Help Scout’s Mat Paterson and TextExpander Evangelist Jeff Gamet teamed up for a webinar where they shared tips and insights into building your own support toolkit. Check it out to follow along in the blog and to get some more ideas.
If helping customers with their questions is part of your job, a support toolkit can help streamline your process and help your personal success.
A support toolkit may include checklists, services, and apps your team uses, but finding the right elements for your support toolkit can be overwhelming unless you know where to start. Let’s take a look at how to find the right tools for you.
Choosing the Right Support Tools
Deciding what to include in your support toolkit is more than just checking off a laundry list of features that an app or service can provide. It’s also figuring out what matters to you and is important to successfully doing your job. That could lead you to an all-in-one solution, or you may find that you need several tools.
Knowing what to look for makes choosing the right tools much easier. After you know what your tools need to accomplish, find out what sort of support is available for the contenders on your list. Here are some great questions to ask when making the decision whether a tool is right for you and your team:
How accessible are training and support resources?
This can include what’s available from the app or service developer, or from user communities. The website platform WordPress is a good example: In addition to extensive help documents and videos, the WordPress community is full of blogs, podcasts, meetups, and more, all offering useful tips, tricks, and how-tos.
Is your data safe and secure?
It’s likely that the information you collect and work with isn’t intended to be viewed by just anyone. Take the time to find out how and where it’s stored, and what security measures are in place—like encryption—to keep out the people who aren’t authorized to work with your data.
Is your data portable?
The tool that meets your needs today may not fit the bill next year. Maybe your use case changed, or the app or service was updated in a way that doesn’t match your needs. Maybe the developer discontinued the product or went out of business.
Regardless of the reason, if it’s time to migrate to a new app or service, you want your data to be able to make the move too. Find out how easy it is to get your data out of the app or service in a format you can use somewhere else. Also, when you’re researching replacement tools, find out how easy it is to import your existing data.
Can the app or service grow with you?
Some tools are designed to handle a single task—like an app that toggles your Wi-Fi connection on or off, for example. For apps and services that have more uses, it’s nice to know they’re flexible enough to grow with you—for instance, a task management tool.
Let’s say you’re using a to-do app for tracking tasks that simply offers a checklist. That’s fine until you want to set recurring tasks or share tasks with other people. Find a tool that meets your objectives today, and has the flexibility to handle your growing needs.
Support Tools for You and Your Team
Some support tools are designed to serve your whole team. Managing support requests from customers, for example, calls for a service designed to track incoming requests, as well as their resolution. Tracking data such as the number and type of requests, and the time it takes to complete a support request, are part of the support platform too.
TextExpander uses Help Scout to manage support requests. We also use our own tool to save time typing support replies and to make sure our support team has the correct answers for customer questions. Using TextExpander in your organization makes it easy to share those support reply snippets with your team, instantly update snippets for everyone, and manage who uses snippet groups.
Some tools can help your whole team, and others can help you stay on top of your tasks and goals. Here are a few examples:
Zapier: Automate actions between apps and services. It’s a cross-platform web service that’s handy triggering actions in one service based on something that happens in another.
CloudApp: Pictures (and videos) are worth a thousand words. CloudApp lets you record your screen and share the video with anyone. It’s great when you need to explain something quickly where it’s easier and faster to show what you’re doing than to describe it.
EveryTimeZone: Time zones can be a nightmare when scheduling meetings. EveryTimeZone gives you an easy to understand chart showing exactly what time it is in every part of the world.
Alfred: Automating actions on your Mac is one of Alfred’s main tasks. It’s also useful for searching the contents of your computer and the internet, and is a great app launcher, too.
Trello: Trello uses boards and cards to visually organize your tasks and projects. It’s cross-platform, and you can see your projects in your web browser, or in an app.
Clipboard Manager: If you need to copy and paste more than one item at a time, a clipboard manager is essential. For Mac users, Paste, Copied, and PasteBot are a good place to start your hunt for the right app. Windows users can start with Comfort Clipboard, Ditto, and Clipboard Fusion.
Chalkboard or Dry Erase Board: Sometimes going old-school is the best solution for tracking tasks and projects. Find one that’s magnetic so you have more options than simply writing on the board, or Post-It notes, for tracking activity.