— June 7, 2017
Need to get some time back?
The job of a CSM is tough. It’s time consuming, requires a lot of focus (while juggling a ton of different things) and has a lot of responsibility.
To thrive, you need every advantage that you can get. And by advantage, we mean tools.
While there are innumerable tools available to help you to be more efficient, which are the right ones? Which ones will give you an edge as you work to make every moment count?
In this guide, we’re sharing the tools that our community of Customer Success pros recommend and use. These tools will enable you to shave off minutes, or in some cases hours, off your day, freeing up valuable time. Time that you can spend with customers.
Ready to get some time back? This set of 30+ tools will help you stay sane and on top of things while you help your customers to achieve Success.
Gcal not cutting it for you? Looking for an alternative that works as hard as you do? Fantastical can handle all you calendaring needs in a clean, simple interface. Have a bunch of calendars on different services? Fantastical enables you to consolidate all of your iCloud, Google, Microsoft Exchange and Yahoo calendars into a unified view. Never have to switch between calendaring apps again.
The back-and-forth required to schedule meetings is a huge, unnecessary time suck. Say goodbye to all of that wasted time with Calendly. Make sharing your calendar a snap. No more “give me a couple of times that work for you”, instead you can share your availability and your customers can schedule with you when it works for them.
Pro Tip: Add the link to your calendar in your email signature so that you don’t have to send it out each time you want to refer someone to your calendar.
While there are a ton of different solutions available to help you to snooze, schedule and track emails, Gmeilus can do all that and a whole lot more (and probably for a whole lot less $ $ $ ). Gmeilus is a Gmail extension that enables you to custom tailor your inbox while adding new functionality. If you use G-Suite and you want more control over your inbox, Gmeilus will enable you to focus on what matters.
Accompany does a simple job. It gives you the ability to know more about who you’re talking to by putting all the rich insights you need right inside your email. But wait, that’s not all. When you grab their iOS app, you get meeting cheatsheets with full profiles for everyone on the meeting plus company data.
Ever thought that it would be nice to have caller ID for email? BAM! Get the most up to date and relevant info about the sender of an email. Ever feel like you’re being watched? Sende.rs also strips out all of the tracking on emails.
Fun Fact: Did you know that 50% of all emails are tracked? Who’s tracking you <scary>.
Are you a subscription junkie? Unroll.me is a crazy good way to clean up your inbox and save your sanity. One click unsubscribe and roll-up emails help you in the war against your inbox. In the quest for inbox zero, Unroll.me is a key ally.
The more you know about who you’re talking to, the more you know. Charlie provides pre-meeting briefings on everyone you meet with. It’s a great way to be sure you’re up to speed on your contacts. You get information about the most recent happenings at their company, with contacts you share, as well as the last interaction you had. Never start another meeting cold.
While Gmail is the go-to for a lot of companies, its interface leaves a bit to be desired. If you’re looking for a better user experience and want another option, check out Airmail. With a slick interface and the ability to support and switch between all of your accounts easily (Google, iCloud, Exchange, Yahoo, Outlook and even yes, AOL) it could well be the email client you’ve been looking for. Add to that a host of integrations to apps like Evernote, Box, Google Drive, Fantastical, Asana, Trello and Todoist, and it becomes a real productivity enhancer.
Workflow & Automation
Anyone that has a lot of balls in the air (that’s you) can benefit from having a little workflow in their life. StreakCRM enables you to create yours right in your inbox and never miss a beat. Don’t have a lot of team tools? Create your own personal onboarding funnel, manage help requests from your customers or even setup a feature request process all in your email. Stay on top of all of the interactions that add up to Customer Success.
Need to make something automagically happen? Zap. Automate your workflow by getting your apps working together. Want to make it so that when you have a calendar booking in gcal, gmail creates a draft message for you to send as a follow-up? Done. Want to add the content of your Trello board to a Google sheet? Done. Zapier has you covered and then some.
Like Zapier, but for you. Do more with the services you use and love. Want to automatically start your morning routine? There’s an applet for that and sooo much more. When every minute counts, IFTTT can help you save time and automate your life.
Customer Success done right is very process oriented. With Process.st you can create and apply templates so that each process is completed using the same repeatable set of tasks. Want to get out Excel or Sheets? Grab your task list and paste it into Process.st and have your nifty new checklist after only a few clicks. Integrate with other apps via Zapier to drive a full workflow through triggers and integrations. Operationalize any process or checklist in minutes.
Sending standard swag to customers is so 2015. The next time you want to send a thank you gift, do it the smart way. No more being unsure of what to send or sending the wrong thing (or wrong size). Alyce is smart (AI smart), it finds and analyzes all publicly available data on your intended giftee, and then tells you the perfect gift to give. It’s a win-win. You save a ton of time and impress them by sending something they’ll like. Mission accomplished.
Let’s face it, tasks and to-do’s are a big part of your life as a CSM. To be successful, you have to stay organized and on top of everything, all the time. Todoist makes it possible for you to accomplish more, every day.
