In my role as a Salesforce Admin, I regularly receive emailed questions like this - not so complicated that scheduling a screen-sharing session is necessary, but not simple enough to warrant a "send me a link to the page you're on and I'll fix it" response. Often, it's a case of someone needing a little extra training.
Note: I've talked about this topic before (see this post: "How I Changed My Attitude Toward Internal Tech Support"), but I've updated my methods in the last few years.
I prefer to not just call someone up on the phone and tell them what to do. Why? Because...
- What happens when the person I'm helping forgets about our conversation and stumbles across the same issue?
- Schedule and time zone differences tend to yield a thread of 'what time works for you?' emails that drive me nuts.
- When the question comes up again with another person, it's great to have a resource that I can share quickly. I'm saving my future self some time.
- Phone calls are disruptive. I'd rather they review my response at the best time for them.
- Showing is always better than telling.
To help me use these opportunities to teach people individually, I use these three tools:
|Links: Clarify (from ScreenSteps) | Skitch (from Evernote) | Jing (from TechSmith)|
To determine which tool to use, I consider how I can answer their question best.
- Will a single marked-up image do the trick? Use Skitch.
- Would I type a numbered list of instructions in an email in response? And would pictures be helpful? Use Clarify.
- Can I explain this best by walking them through the steps personally? Use Jing.
How I Use SkitchI prepare my screen so I'm viewing what I want to capture, then use the keyboard shortcut for a crosshair snapshot (meaning I 'draw' around the area I want to capture).
I use arrows, boxes or text to annotate the image as necessary, drawing attention to a button they should click on or a field that they need to populate.
Note: Jing can also be used for individual screen captures, but I prefer Skitch because I can drag and drop the images directly into Gmail.
How I Use Clarify
When someone asks me a question that will involve a step-by-step answer, I love to use Clarify. It's a quick and easy way to create one-of tutorials that combine written instructions with annotated images that show them exactly what to do.
I typically share my tutorials via a link, but there's also an option to export as a PDF or to Evernote.
How I Use Jing
Jing is easily accessed from my menu bar. I choose the area that I want to record and click to start the video recording.
Most of the time, I record audio so I can explain what I'm doing. But on occasion I leave the audio muted if no other instructions are necessary aside from a quick demo.
I keep my explanations brief - usually right around a minute. Then, with a click, I can upload the video, then the link is automatically copied and I can paste it in an emailed response.
Recording a short video, preparing a step-by-step tutorial or capturing my screen may take a smidge more mental energy, but it doesn't take much longer than composing some instructions in an email. The results have been well worth the effort.
I received this response today after I sent a coworker a video about how to customize an existing report.
Click here to see another example of the response I've gotten to this method.
Does your job involve providing tech support or training for coworkers? If so, what tools have you found successful? I'd love to hear about them in the comments.