Since joining WooThemes as a support ninja in July 2012 I have learned a lot about supporting WordPress products and how the customers that use them can get the best support possible. In this post I will hopefully share some knowledge that I have gained and will help you get the best, fastest and most accurate support from your product provider whether that be WooThemes or another company.
When you run into an issue you cannot solve or your having trouble with a product be that a theme or plugin at some point you’re going to have to contact support for assistance. When submitting a support request to any provider it can sometimes take several hours to be answered by an agent as most companies don’t offer 24hr support and a high percentage also work remotely in different timezones too.
A good question to ask yourself before submitting a support ticket however is “Can I do anything before I submit my support request that will speed the process up and give the agent the best possible information to assist me quickly and accurately”.
The answer to this is yes and there are several things that can really help an agent assist with your request.
The first task you can perform is to carry out some basic testing before submitting a support request.
- Check that all your products are up to date and you have the latest versions installed, This includes Themes, Plugins and the WordPress Core Software.
- Deactivate all of your site plugins at the one time to check for conflicts if the issue resolves itself re-enable your plugins one by one checking if the issue has returned after you enable each plugin.
- If you have customized the product by adding HTML, CSS or PHP check these edits are not the issue and if you have created a child theme disable this and switch to the default parent theme.
- If it’s a plugin that’s having issues switch themes to the Default Twenty Twelve to check if it’s a theme code issue. If the issue persists after switching you then know it’s not theme related issue that’s the cause.
A lot of the time performing these four simple tests will allow you to diagnose the issue and potentially resolve it yourself without having to wait for a reply from support. If this testing does not assist in resolving the issue you have at least gathered some fantastic information that you can then supply in your support request.
The second task is information, the more detailed information about the issue you can supply when writing your request will really help the agent understand what the issue is and where it is located on your site. The more detailed information you can gather regarding the issue will allow the agent to answer your request accurately and also help resolve the issue faster.
Here are some fictitious example’s of a badly written support requests
Below I will list some examples of the kind of badly written support request’s that usually take an extended period of time to resolve due to the lack of information supplied by the customer and the added communication that this causes between both parties.
My site is broken
I on occasion get request’s with as little information as this included within the description. The main downfall here is that the agent has no clear idea as to what’s broken on the site and will have to ask for some extra information which increases the time until you get a resolution to your issue.
I want to add recent products to the homepage of my site
This type of request is slightly longer but still does not give enough information about where I want the products to appear on my site other than the homepage which will have several possible sections these could be displayed on. Again the agent will need to ask for clarification which is another reply and waiting time that could have been avoided by including more detailed information initially.
I installed you product, set it up and it not’s working but has broken my entire site and now I can’t do anything. This is the first time I have used one of your product’s and it messed up my entire site, what do i do now.
I expect you to fix this immediately as all i done was to install your product and boom my site wrecked, I don’t expect any excuses and if you cannot fix this immediately I want my money back.
This is an extreme example of a request where something has went very wrong but the customer provides very little detail about the issue other than the site is wrecked. This means again the agent need’s to ask for more information maybe login details etc to try and assess what the issue could be prolonging the time to resolution for the customer. You can also tell by the tone of the request that the customer has written this in haste letting they’re frustrations pour out instead of asking for the assistance they require and including details of the actual issue itself.
How To Write A Good Support Request
How do I write a better support request that will get my request answered in the best possible way along with helping to hopefully provide a fast resolution to the issue I am experiencing.
Below is an example of what information would be beneficial to include when creating a support request and is based on an alternative submission based off the example above of a site being wrecked.
I recently purchased your product product_X and when I installed it on my site it seems to mess up the layout of my homepage, you will see the issue just below the slider on the homepage and I have included a screenshot for you so you can clearly see the issue for yourself. You can also see this live on my site here http://sitedown.damit as I have left this active for you to inspect.
I am using the latest version of your product_X v1.0.7 and I am using v3.7.1 of WordPress. I also tried disabling all of my activate plugins and switched themes to Twenty Twelve as a test and unfortunately the issue still persists after doing this. My site and your product has also not been modified in any way and everything is standard.
Could you take a look for at this for me please as it has me totally stumped, if you require login details or if there is anything else I can do to assist let me know.
Thanks again for taking the time to help.
The first thing you notice is the reply is much calmer in tone as I really want the help and I don’t assume that I’m not going to receive any before I actually get an initial reply.
I have also provided some information about the issue along with a screenshot for the agent to see and understand what is wrong with my site along with leaving the issue visible on the live site for them to inspect the source code if need be.
Next I indicate what versions of the software I am using and that the site has no customizations added to it. I then detail the tests I was able to perform myself to try and rule out any possible conflicts between plugins or themes.
Finally I offer login details should they be required and offer to help if there is any other information I can provide or testing the agent may need done.
Help Support To Help You
If you take anything useful away from this post hopefully it’s “Help Support To Help You”.
By providing as much information as you can about the issue, where it’s located on the site, what you have tried before submitting the request and what versions of software you have installed it really helps the support agent to resolve your request as quickly as possible and without the continuous backwards and forth communication being required that can take so long.