How to Write Great Support Responses

You’ve got an open ticket.  What are you going to say?

Here are a few tactics that you can use in every support ticket to ensure a better customer support experience.

Respond Quickly

Customers expect a fast response.  According study by Forrester, 41% of consumers expect an email response within six hours.  Only 36% of the retailers in the study met that criteria.

The result?  Fast response time is an easy way to blow your customers’ minds.  Make sure you get email alerts or some sort of notification to stay on top of customer support inquiries.

Respond Immediately

Often times, you’ll read a support request and have an idea of how to fix it, but you’ll need to check out their site and try a thing or two.  If that’s the case, don’t just figure out the solution and then report back, reply first.

Let them know you see their request, sympathize with their issue, and tell them you’re working on a solution now.

Example:

Hi Marshall,

I see what you mean, that’s a pain.  I’m going to take a closer look now and I’ll be back shortly with a solution for you.

Regards,

Ben

Finding the right solution and writing a clear, concise response will take some time.  This lets your customer know a solution is on the way while you figure it out and write up your response.

Tip: More communication is almost always better

Be Clear & Concise

Your messages should be clear and concise above all else.  Here’s how you do that:

Avoid Tech Lingo

Your customer may have a very limited understanding of code or WordPress.  Avoid using complex terms in order to help your customers understand your response.

This will help them implement a solution faster and reduce the amount of subsequent questions they need to ask you.

Assume Nothing

Likewise, don’t guess the customers level of understanding regarding WordPress.  If you need them to edit their theme’s stylesheet, make sure you also tell them how to get there in case they don’t know.

Should they know how to do that?  Yeah, they probably should.  However, if they don’t know how to find it, here are the two outcomes:

You don’t tell them: Now it becomes your problem.  It takes additional messages and time to direct them.

You tell them: No additional messages and they learn something new from you (+1).

If they do know, they might appreciate your thoroughness anyway.

Write any directions in step-by-step format

You’ll often have something you want them to check on their site or a solution that requires a few steps to implement.  There’s no sense forcing it into a paragraph.

Break down the process into steps and list them in an ordered format:

1) Go to the plugins page
2) Find WordPress Image Borders and click the “Edit” link beneath it’s name
3) Find the code “.wib-img img”.  It appears in two places.
4) Replace it entirely with the following code in both places…

Use Second-Person Imperative Mood in Directions

The imperative mood is used in technical communication.  In second-person, it implies “you” without saying “you” and is considered the clearest way to give directions.

The steps above are written in second-person imperative as an example.

Use Short Sentences & Common Words

Short sentences and common words are easy for everyone to understand and are especially important to use since a large portion of your customers likely aren’t native English speakers.

I’m too practical to say pragmatic.

Two Additional Tips

Use Their Name

Customers love when you know their names and address them with it.  “Hi Sarah” is just so much better than plain old “Hello.”

Make sure that you require names upon signup or use a support system that gives you that information.

Follow Up

You just spent twenty minutes flexing your problem solving muscle to send a customer a personal solution, and they reward you with silence.

It sucks, but it can be used as an opportunity.

Wait a few days or hours depending on the context of the problem, and then follow up with that customer.  Ask them how the solution worked for them.

Above all else, it shows that you care.  It’s an opportunity for you to build trust with that customer, and that is worth following up for.

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2 Comments
  1. Ulrichd Ulrichd

    I think doing extra things like following up tickets can be good but I find that by increasing the time on each support ticket you decrease your performance and thus increasing the time it takes for other support tickets to be answered.

  2. Great advice for writing customer support responses. A clear and concise message is definitely the way to go. Thanks so much for sharing your tips.

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