Let’s define the word support so we are all on the same page:
- something providing immaterial assistance to a person or cause or interest;
- supporting structure that holds up or provides a foundation;
- give moral or psychological support, aid, or courage to;
When you go to lodge a website support ticket, you are in most cases asking for support; someone to help you or answer the questions you may have. Because you are the customer does not give you license to be bossy, demanding or rude.
It is a wise thing to be polite; consequently, it is a stupid thing to be rude. To make enemies by unnecessary and willful incivility, is just as insane a proceeding as to set your house on fire. For politeness is like a counter–an avowedly false coin, with which it is foolish to be stingy.
? Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life and Counsels and Maxims
Support Ticket Etiquette
“Support Ticket Etiquette” includes the very same issues I type about here all the time. Basically typing with knowledge, understanding and courtesy.
- Always include a greeting. To just blurt out your questions or demands can lend to a negative perception of the kind of customer you are or partner you will be. I always start tickets by say “Hello, I’m hoping you can help me today…” (“What a nice customer!”)
- Unless you know everything and are an expert at the issue at hand, respectful inquiries will get the best results. Making demands based on little knowledge or experience (or incorrect perceptions based on limited knowledge) will expose your possible lack of receptiveness to solutions on the issue. I see clients do this all the time. They are frustrated with something not working as they perceive it should and they whip off demanding, condescending support tickets which then clearly reflect how much they really don’t know.
It helps to include “If I missed a resource or help page that covers this, please send me the URL for further review. ;-)” This let’s the support staff know I did in fact make the effort to find what I was looking for before asking for assistance. (“How cool that this customer isn’t wasting my time!”)
- Include every bit of detail the support agent will need to assist you. Order numbers, dates, confirmation numbers, specific error messages, URLs — anything you think they may need to help you in one fell swoop! Have that all available so you can easily include it in your support request. General accusations or demands without details will indicate a lack of respect for the support rep’s time. (“Exactly all the info I need to get the customer the answers they seek in one response!”)
- Always end your request/ticket with a TIA, Thanks in Advance, Appreciate your help — something — and your name. Thanking folks for their help, encourages them to do just that. Including your name personalizes your request. (“I wish all customers were this nice and helpful!”)
On a regular basis I see support requests that make my jaw drop open. I wonder what these folks are thinking by typing in the bossy and demanding manner that they do (in all lower case, typos and improper grammar). All the while asking for — and pressing for — assistance!
Unless you know all the details of what is going on in the background (especially with technology related support requests), it is best to be humble and assume you are not aware of the big picture that could be causing the issue at hand.
- not proud or arrogant; modest: to be humble although successful.
- having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience, etc.: In the presence of so many world-famous writers I felt very humble.
- courteously respectful
Regardless of your level of frustration at the time, whenever you need another person’s assistance, and are not an expert on the topic, humility and courtesy will be appreciated and garner faster responses.
By approaching support staff with courtesy, that believe it or not is not commonplace, reflects you are a person of character, that you realize you need help and are open to new concepts and learning a few new things along the way.
This approach will provide a pleasant and constructive experience on both sides of the screen.
Replacing rudeness and impatience with the Golden Rule may not change the world, but it will change your world and your relationships.
? Steve Shallenberger, Becoming Your Best: The 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders