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Customer Support in the WordPress World


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I’ve been doing customer support for many years. Some of it on my own, and some with other companies, like Yoast and WP Fix It. I’ve done plugin and theme support, cleaned up hacked sites, troubleshooted WordPress, and managed design and development projects. This has resulted in learning a lot of things about people, and even a lot of things about myself.

Customer support can be tricky. You have to figure out what the client needs, and respond appropriately. You sometimes deal with jerks along the way.

I’m going to share with you some tips I’ve picked up doing customer support, especially in the WordPress world. Hopefully this will help you improve your customer support interactions.

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Customer Support in the WordPress World

  1. 1. Customer Support in the WordPress World By Nile Flores @blondishnet
  2. 2. Objective ❏ Define what customer support in WordPress entails ❏ Share ways to identifying your client’s needs better ❏ Share ways customer support tips that have worked, even with the toughest customers to deal with
  3. 3. My Online Customer Support Experience ❏ Worked for Yoast Customer Support, 1st and 2nd line for 2 years ❏ Provided support clients by myself through for 15 years ❏ Work for WP Fix It for at least 2 years
  4. 4. What is Customer Support in the WordPress World? As a customer support person in the WordPress World, you have to know how to use WordPress well enough to troubleshoot and find a solution for the end user’s issues. Additionally, you have to know the plugin, theme, or service you’re providing support for.
  5. 5. Most Common Types of Support ❏ Help desk (using HelpScout, Freshdesk, etc.) ❏ Phone ❏ Email
  6. 6. Why a Company Offers Support Make money Fastest way to get feedback from end user is to tie the product in with paying service, because manning Support forums, for some theme and plugin developers can become a monster. Not everyone donates to the developer’s cause.
  7. 7. Not everyone is suited for Customer Support This is why, as a community around a plugin or theme or service grows, hiring customer support is necessary. Not all developers enjoy tackling a mountain of support. Customer Support team allows a developer to get to the problems, while the support helps make people happy. It’s kind of magical in some situations (when your plugin or theme update accidentally downs a couple hundred thousand sites.)
  8. 8. The role of a Customer Support person ❏ First line support - basic inquiries and troubleshooting that don’t require much code, or answers can include references to documentation or knowledge base ❏ Second line support - Might involve deeper troubleshooting that may require reproducing issue in another environment, or writing a little code for a solution, while identifying actual bugs that can be sent to 3rd line or submission to Github ❏ Third line - it’s rare to get to this point unless there is something fundamentally wrong that needs one of the developers to step in ❏ Answering non-support inquiries or filtering email to the right department ❏ Writing documentation for knowledge base ❏ Sales
  9. 9. Identify your client’s needs It’s extremely important to correctly identify your customers’ needs, to ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty. Failing to identify their needs, or being indifferent to their needs, could result in your client taking business elsewhere. Solving the issues is just part of the process.
  10. 10. Your Customers have feelings! Yes, this might be surprising to some, but you have to build both an appropriate way of empathy and sympathy for your clients. You could still have the right answer, and the client “walks” away unsatisfied. Context in support is EVERYTHING!
  11. 11. Your Customers Come from All User levels As much as you sometimes would like to do, when something seems dumb, keep it to yourself. Sometimes your client isn’t really sure what to ask for.
  12. 12. What I learned from Taco at Yoast ❏ Content ❏ Motivation ❏ Experience You can identify how to approach your client better when you can identify your client’s needs
  13. 13. Examples of Content, Motivation, and Experience Experience: “This plugin is extremely important because my whole business is about selling products. Your plugin update messed up my site and I’m losing money!!!” Content: “My premium ecommerce plugin extension update failed.” Motivation: “You promised yesterday to fix the bug that caused the plugin update to fail. I’ve not received an update for the plugin yet.”
  14. 14. Customer Support Tips
  15. 15. Know the product or service you’re doing support for And if you do know it, but run into times that you don’t know it all, don’t give up. Find a solution by Googling or consult your team.
  16. 16. Never leave a customer hanging Communication is everything. Make sure to let them know if you need time to gather the right information with them. People love being updated. No information makes for confusion.
  17. 17. Stop using smileys, emoticon, emoji! You might think adding a smiley face emoji to your support might brighten the whole context. In some cases, you end up becoming a know-it-all jerkface, especially when the issue wasn’t really resolved. Just stop doing it, no matter the temptation.
  18. 18. Be prepared to correct the issue if you’re wrong The customer always being right can be a debatable topic. Rather than approach customer support from this angle, approach it with an open mind. Always be prepared to correct the issue. Sorry is not the solution. In fact, “sorry” is said too much, so avoid saying it by finding the solution.
  19. 19. And then the oddball - Always Negative Nancy Some people have a bad day, all day, every day. Sometimes people look to make your day bad. Your best bet is to approach them without getting emotional. Never meet their emotion with yours because that’s a trainwreck that will happen. Sometimes you might have to fire a customer (and in some cases, even refund them.) There’s just nothing more you can do, or they’ve crossed the line. Just fire them with class, and don’t allow them to troll you.
  20. 20. Cross your t’s and dot your i’s Double check your replies to your customers. You’re being paid to give support, so slang and major grammatical issues shouldn’t be in your conversation.
  21. 21. Watch your jargon Aside from knowledge, your customers don’t always speak as geeky as you. Talk at their level (not down at them), and be patient.
  22. 22. ALWAYS thank your clients Begin your interactions with a thankful. Gratitude is important!
  23. 23. Thank You! Nile Flores - Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter. :) Twitter: @blondishnet LinkedIn: https://linkedin. com/in/blondishnet Slideshare: https://slideshare. net/blondishnet