There’s a ton of articles out there that you want to read. How do you remember where all of them are? You need a place to stash them. Pocket gives you the ability to build up your resource list so that you always know where to go when you want to refer back to a great article.
Need to annotate a screenshot or create an animated GIF for a customer explaining where things are going wrong or how to use a new feature? CloudApp makes it easy to create screen recordings and send them directly to a shareable link. No more fumbling around trying to figure out how to make the perfect animated GIF. Just click, record and share. Explain visually with CloudApp FTW.
Still taking notes in analog? Ditch the notepad and go digital. Evernote is the Swiss Army Knife of note taking apps. Create lists, capture ideas and share them all. With a ton of integrations, Evernote will soon become the core of your note taking universe.
Just scan that and send it back to me. Argh! Finding a scanner, who’s got time for that? Evernote’s Scannable is the fix for the paper chase. This app is a lifesaver if you need to get a customer signature or they need to get you paper anything. Simply snap and send. Done. Got a stack of business cards from customers or people that you met at Pulse sitting on your desk? Scan ’em in and add them to your contacts. No more time wasting contact creation boogie.
Books? Who has time to read anymore? Blinkist enables you to never stop learning, but saves you a load of time while you’re doing it with “blink” sized chunks. Get great written and audio summaries of the best books out there right on you phone.
Ctrl C, Ctrl V…over and over and over. Does this sound familiar? Then you’re in for a treat as Copied will be a serious time saver. It allows you to save all the items you copy into a central clipboard so that you don’t find yourself doing the alt-tab, copy-paste boogie all the time plus it works across all your iOS devices via iCloud (in app purchase for a few bucks more).
Task & Project Management
Want a great way to organize and prioritize anything? Trello’s boards, lists, and cards offer a great way to take the “boring” out of project management by making it visual. Get organized, work more collaboratively and get more done.
A picture is worth a thousand words; a pretty picture, worth sooo much more. Create images like a design pro (even if you have zero design skills) thanks to a plethora of templates. Grab the business edition and drive brand consistency in all of your visuals, through brand colors and typography. Canva makes you look good and saves you a metric ton of time while doing it.
Flowcharts, process diagrams, swim lanes, oh my. Let’s face it, Customer Success runs on process. If you need to document it (and you do) LucidChart should be your go-to solution for flow chart goodness. With the ability to rapidly create great looking diagrams, LucidChart is your friend and makes documenting your process way easier.
Doing a SWOT analysis, but struggling to put it into something as you work? Need to map something out so you can understand it better? Trying to capture everything on paper or a Google doc is rough. Xmind makes creating a map, a snap. Get the info off the whiteboard or out of your head and down on “paper” so that you can analyze, understand and act.
Ever heard of the 15 minute rule? If you have a questions/challenge that you don’t know the answer to, take 15 minutes to try find the answer before looking for help. If you still don’t have an answer after 15 minutes, ask the experts and experienced professionals onOUTCOMES. They’ve been where you’re at and can help you get where you want to go. This free community for Customer Success pros by Customer Success pros is your best friend and go-to for answers.
As a CSM, writing is something that you do a lot, so it better be good. Even if English is your first language, Grammarly will make your writing easier to read, more effective, and best of all, mistake-free. Your customers will thank you.
If you have a tendency towards run on sentences, the passive voice or the overuse of adverbs, Hemingway is your jam. As you know, customers judge you based on how well you communicate. If your writing kung-fu is weak, Hemingway keeps you concise and easy to read. Pair it with Grammarly and you’ve got a winning combo.
Forms & Surveys
Creating surveys and forms used to suck. Not any more. Typeform makes creating forms and surveys easy and beautiful. Want to send out an NPS survey, they’ve got you covered with templates that make it easy. Stop fumbling around with forms built in Google, go pro with Typeform.
Need to be able to spin-up a dashboard in minutes? Cyfe is an all-in-one business dashboard app that helps you do exactly that using pre-built widgets. Monitor all your business data from one easy to use application without breaking the bank.
Communication & Collaboration
There’s a ton of team communication and collaboration offerings out there. Many of them are pretty awesome (you’re probably using at least a couple of them already), and then there’s Slack. It’s basically communication and collaboration on steroids. With bots and integrations Slack is a huge boon to a CSM team that is looking to communicate effectively.
Conferencing is a pain. Frankly, most of the free (and paid) offerings kinda suck. In a sea of otherwise poor options, UberConference stands out. They offer a free conferencing offering that is easy to use and works. Don’t let a bad conferencing solution make your next QBR a debacle.
Want to see who you’re talking with? Appear.in offers painless, dead simple video conversations. Just create a room and go. If you have a virtual team or just would actually like to see who you’re talking to, Appear.in is a great, free way of doing just that.
Are you rocking a dual display like a king in the office, but then forced to roll solo in the virtual office (AKA the local coffee shop)? If you’ve got an iPad or iPhone, then solo screen no more. With Duet, y0u can rock the dual display wherever you may roam.
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