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Wednesday, January 19, 2011


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I sure don't miss doing your tech support. :)

We've found that providing short video howto-torials (we use Camtasia) and adding to the FAQs on every new issue has dramatically cut down on the calls and emails. Interestingly, a large portion of these smaller number of calls are prospects and, occasionally, customers that we fire, the perpetually unhappy and disgruntled. On occasion we demand a credit card number before starting to read from these FAQs, and close quickly with something like '...Is there anything else we can help you with?'

Number 1 rule when responding to nasty support emails: There's no defense against friendliness

I don't remember where I read it, but I think is absolutely fantastic advise: think about your customer support "persona" as a puppet. You handle it, but it is not *you*. Your customers talk to it, but not to *you*.

(Actual sock puppet and funny voice optional.)

Your right. Some customers do suck. Similarly, some products suck and tech support reps suck and business models suck. Suckiness is usually tied to unrealistic expectations. Is the SLA fair, is the pricing fair, are the prerequisite skills fair, is fair fair. Reasonable (and unreasonable) people frequently disagree.

What I've found is that people who work in tech support have tough jobs but they also have a lot of discretion. Treating them right isn't just the human thing to do, it helps you achieve your preferred outcome.

If you think providing computer tech support is bad, try working as a support rep for a health insurance company. Sick people are looking for money to recover previously incurred costs from a company that is motivated to not pay.

What is truly repulsive to me is when a so called developer decides to launch a rant about his customers. After reading this rant, I have no intention of spending the $20 for the pro version. I would suggest finding a better way to rant than in a forum where you are going to cheese off more customers.

For what it is worth, I spent several years working tech support for Borderbund/The Learning Company and I am now a programmer in my own right...so I do know how bad customers can be. You didn't make the problem any better with your rant.

Hopefully you won't conclude that I suck for saying this, but a little constructive feedback - I have been a user of Feeddemon, and a happy one. I understand you've decided to charge for it (and I read your post), which is certainly your right. I like it, and will pay for pro - but it actually took me a few weeks (maybe I'm just an idiot) to figure out why I was struggling to get 4.0 to do what it used to (and in fact, it even did it for a while - did you remove Feedstation later?). It was only through searching through the help links and posts and blogs that I really figured out what happened. Maybe I just missed something, but I assume you want people like me to pay, not give up in frustration (which I almost did).

One related thought, though. Do want you want to do. Don't let the bastards (like me?) get you down. But also, there's no point in telling your customers (even some of them) that they suck - other than venting, which is what you don't like them doing.

I agree with jackbrewster. We too have used FAQ and that has helped scale the customer questions down. But we also make tutorial videos as well and that works great.

Kenneth - HAHAHAAHA you almost got me! Ranting about a rant about rants....you're so meta.


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