It was a simpler time, or so the saying goes; grasses were greener, children willingly played outside, and customer service occurred in a store, with the customer right in front of you. You could walk them through something, and see their problems in real time with little room for dreaded ambiguity or misunderstanding.

We now sit at a desk, sometimes halfway round the world from the customer, with our communication options often whittled down to chat, email, or 140 characters. Luckily, technology has given us a couple of tools for explaining what customers should be doing quickly:

Screenshots, videos…and GIFs?

Yup GIFs. The fantastic tech love-baby of the Video and the Image; able to convey a whole process like a video, while keeping the go-anywhere, all-wheel-drive capabilities of a screenshot.

Screenshots are great for showing what an individual component of your UI looks like, but only tells one moment in the story, requiring a lot of extra typing, or multiple images in a row; this can quickly begin to resemble a Science Fair poster board, circa 1997.

Video also helps a lot, but has some drawbacks. With video, I can tell the whole story, but for showing a short process that doesn’t really require my narration, it’s silly to take the customer out of our conversation window for the visual.

How are GIFs the Solution?

A GIF (which stands for Graphics Interchange Format) allows for the best of both worlds when showing short processes. Using GIFs for customer support allows you to show a whole process like you can with a video, but can be copied and pasted into chat or email just like an image.

So, instead of typing everything out, like this:

Cropped chat box









…you can send an animated GIF as a clearer way to show instead of tell:

Untitled Recording 8-7-15 - 12-38 PM


Social Media Managers! You should listen up, too. Social media and customer service are one, now. Dont forget that. You only get 140 characters. Dont waste any. Use a GIF:

Untitled Recording 8-7-15 - 11-38 AM


The take-away, here, is that in a day and age when we are expected to be everywhere, all the time, and perform flawlessly with swift precision, we have to be on our game. There are no excuses, because the technology exists. We can provide support in so many different ways, that we owe it to our customers to be where they are with the kind of support that makes sense for the environment.


If you’re already an ilos user, making your screen recordings into GIFs is really easy. Learn more about it, here: GIFs FAQ Page