Tools that I use in my CS work
Empathy, active listening and problem-solving skills are undoubtedly qualities that a good CS should have, but that doesn’t mean we have to rely only on ourselves in our work. I’ve chosen a few tools that I use daily that significantly facilitate my work to say more about them. I hope that any or maybe all of them will be useful to you!
Outlook — I’ll start with the total basics, which is the email program. I use Outlook, but really, it can be any solution. Outlook is the basis of customer interaction for me. Any inquiries, reported problems, or potential new projects go to the inbox first. I can’t imagine working without three features: flagging, categorising and rules.
The first one allows me to flag emails, such as high-priority issues or a list of things to report.
I use categorisation primarily for meetings. I set colours for each project and client, which allows me (especially on days that abound in meetings) to quickly know with whom I have next meetings and promptly prepare for them.
The last thing: automatisation rules. This is quite an individual thing, but I will recommend one without which I could not imagine my life. More than once and more than twice, I have been reminded after clicking the send button that I forgot something or wanted to change something. Various programs allow you to retract messages, but I set a rule that delays sending by a minute. When I send an important email, I have time to go in and look again to see if everything I wanted is there.
Team/Zoom — Another obvious one. In the age of remote work, you can’t function without teleconferencing solutions. Some prefer MS Teams, others Slack, and the same is true for Zoom and competing solutions. We use MS teams a lot as a basis for our joint work. We share files on which we later work or share to-do tasks. It’s also the fastest way to talk to a client and, significantly, when solving a problem, often the best way. Still, in the age of remote work and distributed teams, it would be impossible to work without these tools, but you also have to be careful not to overdo it.
Zendesk — For us, Zendesk is the next step to creating a more professional and scalable team. You can use a shared email inbox, or you can use Jira. Still, a dedicated solution offers many advantages, including tracking KPIs such as the number of requests or average solution time. For larger teams, it’s worth setting up, especially since your company may already have this or a similar solution in place, and you only need to adapt it to your needs with a little effort. With Zendesk, you can immediately start creating a knowledge base which will be the first step in giving the customer the tools to solve their needs.
Planhat — This is the headquarters for everything related to the customer. There are many possibilities to configure to your needs, and what is not in the solution itself, you can probably quite easily integrate. Planhat, for me, serves several roles. First, a repository for all customer contacts. What, when, and with whom I worked and what I still have on my to-do list. The second is easy access for my boss and the rest of the team to information about what’s happening with the accounts. During meetings, we run Planhat and have conversations based on the data we have there. A great solution is playbooks. It’s the ability to predefine actions that will be created automatically by Planhat whenever something happens, such as a change in a customer’s status. It takes the responsibility off of me to remember everything, and that’s the most significant value of all the tools on this list.
Pendo — Short because it’s not a tool I use every day, and I can tell you more if you want. Pendo provides the product analytics we use to understand user behaviour. Integration with Planhat, as mentioned earlier, is an added plus.
Grammarly — I left my favourite at the end. It won’t be helpful to everyone because you have to work with an English-speaking client. Grammarly is, in its simplest form, a dictionary and proofreader. But it does much more than that! It analyses what we write and gives suggestions for changes (I always don’t know where to put a comma). In addition, it detects the tone we write and can suggest changing it. We use Grammarly with the whole team to set how we want to sound as an entire team, allowing us to have a consistent image regardless of the person. The snippets are also a brilliant feature. In Grammarly, you can quickly define the text we can call out using a dash. All the repetitive phrases or lists you use can be at your fingertips!
That would be it. There are plenty of other tools that I use daily, but this is an absolute must. What solutions do you guys use in your work?