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How We Use TextExpander and Help Scout For Better Customer Support

Healthy communication with your customers is essential to building a strong business and customer loyalty. We’d argue that great customer support also doubles as great marketing for the product and company overall.

Whether you power your customer support with Zendesk, Desk.com, Help Scout, Intercom, or any of the other great choices, it’s important to build a system that enables fast responses with clear communication. We built TextExpander to be a key part of that foundation, so we’d like to show you how the TextExpander team incorporates it into our customer support workflow.

We happen to use Help Scout for our customer interactions. But TextExpander is flexible enough to work with virtually any helpdesk. Here are some examples.

Share and create new FAQs

In a customer support setting, TextExpander for Teams is a huge help with answering FAQs. Our support desk allows us to write FAQs that are customer-facing in a Knowledge Base at smile.helpscoutdocs.com. We use this for the most common questions, and can even pull this info straight into an email reply.

However, we also have some answers which don’t make it into a FAQ or don’t work as one, and those bits we want in TextExpander. We have a strong, evolving collection of text snippets for common questions. With just a couple of keystrokes, our support staff can quickly insert them into responses in Help Scout.


If you’re running a team, you know it’s handy to watch out for trends. If all your support reps are suddenly answering questions about one specific bug, it’s a good indicator to send that on to Product.

Our help desk lets us tag our cases, so we can see what the trends are. But we’ve also found that just looking at which snippets the team is using shows us similar info, without having to rely on our support humans to remember to do that tagging.

TextExpander for Teams displays analytics on snippet use. Watching which snippets we use on a routine basis informs our planning for development, blog posts, new FAQs, and other content.

Automate while staying human

One catch about using templates for customer communication is that it can make us sound a little robotic. That’s why we made room for humanity in TextExpander.

Below is an example of a response to a customer who was having trouble with one of our products. Our team members have a few snippets of personalized greetings, and then with just a couple of keystrokes, they incorporate FAQ snippets (bolded in our example) to provide fast, accurate responses to common problems. This leaves room for individual personality while still leveraging the power of our pooled snippet responses:

Hi Dan,

I’m sorry you’re having this trouble. Let’s try restarting TextExpander for Windows and see if that helps.

  1. Find the TextExpander icon in the system tray (to the left of the clock in the bottom-right hand corner of your screen)
  2. If the TextExpander icon is not visible, try clicking on the arrow.
  3. Click on the TextExpander icon.
  4. Click exit
  5. Open the Start Menu
  6. Find TextExpander and launch it

If you still have trouble, please send a screenshot of the error message.

To take a screenshot while on Windows 10 or 8:

Press Windows + Print Screen keys at the same time. The image will be saved to the Screenshot folder inside of the Pictures library.

For Windows 7:

Choose the Start button > All Programs > Accessories, and select the Snipping tool. Once open, click New, select the area of the screen you would like to capture, and click Save.

Let me know if this helps to fix the problem, or if you have any more questions!


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Our reps can edit the supplemental snippets to change their greeting, include clipboard contents, and more. TextExpander even has an option to place your cursor anywhere within the expanded snippet contents—perfect for adding some unique flair to each response.

Keep everyone on-brand

In TextExpander for Teams, groups of text snippets can be shared with specific individuals and team members. When a snippet group admin updates a snippet, everyone instantly gets the new version. This is a powerful way to ensure everyone communicates the best, up-to-date information with a unified voice.

Beyond keeping up our evolving replies to various bugs with input from engineering, we also regularly rotate our email signature. While most help desks have signatures, we like the flexibility of using snippets so that we can have a rotating marketing message in the sign-off. We can update that message in one place, TextExpander, and all the teams get the update, not just the support team in their help desk.

To keep everyone correctly spelling our and other brands, we have a group of snippets simply for typos and product names. For example, Text expander corrects to TextExpander. Quicktime or Quick Time corrects to QuickTime, and so on.

Crisis management in sync

We’ve covered before how snippet groups can be shared and instantly synced among team members. In times of crisis, this means TextExpander can turn a public black eye into a PR win.

Imagine this scenario: comments start heating up on social media about a particular bug or misunderstanding of your product. The emails start arriving. Customer service reps are waiting for direction on how to handle the situation and how they can respond.

With TextExpander for Teams, the right personnel can craft great responses for your various channels that are instantly disseminated to the relevant team members. A couple of keystrokes or a quick TextExpander snippet search, and all customer-facing communications put the company’s best foot forward in record time.

Communication, communication, communication.

The heart of a solid team is communication, with customers, and also with each other. We use case notes to leave internal messages on a case. Comments on a customer end up in the customer Description. Notes are good for pointing to any bugs related to the case. We ask questions of each other in notes and re-assign cases back and forth but when it’s clear a longer chat is needed, we switch to direct chat. In our case, we have a Slack channel called #support for pow-wows on cases, as well as app-specific channels for talking with engineers on specific bugs.

Product- and version-specific replies

A new release of TextExpander means a new platform, or a new major version, with all the brand new exciting bugs that entail. TextExpander snippet groups are tremendous time savers here. We’ll create a new group for each major version on each major platform before we’ve launched so that, on launch day, we have replies at the ready. This also means when we’re looking for answers, we can narrow down where we look in TextExpander for the reply.

We also create unique prefixes for each of these groups. A quick search is even easier if you know you’re looking for an issue related to TextExpander for Mac and you can search on the prefix temac. to get you there faster.

Incorporate your clipboard contents

Another great TextExpander perk is that, when you expand a snippet, you can optionally include the contents of your clipboard. This can make it quick and easy to include multiple resources in a response.

For a simple but effective example: let’s say we run a promotion or offer a discount code, but a customer needs help with remembering or redeeming it. We have a standard snippet response for this situation that includes the %clipboard% snippet command, which adds one’s clipboard contents into the expanded contents. Here’s how it works:

abbreviation: tedisc

snippet: TextExpander discount code: %clipboard%

Here’s the magic link to redeem your discount: https://app.textexpander.com/redemptionCode/%clipboard%

This means we can look up the particular promotion’s discount code, copy it to our clipboard, and type this snippet’s abbreviation. TextExpander works its magic, and our customer gets helped in record time.

Cross-platform, cross-product

TextExpander is available for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Windows. This gives our team a lot of flexibility in where and how they work.

Since TextExpander works cross-product, in that it expands snippets in all apps, including browsers, you can use it in whichever channel your customers use. In addition to our help desk, we use snippets across HootSuite (for social media management), TweetDeck (Twitter conversations are easier to see there), desktop email apps, and plenty of other tools.

This also means our support knowledge is available to the sales and success teams, who answer questions thru their email and CRMs.

Snippet-ize your team

That was just a taste of the ways we use TextExpander. We hope it helps you and your team to communicate smarter. If you’re not using it already, you can try it for free by clicking the button below.