ve been using Freshbooks for about 6 years and I love it. Freshbooks is an estimation, invoicing, expenses and reporting tool. We use it to:
- Send quotations for projects.
- Send out invoices for work.
- Take Payment for projects.
- Chase up late payments automatically.
- Record expenses; recurring and one off.
- Produce reports so I can prepare tax returns.
If a tool cannot play properly with Freshbooks, it is not included in my stack.
Cost – $29 per month.
I don’t have a telephone number for WPDude, all telephone communication is done via Skype. If you are not aware of Skype its a desktop and mobile app that allows voice over IP or internet calls. There are no costs to make calls, which is great if you have international clients and team like me.
I also use it for our Morning stand up meeting via IM with my team to distribute work and I’m available at any time during the day via IM for my team to ask questions and get support from me.
Cost – FREE
We have going on for 100 maintenance clients at the moment, and managewp is the tool we user to manage those sites.
It stops us having to remember passwords when we want to login, it does transactional backups and allows us to do updates and monitoring. A brilliant tool all round and the new iteration Orion is really good.
Costs – depends upon the number of sites you manage
Live Chat & Zopim
I’m flip flopping between the two live chat serves at the moment, I’ll not go over old ground here is my review Experiements with live chat software.
Costs – currently using free Zopim account
My email management system of choice is Mailchimp, I use it to collect email from my lead magnets and clients are funnelled into a client list.
I send out regular blog posts notifications and the occasional sales message.
I have an automated email sequence attached to my lead magnet.
I use mailchimp over the other because it integrated with everything else, are you getting the message I don’t like to do manually tasks when an automation can be setup.
Costs – dependant on list size I pay $29 per month
I take all payments via Paypal. It’s universally trusted online payment processor.
I get to withdraw my payments as they are made, whereas other make me wait for a week (I’m looking at you Stripe.com).
It integrated with everything, it’s a no-brainer when coming to payment processing in my opinion.
Costs – transaction fee per payment $0.05 + 2%
Not really a tool but the glue that holds everything together via automation.
When you raise a call from the form at ibraininc.com/wordpress-technical-support it creates a ticket in Groove. At the same time a blank estimate is created in Freshbooks ready for me to complete.
When a ticket is created in Groove a card is added into Trello so I can manage my Kanban project management.
I have daily scheduled tasks that tell my team to check backups and updates, these are created as tickets in Groove.
It may sound small but these small integrations save me hours of tedious manual re-typing each week. It also allows me to automate and control my process much better.
Check out my Zapier review
Costs – depends upon numner of zaps I pay $15 per month.
My Search for A CRM
My constant search for a good CRM continues. I really like Contactually but it is so expensive. I tried Highrise but there are no automated reminders I have to setup tasks.
What I’m looking for is a tool that automatically adds new contacts from Gmail or a Zapier Integration and them prompts me to follow up every 90 days.
All suggestions welcome.
There are a few tools I have trialled and are excellent but we are not using
Basecamp 3 – I would move over to basecamp 3 in a second but there is no API yet.
Helpscout – a great helpdesk system but a bit to heavy in addons compared to Groove.
Wrap Up – Our Software Stack
I’m constantly evaluating new tools with a view to improving our software stack and project management processes.
What is in your stack, what software as a service could you not do without, answers in the comments below I would love to know.
Would you like to hear more about building a service agency like WP Dude? Again comment are open below.