5 Non-Obvious Apps That Can Help You Deliver Better Customer Service

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Use these tools to save time and make helping your customers easier.

“Not another one of those ‘best app’ posts that lists a bunch of stuff I’ve seen a million times.”

I know, I know.

You already have a help desk. You’re using live chat software. Your project management app doesn’t need to be changed, and I’m sure we’re all using the same team chat tool.

But that’s not what this post is about.

This is about the apps that aren’t so obvious.

It’s unbelievable how much easier apps make our lives.

Take Zapier, for example. Zapier lets you connect just about any app you use to another app you use.

Add a photo from your cell phone to the “foodporn” folder in Dropbox, and Zapier will post that photo directly to Instagram, and even hashtag it with #nomnomnom. It’ll make your insufferable foodie friends jealous, and you barely have to lift a finger.

That seems like a small win, but when you combine these little wins over time, you can wind up with hundreds—or even thousands—of hours saved each year, just by using apps to save you time.

How can we apply this to customer service?

Here are five apps (in addition to Zapier, which I highly recommend for a lot more than just sharing photos) that will make you and your customers happy.

1) An App That Sends Handwritten Notes to Your Customers for You

In a world where most of our business is done digitally, physical gifts are rare, and anything from a t-shirt—like the ones MailChimp and Rackspace send to new customers—to a simple handwritten note can make a big impact.

Customers love handwritten notes, but if your handwriting sucks, or if you simply don’t have the time to write and mail them, it can be tough to execute on.

Bond will send those notes to your customers for you.

For $5 per recipient (with bulk discounts and business accounts available), Bond will handwrite any message you choose on stationery that you can customize with your own branding, and they’ll mail the note to your customers.

For a similar service with a more giggle-inducing name, check out Handjob.io, but use that link—and not Google—to find the correct site. Trust me.

2) An App That Ships T-Shirts and Other Company Swag to Your Customers

Remember how I just mentioned free t-shirts?

Sending t-shirts to your customers is awesome—what’s better than an army full of brand advocates wearing your logo around town?—but the logistics can be annoying.

Ordering the right amounts, keeping inventory on hand, packing and shipping each one… it can be a lot of work.

StartupThreads does all of that work for you.

They’ll let you upload any design you want (or they’ll create one for you), and handle all of the logistics of getting shirts to your customers. They’ll even give you a link that you can send to customers where they can enter their address and shirt size, making things easy on everyone.

Pricing starts at around $6 per basic shirt and $9 for really nice-feeling American Apparel ones.

Hat tip to Adam Feber, the Director of Marketing at Chargify, for tipping me off to StartupThreads… and for the free t-shirt! Now go check out Chargify. See how that works?

3) An App That Does Your Typing for You

Sometimes, you don’t need an entire knowledge base article to answer a common customer question. And sometimes, a knowledge base article isn’t appropriate (for example, if the question deals with sensitive account data or billing information.

How many times have you written the same response over and over and over again?

Retyping responses doesn’t just cause hand cramps; it kills a lot of time.

That’s where saved common replies come in handy.

Rather than wasting time typing the same reply over and over again (probably the single most time-sucking repetitive task that support professionals have to do), common (sometimes called “canned”) replies let you insert frequently used messages with a click.

But if you’re not using a help desk that offers common replies, you can still take advantage of this time-saving tactic. I’m a huge fan of aText and TextExpander for Mac (for PC’s, try PhraseExpress), which lets you create keyboard shortcuts. You could create something as simple as a shortcut to save you a few keystrokes typing your email address, or something as powerful as a shortcut for an entire paragraph-long email.

To get started, just pick any email that you’ve sent at least three times this week, and save it in one of the text expander apps.

Next time you find yourself about to retype that answer, just insert your saved reply, make a few small edits to personalize the message, and send away.

4) An App That Gets Your Busywork Done

I’m a huge fan of Fancy Hands, a US-based virtual assistant service that I use daily to take care of small personal tasks so I can focus on the important stuff (like this blog). Among hundreds of other tasks, I’ve used them to:

  • Call Bose to set up a warranty repair on some headphones
  • Add every shift in my wife’s six-week work schedule (she’s a nurse) to my personal calendar
  • Sit on hold for almost 40 minutes with Avis to change a reservation

Along with countless restaurant reservations, phone calls and other things I’d rather not be doing.

Use Fancy Hands to handle customer service tasks like research, and to get rid of your busywork so that you can focus on spending your time helping your customers.

Pricing starts at $30/month for five requests.

5) An App That Sends Your Net Promoter Score Surveys

If you’ve been following either of Groove’s blogs for some time now, you know that we’re big fans of NPS surveys for gauging how our customers feel about Groove.

Net Promoter Score Surveys ask two simple questions:

Results from the first question tell us how many of our customers are promoters (those who respond with a 9 or 10), passives (7 or 8) and detractors (0 to 6) of Groove. Results from the second question tell us why, and most importantly, give us clear direction on what we need to do to increase customer happiness, both for individual customers and across the board for all users.

While you can use pretty much any survey tool to deploy NPS surveys, we love Promoter.io, which makes the whole process easy, and compiles the responses in an easy to understand format.


And, importantly, it keeps past NPS surveys in one place, so we can track our progress at a glance.

You might also find useful:

What Non-Obvious Apps Do You Use to Deliver Better Support?

Have you used any of the tools mentioned above?

What tools do you prefer? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to learn more about the hidden tools that can make life easier for all of us.

Len Markidan
Len Markidan Len used to head up marketing at Groove. Though he has now moved on to other adventures, he still likes popping in and saying hi every now and then.