I read an article by Chris Lema recently about how to write a support request that won’t get ignored. It was a great read and got me thinking; I’ll link it for you at the end of this article. In it though, he details three ways to get your support ticket largely ignored, and three ways to have it embraced. Best practices for communicating with support staff, essentially.
Long story short the article inspired me to go and interview our own support staff. I pulled them each aside and asked them for the three best and worst ways to open dialogue with support. Their thoughts are very interesting, and I’d like to share them with you. Here goes…
The Don’ts of Submitting a Support Request
You’ll probably pick up on a common theme here. Being a reasonable human being with a bit of patience goes a long way!
- Don’t focus on venting frustration to the detriment of describing the issue when opening a ticket. We know you’re frustrated, and we’re here to help you fix it. We don’t mind if you vent a little, but the more we focus on the issue the faster we get it solved.
- Don’t be hostile. Frustration is understandable, but opening dialogue with anyone by swearing at them and calling them an idiot is a terribly nonproductive way to handle anything. Why is this even a thing?
- Don’t spam help requests about the same problem. Multiple inquiries on the same issue accomplish one of two things depending on the support system, neither of which benefit you. You either add multiple tickets to the system and slow us down dealing with them, or each request is appended to the original, which lowers your priority and means it actually takes us longer to see you!
- Don’t submit a request before you’ve taken basic steps to investigate the problem yourself. Oftentimes the solution to your issue is spelled out in product documentation or a FAQ. It will always be faster for you to find and implement a solution using those resources than through a support channel if possible.
The Do’s of Submitting a Support Request
- Do provide details. Every last shred that you can. If the support form asks for system status, provide your system status. If there’s an error message, detail it for us and how we can reproduce it. If you’ve taken steps to troubleshoot yourself, detail the steps you’ve taken. It is not enough to just say “I know it’s not this”. We need to know how you came to that conclusion. Details matter!
- Do be patient and respectful. Yes, this is basically the inverse of “Don’t be hostile”. It bears repeating and expansion. Anyone is at the very least unconsciously inclined to go a bit above and beyond for someone who is respectful and conscientious. We aim to treat all our customers with the same outstanding customer service, but human nature is what it is. Sometimes an issue is new even to us and we are learning with you. We will do our best to get you taken care of asap.
- Do be willing to follow our advice. “No, I know that’s not it” is not useful to anyone unless you’re able to detail why “that’s not it” so we can incorporate that information into our troubleshooting steps. Trying something similar is not a replacement. There’s a formulaic nature to efficient troubleshooting, and if you don’t follow the formula as prescribed…
- Do submit separate issues as separate tickets. Multiple issues make multiple tickets a good thing. Taking things one at a time means faster and better service for you. Parsing that megaticket that resembles a small novel is not a good experience for us or for you.
Here’s Chris Lema’s article that I mentioned above as inspiration for this one. Not surprisingly, he was spot on in his writing. You’ll see a lot of similarities with what our own support crew had to say. At the end of the day, we can summarize something like this: don’t be a jerk, and do tell us everything you know about the issue. Trust that we want to find a resolution to your issue as much as you do. Our mission is to help you be awesome. Help us help you!