toolbox

9 incredibly useful customer support tools

Written by on March 4, 2015

You’re solving one ticket after the other without a break. But you don’t seem to be making a dent in your ticket queue.

The same old questions come in over and over again, and to make things worse your customers are reopening resolved tickets because they don’t understand your solution. It happens to the best of us. Some solutions are just too complicated to explain using email or phone.

What can you do? You just don’t have the photoshop skills to create explanatory screenshots. And you definitely don’t have the time to create videos.

But I’ve discovered some simple tools that let you create and share resources that your customers love in no time. I’ve also added some productivity and remote access tools making this a complete package to complement your helpdesk.

After all, wouldn’t you like to resolve tickets in one go and save time too?

aTEXT

say goodbye to repetitive replies

aText is one of the many tools we feature in this roundup of our favorite customer support tools

aText is this really nifty tool that lets you save snippets under abbreviations and call on these snippets in your time of need.

BENEFITS:

1) Placeholders can be used in templates for extra-customization. You do not have to give up on the power of personalized responses to use this automation.
2) Specify special behavior for specific applications.
3) You get to enjoy money that you’d have otherwise spent on treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome.

DOWNSIDE:

Available only for Mac.

PRICING

One time price of $5.

THE ALTERNATIVE:

PhraseExpress. It is free as long as it’s for personal use.

LICECAP

an easy-to-use GIF-cooker

LICEcap is featured in our roundup of favorite customer support tools

LICEcap is a lightweight tool that makes capturing an area of your screen as a GIF ridiculously easy. The best part is that it also allows you to edit the GIF post-screen-capture so cooking your GIF into everything you’ve ever dreamt is no longer a pipe dream.

BENEFITS

1. GIFs do a much better at explaining a short series of steps than a solution article. Or a bunch of screenshots.

2. Easy to make. The awesome GIF in the previous section? Took me less than a minute to put together.

PRICING

Zero dollars.

THE ALTERNATIVE

Snagit by TechSmith.

SKITCH

for annotating your screenshots

Skitch, by Evernote, features in our roundup of favorite customer tools

Skitch lets you get your point across, without getting wordy, using annotations, shapes, sketches on your screenshots.

You can easily explain step-by-step processes using arrows and numbers, and also blur sensitive information. The best part is that Skitch allows you to work on existing images as well as take new ones, without making you leave the tool.

BENEFITS

1. A mobile app makes sure that the screenshots you send on the go have clarity too.
2. Available for Mac and Windows.
3. So easy that even a three year old can use it.

PRICING

Free forever and ever (and ever).

THE ALTERNATIVE

Jing, TechSmith’s free Screenshot and Screencasting tool has all the capabilities of a basic annotation tool but some of Skitch’s finer abilities, like the blur option, can be found only in Jing’s snazzier companion Snagit. Snagit, however, will set you back by $49.95 (one-time purchase).

JING

Screencasting made easy

Jing is featured in our roundup of favorite customer support tools

Jing gives you the ability to add basic visual elements to your captures and share them fast.

BENEFITS

1. The ability to pause, speed up and rewind a demonstration.

2. Lets you record any region/window that you choose.

3. Works on Chromebooks, Windows machines and Macs.

DOWNSIDE

You have to manually upload your screencasts before you receive the ability to share it through IM and social media. Plus, your Jing screencasts can only extend to a maximum of five minutes.

PRICING

$0.

THE ALTERNATIVE

Screenr. Screenr’s web-based screen recorder make it seem like the obvious choice, however, the tool requires you to have Java installed on your machine. Something that Chromebooks aren’t too fond of.

SCREENLEAP

share your screen instantly with anyone

Screenleap features in our roundup of favorite customer support tools

Effortlessly share your screen in a matter of seconds with anyone, no matter where they are or what kind of device they’re using, with Screenleap.

BENEFITS

1. The easiest way to demonstrate anything. Nothing gets lost in explanation.

2. Customers can easily bring you up to speed on bugs.

3. No downloads/signups required for the person viewing the screen. All the agent has to do is just send the customer the code/link.

DOWNSIDE

The person sharing the screen has to download the app and install it. This becomes a hindrance when the customer has to share her screen.

PRICING

Four different plans make sure that there’s something for everyone. Including a free plan.

THE ALTERNATIVE

Join.me. Our support team’s divided between Screenleap and Join.me so we leave it to you, fair reader.

DROPBOX

store frequently used guides and screenshots

Dropbox features in our roundup of favorite customer support tools

Dropbox, everyone’s favorite file storage app, helps support agents transcend file size limitations and share screenshots, screencasts, user guides, and tutorial videos with ease.

