Less is more

I am using a great piece of software for managing my budget. It’s one of the best I have used. And I have used quite a few in the past. From real money in real envelopes, to a spreadsheet, to several desktop and web applications as of late.

I have settled on using a web application that strikes a great balance between unnecessary functionality and not having enough features. That way, I don’t have to settle on using a spreadsheet or a business financial application with features I will never use that stand in my way.

I will not reveal the application to protect the innocent as I share my experience with their support, which is generally great.

One day, I wondered if I can use the software in a way that’s not obvious. I decided to ask their support about it.

After a first interaction with a response that was not clear, a second support person responded. Their response was very long, and full of resources.

Normally, I would appreciate their effort to include as many resources as possible. That can be a sign they are trying to help me. The problem with those resources was that a number of them were either irrelevant or out of date.

This was a sign they may have not spent a bit more time to understand my problem in depth. They reached for a list of as many resources as possible, and sent it to me. They probably used a canned response, which saves them a lot of time. But the time they save is often an added burden for their customer.

In my case, they put the burden of filtering out the resources on me. They hoped I would read everything and figure out the solution to my problem.

They could have handled it slightly better. They could have asked questions and repeat what they understand until they nail it. Then point me to the resource that solves my problem. Or if such a resource doesn’t exist, explain in their own words.

A customer can sense when you have put the effort into understanding what they are asking. Even a canned response that has received a slight massage before going out, can reveal your effort to cut corners.

Main points

  • Be concise when you share resources in your response, and make sure what you share is relevant and up to date.
  • Ask questions and repeat what you understand until you have the full picture.
  • Don’t use canned responses, or rewrite them to fit the exact situation before you send your response.

HeavyMelon is building Supportress. A simple and fast 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 View All →

Head of Support at @GitBook where I build a calm Support team. Learning Elixir. Writing 2D retro games. Previously @GitHub.

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