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No-code tools belong in the hands of customer service by Greg Smith

No-code tools belong in the hands of customer service by Greg Smith
By Aron Korenblit • Issue #56 • View online
Today 1PM EST on the stream, I’m answering your automation questions! It’s the first Ask me anything (about automation). You can submit your question here or join live. Some of the topics that I’m definitely going to cover: how to route between two addresses in Airtable? Managing duplicates more efficiently? How to scrape social media follower numbers?
You can add the stream (and all future streams) to your calendar by clicking here (it auto updates!) and subscribe on Youtube.
You can catch last week’s replay of how to use Stripe payment links with Joshua Ackerman, product manager @ Stripe.
Onto the update…

Heyo,
This week I’m excited to welcome Greg Smith (@_its_greg) as a guest poster. Greg was early (like very early) at Gofundme and ran customer operations there. He now helps other businesses get efficient through Wheelhouse Solutions. What strikes me in this piece is just how far we’ve come since 2012! Zapier was…new! Sending to Google sheets was a game changer!
Hey Everyone, I’m Greg with Wheelhouse Solutions in Encinitas, CA. 
In 2012, I joined the GoFundMe founding team as employee #2. Unofficial title was, “VP of let the founders get back to working on the product”. 
I was in charge of all things customer service, success, and operations. During my time there, a couple certainties stood out to me about customer service. 1. The most important thing is speed and 2. Having the right information in front of your team is where you get your speed.  
Customer Service as a Feature
Back in 2012 I had a Gmail inbox with [email protected] When I got there, we were handling between 100-200 tickets daily and growing fast. I had the freedom to use whatever software I wanted. I hired the people that I needed and had the freedom to build the internal tools I needed. 
We had decided early on that we’re going to institute and maintain a 5 min first reply time. Crazy right? If people were going through some of their hardest or most emotional times, there should be a human being there. They should be empathetic, responsive, and helpful.
Aside from Customer Service, we were also tasked with:
  • Content Moderation
  • Trust & Safety
  • Quality Assurance
  • Product Feedback
At a glance, we needed to know:
  • what was going on with that user. 
  • any issues there may be with the account
  • any holds or issues with the payment processor, or their credit card. 
  • Are they being sincere about how and where they are sharing?
  • Are the images and text they’re using suitable for our site?
Our ability to deliver  fast and useful responses depended on our ability to bring that information to our agents.  We relied heavily on our developers to create the tools that we needed to bring that information inside of Zendesk.
New Tools
NoCode as it exists today wasn’t really a thing. Though, we were definitely starting to see solutions pop up that connected tools together.
Could we get Zendesk to talk to google sheets?
If a ticket tagged “review” in Zendesk, can it kick off an email between the agent and their manager to discuss on their next 1 on 1?
The ability for us to have a shared database or file was a game-changer. Especially when we’re dealing with trying to keep track of campaigns for a natural disaster or very public event. Everyone needs to be on the same page.
Then came Zapier. Zapier made sense to me immediately. A lot of my job was thinking “if I could only get that information to talk to without asking the dev team for any help.”  The best thing a CEO or Software leadership can hear is:
“Never mind, I got it working”. This was always my mindset.
I really started to understand what was possible. Back in those days it was still fairly limited but I knew and understood what my limits were. Tools like Zapier and Airtable have dramatically expanded what is possible. Product builders like Bubble and Webflow allow more “tech timid” companies or departments the ability to create and solve problems more without getting dev involved. 
How do I apply it to my department?
When you look at your own department, the biggest challenge can be what to focus on. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
1. Start as basic as you can and work up from there. You want eyeballs on the solution and you want to see how it’s being used. Too many times I’ve seen people over automate because the technology allows for it.
2. What is the outcome I’m looking for? Can you track events back to a KPI or a business outcome directly? Are you trying to decrease response time or increase customer satisfaction? If you’re not sure what the end result is going to be and how to track it, it’s going to be a waste of time and resources.
3. Is it useful and usable? Adoption is massive. You can implement the most elegant internal tool or solution that takes care of your customers, reports back, and gets you a mid day coffee, however if the stakeholders aren’t willing to use it, you’re stuck again.
Final Thoughts: 
I have found my people in the NoCode world. These tools allow people to not only see what’s possible but gives them the ability to start tinkering and getting to work on solutions.
There is no better place for this incredible technology to be, than in the hands of the people interacting with your customers every day. 
by Greg Smith
Airtable tip: variables in automations
Let’s say you want to send a slack message when a record changes in your Airtable base. Relatively easy: create a record is updated trigger and then add the send slack message action.
Now what if you wanted to make the channel to which you send the information change depending on the information in the record. Say you’re managing a workflow where someone needs to review the copy of an asset at one point and then review the design at another point. The channel you want to ping for those moments may be different—#copy-review for the former and #video-review for the latter. You could create two different automations but then you’d be eating your automation limit (25 per base). Instead, you could make the channel variable with the following steps:
[1] Create a Slack channel formula field that determines which channel the message should be sent to
[2] Change the channel field to be dynamic letting you select a field value as the channel
Dustin Moskovitz
Many believe that since lockdown demonstrated remote work can be productive, it follows that companies should have flexible hybrid cultures going forward. But remote-only is not hybrid, and almost none have lived hybrid.

I predict few companies will be "fully flexible" by 2023. https://t.co/4hxWwjthw3
[3] You can now select your new formula field as the value for the channel
Whereas before you had to use a script to do this kind of logic, you can now use the dynamic option! Forever lowering the bar and making things easier…
Tool of the month
This month’s tool of the month is macro. Macro sits on top of your other tools and lets you document and automate checklists that require steps in various tools. Say you’re onboarding a new employee which requires an Airtable record, a custom email, a manual send of swag etc. You can use macro to automate portions of that checklist while keeping track of the manual steps as well.
Use offer code ARON to get 20% off when you upgrade your account. Sign up here!
From the interwebs
Great thread on tips for succeeding in the remote world in the replies to this one 
Lenny Rachitsky
PMs: What's your best pro-tip for being successful in a remote and distributed team world?
One streamer I look up to and take inspiration from is Jason Lengstorf who hosts learn something with Jason (90 minute live co-coding). In the post below, he writes about how great content is a process, not a project. It’s the outcome of incremental improvements over time. I view my stream similarly: every week I target one or two areas of improvement. Nothing crazy: incorporate the chat better, add an agenda, tweak the analogy I use for a concept. Over time (we’ll hit 50 next week!), small changes add up! I like to believe those small changes are what created this—us, a community of operators and no-coders!
It’s also I think what unites us: we want to make our processes radically better. To do so, we often have to take it one step at a time by targeting small incremental changes week over week. The same goes for content.
Final note: there is now an abundance of “job boards” or “project boards” for no-coders. A few that have reached out are below. I have no experience with any of them (I don’t participate because I can't—I work at Airtable!) but if you do have experience with them or any others (as an operator, not owner/manager), I’d love to know how it went so I can recommend the right ones.
Until next week and keep building!
Aron
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Aron Korenblit

Weekly thoughts on the working smarter not harder using no-code tools + a weekly Airtable tip. Written by Aron Korenblit

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