One of the important aspects of any business is taking care of your customers. You want to make sure that things are as easy as possible for them and that they can succeed with using your system. The sad reality however is this is not always possible.
1. Jargon: Not everyone communicates on the same level and what is crystal clear to one person is incredibly confusing to others.
2. Experience: It is incredibly difficult to not make assumptions when you are providing both training and support. It is as if someone asked you to explain how to breath… you don’t think about it, you just know.
3. Technology: This always likes to throw in a curve ball. Whether it be spam filters, ISP issues, or operating system problems… there is always something that makes life a little bit more of a challenge thanks to technology.
The first step to combat this is to try to provide all the answers… but this again is not always easy. The program might be in beta and all the answers are not known yet. What is important here however is that you keep track of every issue that happens and update the training to reflect those changes. It is also wise to create a frequently asked questions area that even includes how to make sure emails can get through.
It is also wise to have both video and written instructions. Some love both but most prefer one over the other and just because you might like one more, does NOT mean the rest of the world does as well.
Now the sad truth is no matter how detailed you get or how much info you provide, there will still be some who either do not want to look for it, watch it or still do not understand. This is where customer support comes into play.
Often times when we are starting out, we simply manage customer support through email… the problem with that is it is very hard to track and it can become very time consuming just getting organized. I like to use the support system, it is a paid system but has loads of functionality. The great thing about it is the amount of features but there are also very powerful free options as well.
The free options are fantastic for those just getting started and need something to help manage support. You can create sub accounts for other users to manage the system for you when you are ready to hire out (outsource) and they provide tracking and lots of other powerful features. If you use cpanel hosting and have fantastico installed, then you can find lots of free options already installed.
Now about “Dealing with Idiots”
I have to be honest and say that this post came as inspiration from a ticket that was submitted a few days ago and then an email I received. Support showed me a ticket that the initial message started with… “WTF”. The girl who showed this to me is training and is not used to these types of people yet and was offended. The message was also very vague.
Well my goal with support is that they need to “kill them with kindness” and that’s what they try to do. Myself however, when people email me directly.. I do not give them that same treatment.
Now you see, people are very one sided.. you will notice this with blog comments as well and all sorts of stuff, they will lash out and then when they are replied to, they claim that you cant do that. I agree with this to a point… you need to treat people how you would like to be treated and especially through your support system. You sometimes need to just be nice even though every ounce of your being is screaming to tell the person what for.
At what point is it not worth it?
Here is my view point…. Have They Helped You Earn Any Revenue?
This may sound selfish but that is what we are in this business for. Now helping you make money does not mean that they have actually spent money with you but are they providing helpful feedback, have they provided helpful comments on your blog, have they done things that make your business better?
If the answer is yes, then BE NICE! They may just be having a bad day and if they ad value to your business then it is worth it.
So at what point is enough, enough.
Believe it or not (I am sure you will though), we have had people make our support burst down in tears, there are some very self centered and spiteful people in the world that are just plain and simply BUTTHOLES!
You will get these with paid customers and in fact I have more then once simply refunded people because they were such buttholes. The way I look at it is if one person is distracting my support (by making them tear up) then they are taking away from that person helping those that deserve it.This in turn is risking us to lose other paying customers which is taking money away from my family.
But what about support for FREE products?
This is a tricky one. First of all you need to remember that you need to treat an email address as an asset and if they are giving it to you then that is a price they paid. It is wise to set up a support system for your free services as well and to do your best to be as helpful as possible.
When to Draw the line?
When its more then just a bad day!
Now, there may be some that disagree with me here but there comes a point when enough, really is just enough. In the example of the person who was a pain this week (no this is not the person who made any of our support tear up) the initial support ticket was very ignorant. Well the ticket was responded too but did not provide the details the person requested and they responded with an even more ignorant response.
Well my input to support was remember “Kill Them with Kindness”
(Time to be a hypocrite) –> Then I received an email from that same person starting with “WTF”
Well, this became obvious that over 4 days, this was more then just a bad day. So I simply told the person to go away because they are an ignorant butthole. They now were in my opinion a liability and not an asset because they were now costing me productivity with their communications.
There comes a point when you need to look at how your spending the time and your energy and if someone is causing you to be distracted and never offering anything or has never offered anything then drop them. You need to look at everything from an ROI perspective. If this person is not helping your business in any way and does not appear to ever help, then drop them.
This is a tiny.. I mean tiny percentage of people!!
You need to understand that we deal with thousands of people all the time and everyday we get all together at least 100 tickets a day for one thing or another from all our services and I can honestly count on one hand in the last 4 years as to how many people we have done this too.
For any of you that have ever seen the movie “Road House”, there is a line in it where Patrick Swayze says…
“Be nice until it is time to not be nice”
99% of the population will be good if you respond nice… but there is that 1% that will not be… those are the people you need to sometimes just tell to go away.
Final thought –> Do not be surprised by threats or other claims. Out of the four people that we have done this too, everyone of them has came back with a threat of a smear campaign against us. Just let it go!
Stick to your guns, keep providing excellent support and do not let them bother you. Keep documentation of everything and just stay focused on your true customers who deserve your attention. If you have done nothing illegal, unethical or otherwise then there is only so much they can do and besides the extra publicity is often good for backlinks. Besides this proves the type of person they were to begin with if they feel that it is worth their time to waste energy doing such a thing instead of growing their own business.
The other thing is not to be surprised when these people respond that you are unprofessional. Well it is like I said, people often feel that they have the right to say what ever they want but if you respond…well that is not fair…. well I believe if you are going to throw rocks, be prepared for them to be thrown back at you!
if you are going to throw rocks, be prepared for them to be thrown back at you!
Last of all… thanks to this weeks “Butthole Award Winner” for providing the inspiration for this post. If you are interested in winning the next award, contact our customer support.
So what kind of nightmare support issues have you had to deal with from your readers or customers?