Review: For years, we used Zendesk to receive reports and comments about Boxy, our classic Inbox by Gmail app for Mac. When building a much bigger product, Boxy Suite, we soon slowly realized that we had a problem: we felt that Zendesk was messy, overly complex and cumbersome to use, while customer support should be frictionless. Got it. Well, I’d pay $100/yr for Boxy to somehow continue living longer than Inbox but clearly Googs is going full Gmail right now, so maybe those Inbox features I love will eventually make their way into the product.
If you’re a maker and you don’t know Zapier, stop reading now and check it out. It will make your life better. It might remind you of IFTTT, but it can do much more, with many more services. It lets you create workflows (Zaps) that connect apps, with any number of steps in between, and continuously run in background
Getting started with our customer support system
To get things started, we made a small list of must-have features:
- This system should be lean and easy to set up
- We should get an email for each new ticket and be able to reply easily
- Our apps should prefill the support form with user email, and app/OS info
- We should be able to see and export tickets in batch
- Bonus: tag tickets with relevant features or issues
- Bonus: commenting/threads on each ticket
Powering the support system with AirTable
AirTable is a Google Sheets on steroids — as Francesco would put it, imagine if Google Sheets and a relational database had a child. It has superpowers that allow to sync sheets, create automations and easily filter and group records. Moreover, it support forms beautifully, so it really seemed like the perfect solution for us.
Tagging and counting issues
We were already quite happy with this system, but we realized that to make it more complete and comprehensive, we needed to add support for actual issues and feature requests, as mentioned above. The current situation was dire: we had some issues open on GitHub and some lists of issues on Dropbox Paper, but not a single source of truth.