In 2017, 64% of Americans contacted some form of customer service. According to census data, there are 114,235,996 consumers in America (according to American FactFinder), so 73,111,037 people needed help in some way or another from customer support. That’s a lot of conversations for support teams to manage and stay ahead of.
How does a team keep all of those conversations organized while also managing their other tasks outside of their inbox? Luckily, we live in a time where products exist to help us with almost any problems we have and productivity apps are a dime a dozen.
Given how many productivity systems there are it can be difficult to know which ones will be the best fit for your business.
Luckily, we’ve put together a list of 7 productivity apps to add to your arsenal and get you one step closer to being the world’s most productive human.
Trello is an organizational tool that can be used for both personal and professional needs, which makes it perfect for support people or anyone else that likes to keep all of their life organized in a single space.
Technically, Trello is a tool for Kanban — a way to visualize tasks as they move through a set path towards completion, but there are many other use cases that it fills. For support teams, Trello can be incredibly useful for triaging tickets and bugs, organizing a customer-facing knowledge base, or even just tracking To-Dos.
Other users may find it useful in helping to organize sales pipelines, bug or product repairs, or even wedding planning. The cool thing is that no matter how many boards you create for however many different projects (personal or otherwise), they can all live in the same place.
Everyone has had the feeling of looking at the clock, only to see that their day has flown by and they’ve got little accomplished.
RescueTime can help. 40% of your productive time at work is spent multitasking — Slack, email, responding to in-person inquiries at the office: all of those things eat into your actual heads-down time where you get things done.
RescueTime lets you look at historical data of your computer and phone usage to see trends in when you are your most or least productive. It also gives you charts and graphs that visualize what apps, websites, and tools you are using most, broken down from most to least productive. Having deeper knowledge about where exactly your time goes (and when) gives you more control over how you schedule and plan out your days for maximum efficiency in the future.
Even someone who has a master’s in writing botches some grammar or spelling sometimes. For example, the difference between “its” versus “it’s” or “affect” versus “effect”. For most roles, this is a pretty important thing, but when working in customer service and support it’s essential. You never want your customers to misunderstand you, or give your message less creedence than they should because of a silly error that could have been avoided.
Grammarly is a Chrome extension and tool that allows you to double check your spelling and grammar in real-time. So, if you’re writing an email and make an error, Grammarly automatically notifies you that you’ve done something wrong. It also features tools that help to make your writing more engaging and tailored to your audience — perfect for those tricky customers that you’re trying to impress.
There are so many actions that you take throughout the day that could be automated to make your life easier. For example, imagine if every time you needed to remember to do something, you can just hit a button and it would automatically be sent to your “To Do” list?
When trying to fight against the tide of multitasking, being able to think about one less thing can really make or break your productivity. For support people, it could be the difference between taking five minutes to respond to a customer inquiry, or taking an hour.
Automation tools like If This Then That (IFTTT) and Zapier help to make that dream a reality. They allow people with little to no technical knowledge to set up communication between tools or apps to simplify your everyday activities.
For example, you could automate tickets from your support helpdesk and send them to Trello to keep track of bugs. On the personal side, you could use IFTTT to automatically turn your lights on as soon as you get home. All of these small things add up, so automation can save you hours in your week.
Given that 3.48 billion people now use social media, odds are that you’ve probably used it for business or pleasure. If you’re managing multiple accounts, or tweeting for business, it can be difficult to keep track of what has been said and where.
When working in support, this can be even more important: nothing drives customers more crazy than waiting for a response that never comes.
Buffer is a social media tool that allows users to schedule tweets and manage multiple accounts from a single interface. It saves a ton of time by eliminating the need to switch between accounts. You’ll also receive in-depth analytics about what messages are performing best or worse.
For many people, email is just something they check to see if their Amazon order is shipped, or if there are any cool events happening in town. For support people email is the sword that they live and die by. For customer support teams, having a fully-functional, robust email tool is uber important for their role.
Newton is an email application that gives email power users the ultimate control over their inbox. Adding tags, moving between inboxes and just generally organizing the onslaught of new emails is straightforward and simple with their basic interface. The level of organization that Newton provides allows a user to be in the know they can access specific information in no time.
Many people who value productivity know about the Pomodoro method. In case you don’t, the method encourages to work heads down for 25 minutes and then take a short break. After a few of these sessions, take a longer break (about 30 minutes) before getting back to work again. Turns out, this method is pretty effective as many report feeling better at the end of their day and say they accomplished more.
Time works on that premise, and allows you to set timers to schedule out your day. So, if you plan to spend an hour on writing emails, you can set a Time timer for that, and it will notify you when you’ve accomplished that goal. It also keeps track of if you go over or under on your timer, and how frequently you end up needing to take more time because of distraction.
Much like RescueTime, it helps you to be aware of where your time goes and helps you get a better understanding of how long it takes you to complete certain tasks.
There are more ways than one to be productive
There are many productivity apps so it is difficult to determine which are the best of the best. It’s important to remember that everyone’s brain works differently, so what might work for some people might not work for others.
The apps we featured are our personal favorites for kickstarting your productivity and shifting you into your most productive self. Best of luck with new knowledge and here’s to getting more things done!