Happy birthday, us!Hard to believe, but it was exactly ten years ago today that we launched the original (aka Classic) version of Batchbook.It was a cold New England night when we sent Batchbook out into the world, never imagining that 10 years later it would still be cold in New England. Or that our small business CRM tool would come to help tens of thousands of businesses love their customers. As our way of saying thank you to so many friends for staying with us for so long, and journeying into the new world of social media, cloud solutions, automations, machine learning and lighter shades of blue, we’d love to send you a little blast from the past. Please enjoy…
Working from the coffee shop this morning I gaze down a quaint southern street filled with a combination of pumpkins, mums, hay bales and, already, Christmas lights. This small town is often celebrated for their holiday Lights Festival but I’m guessing you’re seeing hints of the holidays on your street corners as well. Each year as we’re deciding how we’ll share holiday cheer as a company I start prepping my family & friends list too. While I love plastering my loved ones with pics of my adorable brood, I run into the same stumbling block every year — old addresses! My friends move around a bit and I’ve been quite lax about keeping their addresses current. This means each year I’m met with…
Most of our customers have several users working in Batchbook. I thought I’d take some time to go in depth on how to set up a shared workflow for multiple users. With automations, you can pass tasks between team members, keeping the ball rolling.
A workflow is a series of steps that your team needs to complete. In Batchbook, those steps often revolve around the contact. For instance, you may have a workflow to work with a new lead until they become a customer. Or you may have a workflow that your team follows to onboard new members to your service, or to provide quality support and follow up.
For my example, I’ll be creating a workflow that takes someone from a new contact to a fully onboarded client for a business services firm.Read More
Recently, I found myself writing new knowledge base articles about tags in Batchbook. I was surprised to find that we didn’t already have articles about tags. Afterall, they are a central feature that we talk to customers about a lot on the support team. Using tags = categorizing your contacts. That’s a big reason why folks are using a CRM, to categorize and label their contacts for easy lookup. So why didn’t we already have a few support articles around tags? Perhaps because they are so simple I was overlooking a lot of their value. And their value has increased a lot recently. I figured it’s time to right this wrong and give tags some much deserved love! Tags help keep things organized Super useful to begin…
Here at Batchbook we’ve combined a number of different work location styles into a well functioning team and culture. About a third of our team works out of our Providence headquarters on a regular basis. We have a terrific, lofty, urban space in Providence’s Jewelry District where a group of us comes into a cozy office space most days of the week. Another third work half time from their home office, half time from the Batchbook office. And the rest of the team is completely virtual. They live in distant parts of the country (or other countries even) and only visit the home office once a year or so. We’ve been asked a number of times recently to share more…
With the launch of our new Holiday Gift Guide, we’ve been thinking about what to give to our own customers this season. We’ve traditionally sent out chocolates or Batchbook notebooks, but this year we’re trying something different. We were inspired by a customer who wrote in recently to cancel an account when their Batchbook administrator went on maternity leave. We’re passionate about work/life balance and did not sit well with the idea that an important life event would cause disruption in that business’ ability to track their customer information. We’ll Pay You To Take Time Off Starting in January 2016 we’re offering our small business CRM customers one month payment-free vacation time so you can step away from the computer without losing your…
We have a tradition here at Batchbook to follow-up all of our customer onboardings with hand-written thank you notes. We think that simple human connection goes a long way, and we’ve heard from recipients that it’s a nice touch not often seen in the business world. The thing is that we’re truly grateful for the opportunity to get to know the people using our product. Onboardings aren’t scripted, dry, boilerplate training sessions, they’re real conversations that happen when two people meet to solve a problem. There’s a lot of listening and thoughtful asking and brainstorming, and we love that the people we get a chance to onboard are up to that task. So we take time out to say thanks.
We get our thank you cards from DWRI Letterpress, Inc., one of the most lovely small businesses we’ve had the pleasure of working with. Christelle and I have gone to their shop several times to pick up our orders, and we’re always a bit starry-eyed at being surrounded by such rich material and amazing machinery. And the service we get? It’s the best. Dan Wood, DWRI owner, is always gracious and energetic, answering all our questions candidly and fully. He gives us off-the-cuff tours of his giant, turn-of-the-century machines, hands out fun samples and reveals sneak peeks of his latest projects, which range from music artist CD packaging to personalized pencils for a grade 2 classroom. They’re just peachy, and the work they do is meticulous, feels rich & divine to hold.Read More
We’re spreading the small business love this week with a list of our very own favorites. These are the places we go to when we need inspiration, a break, a treat. They make our lives better and our communities better and they’re one-of-a-kind. We’ve sent thank you notes to each of the them, because we want them to know that their work matters and is appreciated. Don’t forget to say “thanks!” to your own favorite small business this week or any week, and definitely share your staples in the comments below so that we can help spread the word.
Happy National Small Business Week!!!
Buttonwood Farm Ice Cream | Griswold, CT
In addition to the delicious ice cream and the beautiful setting, they spend 10 days every summer raising money for The Make a Wish Foundation. Last year they raised over $113,000 selling bouquets of sunflowers and hayrides.
I try to volunteer every summer to help bundle the sunflowers. That’s a photo of the supervisors up in the header. They like to tell the volunteers to “keep moooooving”! (Sorry, I couldn’t help it.)
– Christelle Lachapelle, Brand Manager
I was recently interviewed by Rhode Island’s own Josh Catone for his new website Pajamas.io, where he explores the workplace changes surfacing as more companies hire remotely-distributed employees to run their business.
Most of the Batchbook team works remotely, so we’re particularly passionate about vetting both the challenges and advantages of how we work. We’ve blogged about our virtual work habits before and were delighted to share our experiences with Josh. Of course, reading about other companies’ takes on managing a distributed team is the real treat.Read More
I’ve been lucky enough to have worked virtually, on-and-off, for the past 16 years. I’m in the office more often than not these days, but I’m still incredibly grateful to work for a company that trusts me enough to choose where I work.
My longest stint of remote work has been here at Batchbook, which began as a completely virtual company seven years ago, when everyone on the team worked from their homes (or cafes, or co-working spaces, or at the library). Since then we’ve learned a lot about what makes remote working both successful and challenging. The things we’ve learned have been mostly human in nature, not technical, so while there are a ton of great tools out there to help remote workers stay efficient and connected, what we’ve been practicing – and need to still practice more of – falls into three, largely-non-technical categories: communication, collaboration, and trust.
Remote work at Batchbook is as diverse as our team’s needs. We have four always-remote people and five mostly-remote people. The rest of us either work remotely one-day-a-week or just when we want or need to. There’s a big difference between someone who can come into the office once a week and someone who’s not sure exactly when they’ll be in next. It’s harder to gauge how always-remote folks are doing – whether they’re happy, feeling like part of the team, or in a rut. When they’re not around the office you don’t pick up on verbal or physical clues.
Know what makes it hard
Being aware of the disadvantages of distance is a good start. Take it to the next step by scheduling regular check-ins that aren’t specifically related to deliverables. Use this time to see how your remote colleague is doing. Are they stuck on anything in particular? Are they feeling connected to the team? Are they clear on the company’s current goals and direction? Do they have concerns or questions about anything? Getting into the habit of checking in with those you don’t see that often will remind you that they’re part of the team and, like their less-remote colleagues, need regular, personal, and thoughtful attention and interaction.