Plus, it’s sort of the perfect tool because not only can everybody in the team access files anytime but sharing them with customers is a piece of cake.

BENEFITS

1. No more attachment-limit nightmares. Just upload your resource and link it.

2. Accessible from any device, anywhere, anytime.

3. You can make Dropbox automatically upload all your resources and save yourself a ton of time, time normally spent staring at a slow upload bar.

PRICING

The free plan accords you only 2 GB of space. The Dropbox Pro plan, however, grants you 1 TB of space, and the world, at a mere $9.99 a month. Or you can go Business and pay $15/user/month.

THE ALTERNATIVE

Box and Google Drive. Google initially starts you off with 15 GB across Drive, Photos and Gmail but you can buy extra storage at is-this-the-real-life prices – 100 GB for $1.99/month and so on.

UBERCONFERENCE

share your screen with customers

Uberconference features in our roundup of favorite customer support tools

A stress-free conference call software with intuitive features and a UI to die for, UberConference is everything you need to connect meaningfully with your users.

BENEFITS

1. You don’t have to exchange usernames ala Skype. All you have to do is send over a link to your conference and you’re golden. Users can also dial in to a US/Canada conference number to join the conference.

2. Allows you to easily share your screen with participants.

3. Unlimited number of calls, even on the free plan.

4. A mobile app adds icing to the already scrumptious cake.

5. You can choose your own hold music. If you’re on the Pro plan, you can upload custom hold music.

PRICING

There are three plans but the free plan should suit you just fine.

THE ALTERNATIVE

Skype and GoToMeeting.

MXTOOLBOX

for diagnostic and lookup tools

Mxtoolbox features in our roundup of favorite customer support tools

This one might not be a crowd favorite but our support agents use it so extensively that I decided that it deserves a place on the list. MXToolBox is our go-to tool for everything from checking to see if an IP’s been blacklisted to an SMTP diagnostic test.

BENEFITS

1. Lists mail exchange records in priority order and also lets you perform other tests like SMTP diagnosis.

2. Allows you to perform a blacklist test that checks an IP address against over 100 DNS based email blacklists.

3. Allows you to force a particular test/lookup using commands like blacklist or cname.

PRICING

Not a dime.

POSTMAN

for testing API calls

Postman features in our roundup of our favorite customer support tools

Postman, an REST client, helps you be more efficient while working with APIs. It allows you to build and pass HTTP requests with ease so if your company provides an API, you can use it to reproduce API issues in a breeze.

BENEFITS

1. Test APIs from your browser without resorting to complex tools

2. Keeps a record of your past records so you can quickly re-send and test past requests

3. Keyboard shortcuts to maximize productivity

PRICING

Don’t cost a thing.

THE ALTERNATIVE

Requestb.in.

 

Honorary mention: Hackpad; collaboration has never been this easy.

Learning all these new tools might seem like a daunting task. But I assure you that it won’t take more than 5 minutes to understand.

The best part is, while you know that creating them takes the same time as typing out a reply, your customers won’t. They will be quite impressed by the (assumed) effort you’ve put into them.

Your turn now

What are your favorite everyday-use tools? If you think we’ve missed a big one or if you think one of these tools doesn’t deserve to be on this list, drop us a line in the comments section down below. We’d love to hear what you think.

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  • Stefan van den Tol

    Cool! Thanks. Is there an integration possible with LIFECAP? So you dont have to upload seperate from freshdesk, but maybe activate LIFECAP directly from within your message?

    • freshdesk

      Glad you liked it, Stefan. We’ll be sure to pass on your suggestion to the Integrations team.

  • One that is pretty useful, in the same arena as drop box, but different is wetransfer.com , very useful for sending large files

  • Fredben

    nice post

  • Wow,some very nice tools for responding via help-desk. Already using SnagIt and there are tons of benefits, but I’ll start picking off all of these later for use. 🙂

  • Yes, keep in mind that the old AutoText in Microsoft Word or now in Word 2013 – Building blocks can allow you to save off text for reuse as well. if you are already own this – then you can leverage something you already own versus spending money for aText .
    Thanks,
    Bo Mings
    OfficeMindshare Corporation
    http://www.officemindshare.com – where great minds collaborate
    Need an office expert or do you want to make money from your office skills? – http://www.expertmindshare.com

  • jgucci

    Screenr is going out of business this year. Any plans to add a new video capture service to Freshdesk?

  • Worth Reading!
    I loved that “you’re golden”