Faster Support – Support Agent Tip #4 – Forget the mouse!

Use the keyboard as much as you can.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Did you know that using the mouse slows you down? The moment you lift your hand from the keyboard to do some mousing you lost about one to two seconds. This is about the time you need to reach your mouse and then get back to your keyboard.

Work with the keyboard as much as you can.

Learn touch-typing / typing blindly

If you don’t yet know how to touch type, or you can type with “three-and-a-half” fingers, then I would strongly recommend you to learn it. If you are working with a computer – and since you are reading this I guess you do – touch typing is probably one of the most useful skills you can have.

What are the advantages? Well, you don’t need to look at your keyboard when you type. You don’t need to move your head up, down, left, right. You can concentrate on the screen or on the text you are copying. It speeds up things incredibly. And the people who are watching you and cannot touch type will be jealous. 😛

Also it helps to keep your fingers healthy. As a participant pointed out to me and the audience during my talk:

The more people use individual fingers to poke at a keyboard the more damage they’re gonna do to their fingers. Touch-typing will help your fingers until your old age.

To summarize: learn touch-typing. 🙂

Learn the shortcuts

You know Ctrl + B for bold, Ctrl + C / V for copy-paste and so on. These are the basics.

Here are two articles about useful shortcuts:

Did you know that you can navigate your cursor faster than one letter at a time? Try Ctrl + left / right arrow to jump word by word. Or Ctrl + up / down arrow to jump to the previous / next paragraph.

If you do that with Ctrl + Shift then you will be selecting word and paragraphs. And there is oh so much more!

Also look at the different tools and software that you use, check what shortcuts those have and learn them, at least the ones that you use the most. It will speed up your work a lot.

Script your own shortcuts

In the previous agent tip about automation I mentioned scripting utilities. They can be great helpers in this as they can be used for many things.

Recap: with scripting utilities you can set up very complex commands, a series of keystrokes, mouse movements that will run either via a keyboard shortcut or an abbreviation.

I started using scripts with AutoHotkey very early. In the beginning I only had a couple of shortcuts, which has since evolved to a library of 150 scripts and shortcuts. Here are a few examples. Before the arrow you’ll see the abbreviation that I type, after the arrow what it is being changed to.

Expanding long words

  • unftly –> unfortunately
  • apprd –> appreciated
  • a11y –> accessibility
  • i18n –> internationalization
  • sysinfo –> system information
  • reco –> recommend
  • wooc –> WooCommerce
  • kb –> knowledgebase

Correcting your common typos

  • browswer –> browser
  • zou –> you (this comes up a lot when I switch keyboard layouts)
  • wordpress or WordPress –> WordPress
  • paypal –> PayPal
  • google –> Google

Product names or product pages

When you are providing support you probably need to type out product names a lot. I start these with a “p” character for product.

  • twe17 –> twentyseventeen
  • twe19 –> twentynineteen (I hate typing these out.)
  • ptec –> The Events Calendar
  • ppro –> Events Calendar PRO
  • linktec –> The Events Calendar – https://wordpress.org/plugins/the-events-calendar/

And this for 13 plugins

Often quoted URLs

I start these with either “link” or “l”.

  • lysy –> URL to the article / guide on how the user can share their system information with us
  • linkaccount –> URL to the user’s account page
  • ltest –> URL to the article about conflict testing
  • ldebug –> https://codex.wordpress.org/Debugging_in_WordPress/

Often used sentences or paragraphs

  • pastefunc –> Paste the following snippet into your child theme’s functions.php file:
  • hth –> Hope this helps!
  • thxr –> Thanks for reaching out!
  • goodluck –> Good luck with your project!
  • mres –> I am going to mark this ticket as resolved, but if you need anything else related to this topic, just send a reply. For different topics please create a new ticket and we’ll be happy to help.{Enter}{Enter}Cheers,+{Enter}Andras
  • ese –> Events > Settings > x tab
  • Ctrl + Alt + E –> Randomly chooses between “Let me know if you have further questions.”, “Let me know if I can assist you further.”, “Let me know if I can be of further assistance.”, “Can I help you with anything else?”

This is just a small dégustation of what you can to.

I have a script for a repetitive task, that moves the mouse to a certain position on the screen, clicks a button there, moves to a dropdown list, selects the required entry (based on the shortcut I pressed) and then moves again ad presses a send button.

Doing this once by hand would be 5-7 seconds, while with the script it takes just a bit under 2 seconds. I needed to do this 30-40 times a day, and with the script I can shave off 3 minutes. That’s a short coffee break. 🙂

Demo

How all this can help is presented in a demo here.


This year (2019) in September I participated at WordCamp Switzerland in Zürich. I applied with a talk about how a support exchange, and thus reaching a resolution can be made faster. And I thought it would make a great blog series.

This is the fourth set of tips for Support Agents in the Faster Support – For Both Sides series.


Posts in the
Faster Support – From Both Sides
series

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