Address all points

I would like to welcome the 20s with some customer support advice.

Here is a customer email we may receive:

Hi!

I have a problem with your web hooks. The documentation lists some events I can rely on, but it is not clear if I can get a notification when XYZ happens. It’s firing some times but it’s not consistent. Is this not supported? Any chance you will add more events in the future?

We could send out the following reply:

Hi!

Thanks for getting in touch.

Our web hooks only support the events you see on the documentation page.

Cheers

Can you spot the problems?

Fail to address all points

They asked if there’s a chance we add more events in the future. We did not address that.

They also mentioned a certain event fires inconsistently, which again we failed to address.

It is almost certain they will feel ignored. We may think our response addresses those points in an indirect way. But that’s not how our customer will take this. We should address all points explicitly.

Missing opportunities

We are missing an opportunity to learn more from our customer. Why are they interested in the XYZ event? Can they share more feedback about it? What other events would they be interested in seeing support for?

Asking those questions makes them feel included and understood. They feel their opinion matters and we collect valuable information for the product or engineering team.

The response is rude

When you fail to address all points, and send a very short and strict response, you are being rude.

A possible improved version

Here is one way we could improve our response:

Hi!

Thanks for writing in!

Indeed, we are not very consistent with some of the events. You can see them working, but not always. If they are not listed in our documentation, you should not rely on them.

I am sorry you have wasted your time with this inconsistent event. We should really clarify this in our documentation.

If you have some time I’d love to learn more about how the XYZ event is useful to you. Are there more events you wish we supported?

Although I can’t promise we will add them, I will share this information with our product team for them to consider.

Thanks again for taking the time to share this with us.

Cheers,

This may create some back and forth, but it’s way better than trying to cut the conversation short.

To recap what we did to improve our response, we:

  • addressed all points in the customer’s initial message
  • admitted it’s our fault the customer wasted their time with an unsupported event
  • asked more information to share with the product/engineering team
  • thanked them for contributing to our product offering

I hope this helps! Happy 2020.

HeavyMelon is building Supportress. A simple, fast and reliable customer support tool at an unbeatable price. It helps you stay calm and productive. Subscribe to this blog, subscribe to our monthly HeavyMelon Newsletter, or ask us to add you to the private beta.

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Petros Amiridis View All →

Petros is a software writer since 1998, when he graduated from CITY College with a degree in Computer Science. He took a small break to work at GitHub Support for 9 years as a support engineer and a people manager. He quit GitHub to found HeavyMelon, a calm fully remote company. You can check what he is doing and where you can find him online now.

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