Anyone that writes as many emails as the typical customer support pro should have a few advanced TextExpander tricks up their sleeve. If you haven’t read my intro article about text snippets, make sure to read over it first. For this one, we’re going to look at a few advanced snippets to help you be even faster and more efficient with your email replies.
Use snippets as much as you can.
Whenever I see someone starting with text snippets, the biggest mistake they make is to not use it enough. They’ll use it for longer paragraphs or such but rarely do they see the power in very short or simple phrases. For me, I use snippets for any phrase that I continually repeat.
For instance, when I don’t have a customer’s name, I use the snippet “`ht” to trigger “Hey there!”. I use snippets even down to days of the week and months. Instead of typing out September, just put that as a snippet with “xm9”. Every few seconds you save adds up.
Grabbing from the clipboard.
I use my copy tool a ton to move info from one program to another or even from one place on the page to another. For instance, you probably have the customer’s name on their incoming ticket. Here’s why the TextExpander clipboard snippet comes in handy.
Create a snippet like this:
Now when you copy something the customer’s name to the clipboard (Command + C), it’ll automatically plug it in when you trigger that snippet. This’ll work for anything that you copy/paste frequently into your customer emails.
I also use this to strip out the formatting of pastes. On a Mac, to paste without formatting you have to use the complicated shortcut SHIFT+CMD+OPTION+V. Instead, create a standalone snippet with just that %clipboard in it. When you trigger it, you’ll get a plain text paste since all snippets are plain text. Way easier than the crazy SHIFT+CMD+OPTION+V method.
Using the power of math for dates.
If you’re like me, figuring out what date next Friday is or when two weeks is from tomorrow can be like those nightmare match problems from school. If your product comes with a free trial, you’re probably extending it for a few customers here and there. Figuring out when their new expiration date can be a lot easier than looking it up on a calendar.
- Click on the Insert button located just above the Abbreviation box. Head over to the Date/Time Math > Add Day(s).
- TextExpander inserts the special code %@+1D into your snippet. Now change “1D” to “7D” or however long your typical trial extensions are.
- Insert how you want the date to appear by using the Insert menu. If you want the date to appear in this format “September 23”, insert the following:
- Choose Date > Month > September. Add a space.
- Choose Date > Day > 1.
When you are done, the snippet should look like “%@+15D%B %e”, leaving out the quotation marks.
Now when you extend a trial, you can let the customer know the new expiration date without having to do that math in your head.
Don’t use this for passwords!
A last word of caution. Don’t use snippet tools for passwords! Use a password manager like 1Password or such. If you keep all of your passwords as snippets, anyone can easily gain access to them by just getting into your computer. Keep text snippets in TextExpander and keep passwords safe and sound elsewhere. Oh – and don’t keep them on a sticky note on your desk!
Now that you’ve got some of my tricks and favorite snippets, it’s your turn. What snippets do you use on a regular basis with your customer support emails?