Support Your Product
Wordcamp Columbus 2015
mu forums: 6,690 posts.
regular forum: 5,370 posts. 9
Total wp.org forum posts: 12,060.
mu forums: 3 years of posts. 223 pages on proﬁle, 30 on each page. 6,690 posts.
regular forum: 9 years of posts. 179 pages. 5,370 posts. 12,060 posts. BUT… TEN *years*.
CERB total: over X years.
Before you help
• Help the user help themselves
• NUX / UI
• Use cases
you have a product. You need to anticipate how the user ﬁnds out information on how to use it.
New user experience. Where do they go for directions? Where do they go for help? Your job is to help the user help themselves as much as possible. How do you do this? Some of it is dev centric. How many in here
develop as well as support their own code? At some point, the support process helps identify issues that need to be ﬁxed in development. next slide: “you’re holding it wrong”
You’re holding it wrong!
Always keep improving the UI.
Constant work on docs. Docs are never done.
Make the docs easy to ﬁnd from multiple points.
Watch users USE your product. This can be eye opening.
Example: installing a plugin and trying to ﬁnd the directions / no settings page
Identifying pain points – stats can help. You don't need anything fancy, analytics can show what docs are most used. In the case of studiopress, how to edit the footer is a consistent top ten. Forums threads vs
download stats. 50 threads vs 100 downloads = not good. What percentage of users are asking for support?
Managing customer Expectations
what can the customer expect you to help them with? Set up a doc if needed.
Outline turn around time for replies (usually 24 hrs), what you can help with, what you can refer elsewhere.
Customization! Support person is the signpost / information booth. Start noting the support YOU receive from other places.
What tools to use
- forums vs help desk vs email
- troubleshooting to help them (ﬁrebug, view source)
- snippets (text expander, popchrome)
- SPELL CHECK, keyboard shortcuts
- standards for staﬀ, internal docs. Notes on tickets. Doc everything in case you're hit by a bus.
- form on customer end when submitting ticket gathers extra information
How to answer tickets / threads eﬃciently.
First in ﬁrst out (oldest ﬁrst)
professional, polite and helpful (embrace inner canadian)
straightforward ones, and speed triage for busy
time spent replying
handing oﬀ tickets or waiting.
Communicate what is happening so customer feels in the loop.
Speed: get in the zone but dont go full Kanye.
Phrasing – WHAT do you say?
help it;s broke ﬁx it
i;m mad and it;s all your fault
mirroring back at them, clariﬁcation – what happened? Steps to reproduce.
focus on the positive
educate the user so they can help themselves
more words are better. Until they aren't.
“I've learned that people will
forget what you said, people
will forget what you did, but
people will never forget how
you made them feel.”
― Maya Angelou
if you need to deliver bad news: positive / negative / positive
oﬀer a solution (make it right) even if it is not your product
it's not the users fault (“Text was broken here” vs “you forgot or did this” )
get to know frequent ﬂiers
when you screw up (say sorry, oﬀer the reason, not an excuse. Then move on and make it right.)
maya angelou quote “never forget how you made them feel”)
Handling diﬃcult customers
address the problem, not the emotion
apologize again, oﬀer solution – even if it's not you.
make it right
escalate if needed.
break. Save draft, walk away. It;s always better to wait at least 15mins in a heated exchange than to ﬁre oﬀ rapid reply.
When all else fails, time to ﬁre. Still oﬀer choice. If abusive, clearly outline what behaviour is not acceptable. May need to be delivered from person with top authority.
When to hire support people.
who does the support?
Devs and support
empowering support people
taking breaks (pomodoro, chrome extensions, actual timer) TRUST your team.
healthy habits (food, water)
ADD / OCD
letting oﬀ steam (rage quilting) Never ever do this in public. Done because you can question your own sanity & capabilities.
comparing notes (collaboration not competition. How this helps.)
hanging out with like minded people (support manager hangout).
Where to ﬁnd me – but don't ask for support!