Wednesday, February 11, 2015

How I Use Jing, Clarify & Skitch to Train Salesforce Users on the Fly

"I'm trying to customize a report but my filters aren't working".... "I'm searching for an account but I'm not seeing anything in the results and it should be there".... "I don't see my opportunities."

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...
  1. What happens when the person I'm helping forgets about our conversation and stumbles across the same issue? 
  2. Schedule and time zone differences tend to yield a thread of 'what time works for you?' emails that drive me nuts.
  3. 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.
  4. Phone calls are disruptive. I'd rather they review my response at the best time for them.
  5. 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 Skitch

I 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.

The Result

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.


  1. I use Jing too. Just started using it with a client who has begun doing user testing (UT). If they report an issue to me that I can not duplicate, I create a short video to show the steps that I am doing and my results as a way to facilitate getting additional feedback on their steps. I attach a link to the video to the issue report, so that other's can see it too. Here's feedback I received just yesterday from my project manager:

    1. Great idea Rhonda! Those short vids can be so effective! (And thanks for sharing the feedback you received to. That's pretty awesome!)

  2. Jenna, these are great suggestions. I've used Jing successfully in the past and love the fact that it forces you to create a video less than 5 minutes. For most users, that is just the right amount of time to review a very specific topic. I've installed the other two apps you mentioned and love both of them. I may actually purchase Clarify now as a result! Super easy to use. Thanks for the suggestions!

    1. Brent, I'm glad you found this post helpful! And yay for Jing - so handy! After posting this, TechSmith (who makes Jing) contacted me about testing out SnagIt for screen capture and I'm really liking it so far. It supports dragging and dropping images into Gmail, as well as some annotations that I'm finding a little easier to use than Skitch. But, I'm still testing....

      Clarify is great!