Let’s face it – getting the right info from customers can sometimes be a challenge. Some customers give you a three page email about what went wrong while others give you a single line. Especially with email support, you want to limit the number of back-and-forth emails, which only add to a customer’s wait time.
But how do you help customers help you? Let’s look at a few ways.
Tell them what you need
Most customers don’t really know what you need to help them. That’s why they either overload you with information you don’t need or make it so short you have to ask for more info. You need to tell them what you need.
I tell customers to think of it as those old stories where you focus on the five w’s – who, what, when, where, and why. Who’s this happening to? What’s happening? Where and when did it happen? That way you can figure out the why behind what’s going on.
When customers know what you’re looking for, they’ll give it to you in the first email.
Take a screenshot
Screenshots give you a way to see what the customer’s seeing. But actually taking a screenshot can be tricky if the customer’s never done it before. Give them a link to info on how to take a screenshot on their device.
Check out the site at take-a-screenshot.org for a great example.
Self-service right there on the form
Some cases can easily be solved if the customer can check things on their end. If you send out email notifications from your app, sometimes people won’t get them. They might be trapped in a spam filter, not sending to the right email address, etc.
With Basecamp notifications, we give people a way to check their address on the help page. When they select “I’m not receiving emails”, a link appears where they can check the status of email delivery to their address. They plug their email address in there and instantly know if it’s because of something on our end or their end. That often solves their problem without having to contact us.
Want to see that in action? Head over to the Basecamp site and click “I’m not receiving emails”.
Give examples of fake help tickets.
Sometimes just seeing an example will help a customer out. Put a link on your help site to a few examples of helpful tickets. Don’t use real tickets of course! But create a few fake ones that really highlight what you’re looking for with tickets.
Put a character limit on your form.
Wait – hear me out. I know this one sounds weird at first.
Think back to the last time you had a customer write in a three page email. Did you really need all that detail? Of course not! They just didn’t know what you needed so they gave you everything.
Now that you’ve got some of the above things on your help page, that means they should know what info to send your way. To make sure they’re not writing three page emails still, add a character limit to thee form submission. That way the customer thinks about the email before just word vomiting on you. Don’t use some crazy low character limit but one like 3,000 characters. Anything over 3,000 characters is just too much info that you probably don’t need.
When it comes to your help site and support flow, what ways are you helping your customer help you more?