Photo credit #WOCinTech Chat
Photo credit #WOCinTech Chat

A few years ago, I hated process. I was the queen of scrappy. However, getting to work closely with Operations in the last year and a half, I’ve found myself turning into a process enforcer. People change. I love the trains running smooth and on time, and guidelines on how we operate are a big part of this.

Photo credit: #WOCinTech Chat
Photo credit: #WOCinTech Chat

Rules and process are not meant to hold me down; they’re here to make my everyday life easier.


We route all of our support inboxes (help@, support@, inbox@, pr@, etc) to Zendesk. It’s our ticket system and Knowledge Base. While I have my grievances here and there, overall, Zendesk does all of the things I need (macros, analytics, knowledge base) relatively well.


We dabbled with HootSuite and Zendesk for managing social media but love the UX of SproutSocial. We run our fair share of paid ads and Sprout makes it easiest to respond to everything from one, single inbox.


I could go on and on about Text Expander, but I like that they are shorter and snappier than saved replies. It’s easy to paste bits and pieces of things I type often, making them super unique and personal.


I like Trello for brainstorming and ideation. For example, our Support team likes to tackle “irritating topics” each quarter. We take things that are frustrating for us and frustrating for the customer and actually do something about it. We can think aloud in Trello, then divide and conquer. We also report bugs here, although I’m not sure how long that will last. We’re feeling a need for a dedicated bug tool like JIRA or Pivotal tracker.


It’s how our company communicates and I emoji it up. We created some channels specifically for support. Our product is complex, so we often ask hardware, software, or product for updates in dedicated #support-helpers channels.


Automation is a worthwhile investment for anything you find yourself doing more than a few times. Any bug reported goes to our #bugs Slack, for example, so that it’s on people’s radars. We also tag certain Zendesk tickets “bookmark” and have those feed into Slack for the whole team to read. The possibilities are endless.


We turn this on when we can, although it’s hard with a small team! Our front end engineer was incredibly helpful and used the Zendesk and LiveChat APIs to customize for us. If we are online and available for chat, you see a “live help” icon. Otherwise, we point them to our Zendesk contact form. It helps set proper expectations.


Asking the customer to write a bug report for you is lazy. Be proactive and use tools like MixPanel to do some detective work yourself. Here, I find information like device, OS, app version, and I can see logs of specific events the user went through in-app.

Internal tools

On that note, tools can help empower your team. It reduces friction so they can solve their own issues autonomously. We made an internal RMA tool so we can generate return labels with a click of a button. We also got our Research team to build some queries to check for product defects. Invest in tools so your support team can resolve issues quickly, without friction or long waits. Sure, reducing time to resolve is a nice to have (ours sure went down with these snazzy tools) but you’ll get a happier customer, and most importantly, you improve the “user experience” of your own Support team.