How to Reduce Bad Reviews and Improve Support with Dashboard Widgets

Do your users ever contact you for support at your personal email? Or leave a 1-star review about how the product doesn’t work without ever contacting you for help?

No one will ever complain about customer support being too accessible. Here’s a way you can increase the odds of your users contacting you in the right place for support.

Something you can do now: add a link to your theme/plugin’s settings page showing users where to find support.

Add a Customer Support Dashboard Widget

The way we’re going to make support easier to find is by adding a widget to the top of your user’s dashboard. For a plugin, this may be an inappropriate solution, so consider implementing the same steps on your plugin’s settings page.

Lucky for us, using the Dashboard Widgets API is incredibly easy. Here’s code straight from the codex you can use to add a widget:

/**
 * Add a widget to the dashboard.
 *
 * This function is hooked into the 'wp_dashboard_setup' action below.
 */
function example_add_dashboard_widgets() {

	wp_add_dashboard_widget(
                 'example_dashboard_widget',         // Widget slug.
                 'Support Dashboard',         // Title.
                 'example_dashboard_widget_function' // Display function.
        );	
}
add_action( 'wp_dashboard_setup', 'example_add_dashboard_widgets' );

The code above utilizes the wp_add_dashboard_widget function to add the widget. We’ll use the display callback later in the post.

Add Content to the Widget

Now that your widget is added, you need to add content to be displayed in it. This is where you’ll add a link to whatever support portal and documentation you use.

**
 * Create the function to output the contents of our Dashboard Widget.
 */
function example_dashboard_widget_function() {

	// Display whatever it is you want to show.
        <p><a target='_blank' href='http://mywebsite/docs'>Visit the Documentation</a> or <a data-sd-link="52b8f0099a5c3e020021fade">Open a Support Ticket</a></p>
	<p>We can help you, please contact us before leaving a review</p>
}

The code above adds a link to documentation and a link to the ticket form the way a Support Dash user would. There’s also a paragraph encouraging users to contact support before leaving a negative review.

Force Your Widget to the Top

Your widget is done now, but no one is going to look at it because it’s at the bottom. We’re going to force it to the top so all of your users see and use it:

function example_add_dashboard_widgets() {
 	wp_add_dashboard_widget( 'example_dashboard_widget', 'Example Dashboard Widget', 'example_dashboard_widget_function' );

 	// Globalize the metaboxes array, this holds all the widgets for wp-admin

 	global $wp_meta_boxes;

 	// Get the regular dashboard widgets array 
 	// (which has our new widget already but at the end)

 	$normal_dashboard = $wp_meta_boxes['dashboard']['normal']['core'];

 	// Backup and delete our new dashboard widget from the end of the array

 	$example_widget_backup = array( 'example_dashboard_widget' => $normal_dashboard['example_dashboard_widget'] );
 	unset( $normal_dashboard['example_dashboard_widget'] );

 	// Merge the two arrays together so our widget is at the beginning

 	$sorted_dashboard = array_merge( $example_widget_backup, $normal_dashboard );

 	// Save the sorted array back into the original metaboxes 

 	$wp_meta_boxes['dashboard']['normal']['core'] = $sorted_dashboard;
}

(this is code also from the codex)

Your widget should now appear front-and-center in your customers’ dashboards. Following the steps will only take you a few minutes to implement since all the code is here for you and requires little customization.

With it’s use you should see a reduction in the amount of those annoying support emails going to the wrong place and wanton negative reviews.

Improve the User Experience

Forcing your widget to the top of your users’ dashboard might seem a tad aggressive. Your users trust you enough to install your software on their site and you don’t want to violate that.

If the widget is kept small, doesn’t include any advertisements, and only exists to make support more accessible, most users will appreciate its inclusion. Again, this solution fits well for a WordPress theme, but is likely inappropriate for most plugins.

Related Posts

3 Comments

    Post a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *