We had been splitting our feedback and support by sending people to either Get Satisfaction or our support site. It never quite felt right to have two web options for support, and so we began to send people exclusively to our own support request form where we control the experience. The results have been fantastic.
I’ve always felt obligated to respond to support emails incredibly fast. After talking to customers and others in the industry, everyone else had much more lenient expectations on our response times. As a result, I wanted to try backing off of my obsessive support request turnarounds and decided to clearly lay out what you can expect when you use the contact form. We also make sure to let you know what time it is where we live.
In all honesty, this change was more to help me bring my personal expectations inline with what I was hearing from everyone than it was to clarify our goals and intent. It’s truly helped me be more relaxed about response times when it’s clear that someone doesn’t want or expect a quick response.
We also added an explicit way for people to specify when they felt their question was an emergency. It was a little scary to add this for fear of abuse, but the truth is that people have been very judicious. There’s only been one instance that arguably wasn’t an emergency, but it was clearly very important to the individual that submitted it, so that was good enough for us.
Interestingly enough, we’ve actually received a few compliments about the addition of this field.
Personalization and Accountability
My experience has been that once people know who is on the other end and that their request isn’t going into some faceless queue, they’re much more relaxed and polite. We’ve all been trained to expect that when we ask for help it’s going to be a miserable experience.
With our support request form, since I’m handling the majority of the support requests, I wanted to introduce myself up front and let people know that I’ll be responsible for making things right. While I can’t quantify the effect, I can anecdotally say that support has been a lot more pleasant.
Individually, these are all small changes, and our form is far from perfect, but these changes have resulted in a much more personal and friendly tone for initial support requests.