There aren’t many professional career paths more rewarding than Customer Experience (CX). Life as a CX professional is never dull, always changing, incredibly challenging, and so fulfilling. It takes blood, sweat, tears, and heck of a lot of time and dedication to drive meaningful CX improvements and to energize a team to keep the progress going. It’s one of the many reasons why CX Accelerator exists. We’re here to help you, by empowering you with the network and the educational resources you need you advance in your career. And with that spirit in mind, I thought I’d share a few unconventional tools you can use in your journey to achieve CX domination. I say unconventional because, on the surface, many of these tools may not appear to be CX-related at all. Stick with me, though! There’s a method to the madness. 😁
Without further ado, here are seven tools I suggest adding to your CX toolbox.
If you don’t have the Evernote app on your phone, stop what you’re doing and download it. Not to be dramatic, but it will change your life. I first started using Evernote about five years ago, and I haven’t looked back since. It’s the perfect tool for staying organized! Not only can you easily track your daily to-do items (which is crucial in a busy CX role), but you can also jot down quick ideas from brainstorming sessions, quickly save and tag articles you find on the internet, save Tweets tagged with a particular hashtag, and even keep your receipts organized for expense reports. And if you’re a fan of IFTTT, you can connect the two apps to trigger automated organization. For example, I have an integration set up that saves all my “liked” tweets. That way, I can quickly scroll through at the end of the day or week and absorb new knowledge and then note new takeaways. Best of all? Evernote is free and easy to use!
Image Source: Jonczyk.me
Yep. You read that correctly. I just said Fitbit. You might be thinking, “what the heck does a fitness app have to do with Customer Experience?” Fair enough, but hear me out. As the wise Jenny Dempsey reminded me at ICMI Contact Center Expo earlier this year, in order to take the best care of others, you must first take the best care of yourself. I think that’s especially true for those of us who work in Customer Experience. We’re doing really hard work! It’s mentally, emotionally, and physically draining, and it’s so easy and tempting to push aside our personal health while we’re focused on our jobs. But I’ve learned something magical this year. When you put in a little extra work to make your health & wellness a priority, all of the other areas of your life seem to run a bit more smoothly. Here’s how my Fitbit has helped me: it taps into my innate drive to succeed. I love hitting all those goals on my dashboard, so I’ve made a point of getting up to walk 250 steps every hour during the workday. It doesn’t seem like much, but it equals a mile at the end of the workday. And that’s a lot more than I was logging when I sat glued to my computer all day every day. Not only is this habit helping my physical health, but stepping away from my desk for even 3-4 minutes helps me better focus. Try it out, and let me know what you think! Not ready to invest in a Fitbit? Try this handy pedometer from Amazon.
Image Source: CNet.com
Raise your hand if you struggle to keep your team on task? Or to keep track of all your personal to-do items. Sometimes the best calendar and note taker in the world just isn’t enough; particularly when you’re working on larger scale team projects. This is where a project management tool can really help you take things to the next level. There are tons of great options out there, but my personal favorite is Asana. It’s really intuitive and easy to organize. One of my favorite features is the ability to break larger projects down into smaller milestones and tasks and to add collaborators to each project. Using Asana has helped keep my team on track, and it’s also helped us cut down on needless status update meetings, freeing up more of our time to work towards completing projects. Half the battle in CX is getting stakeholders to move projects forward. Using Asana is an excellent way to drive accountability and make sure the projects remain visible to the organization.
Image Source: Asana Youtube Channel
4. A Unified Communication/Video Tool
Full disclosure: I now work for a UCaaS company. 😉 However, video & chat have been a must-have for me for the last seven years--especially as a remote employee. CX improvement doesn’t happen in a vacuum. To make meaningful change, we all need the support of our teams. Having the ability to meet, communicate, screen share, and host training sessions with the click of a button is a game-changer. Our team uses our internal chat/IM function to set up private rooms for collaboration. We use these spaces for impromptu brainstorming, file sharing, product news, and quick team updates. And when the need arises, we can easily switch a brainstorm session from IM to a video meeting with screen share in a matter of seconds. With team members working across time zones and locations, this enables us to move projects forward more quickly and to build rapport and trust. And having a log of all our communications in one spot helps us stay organized.
Social media is a goldmine for CX professionals for so many reasons. Three of my favorite benefits? The ability to connect with other industry pros. The ability to source and find relevant articles, webinars, and resources in real-time. And last, but not least, the chance to listen to and engage with my customers. But in truth, social media can become pretty overwhelming pretty quickly. Enter: TweetDeck, my favorite (free!) application for managing social media. TweetDeck offers a ton of features, including the ability to set up columns with keywords or hashtags, to see new followers, track comments and mentions, and compose and schedule social media messages. You can also collaborate with other team members and gain insight into who’s posted what. If you’ve ever struggled to keep track of all your tweets or wondered how you could glean more value out of social networks, give TweetDeck a try. The CX Accelerator team has been using it recently, and it’s a tremendous help! Bonus: if you like to attend industry chats (like #CXchat, #custserv, or #ICMIchat) you can set up a column for those hashtags in your TweetDeck, making it a cinch to follow the conversations.
Image Source: Medium.com
CX professionals wear a lot of hats. A critical part of our job is storytelling--on behalf of our customers, and in a way that brings data to life, spurring action. Sometimes good storytelling requires compelling visual aids. If like me, you’re a design novice, it’s useful to have the help of an intuitive tool like Canva. I’ve tried plenty of other online photo editors and design tools, but find Canva to be the easiest to use and most comprehensive. For less than $10 each month, you can secure a pro account, granting you access to a library of stock photography, thousands of design templates, and the option to store your brand colors and fonts. Whether you need a quick and easy way to bring a customer journey map to life, or you’re looking to build an engaging presentation deck for the C-Suite, Canva can help you do it quickly and professionally. You can also pull together fact sheets to share with executives and customers, design posters for the breakroom, turn metrics reports into engaging infographics, and more. The possibilities are pretty much endless.
Image Source: Play.Google.Com
These days, video is a critical part of customer engagement. But it’s also time-consuming and expensive to create high-impact videos. Whether you’d like to build out customer tutorials or create internal onboarding videos, PowToon can help! Powtoon is the world’s leading, most user-friendly and most intuitive animation software. With Powtoon, anyone can create engaging, animated videos with a professional look and feel. You can get up and running with a free account, and for just a few hundred dollars each year, you can upgrade to a premium account, which gives you access to thousands more stock video, music, and photography options, along with the opportunity to upload your brand logo and colors. In my previous role, we used PowToon quite a bit and increased social media engagement by 75% through the use of weekly educational video content.
Image Source: Powtoon Youtube Channel
Bringing it All Together
From organization, to project management, fitness, and social media--these tools will help you better learn and grow as a CX professional. The result? You’ll be better equipped to deliver outstanding customer experiences. Stepping up your CX game doesn’t have to require a significant financial investment. Try one (or all) of these budget-friendly tools and report back to us with your progress! We’d love to hear how these tools enhance your toolkit. Using another low-cost tool that you’d like to share with the community? Comment below to tell us how it’s transformed your career for the better.
A passionate connector of people, Erica Marois is a customer and employee experience enthusiast who loves helping others find unique solutions to their biggest challenges. She has 12+ years of experience in content creation and community building and volunteers as a facilitator for CX Accelerator. Erica works from home in Richmond, VA, where she lives with her husband and their lab-mix, Quinn. Outside of work, she loves cooking, traveling, and reading. Find her on LinkedIn and Twitter!