Having been on both sites of chat and support ticket requests, I can speak from experience that how you communicate can make a huge difference. Both from the results you’ll receive and in how the support agent will interact with you.
Yes, one could say that support agents have to be nice, take your guff and go above and beyond. That’s their job after all.
But we are all human beings. And negating that fact to be bossy, demanding or down right rude doesn’t help either side.
Support is a Service
Support Ticket and Chat Etiquette includes the very same issues I type about all the time. Basically typing with “knowledge, understanding and courtesy”.
- Knowledge: Sharing the details you have and the info needed to help you with your request.
- Understanding: That the support agent, a human being, is there to help you as best they can.
- Courtesy: There is never a reason to be rude or bossy when asking for assistance.
Especially with support chats we have limited space and it is in real-time. So extra effort needs to be made to be clear and succinct.
Let’s define the word support so we are all on the same page:
- something providing immaterial help 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;
Chat and Support Ticket Tips
- Always include a greeting. “Hi, hoping you can help me out.” If you see an agents name, “Hey, Jane: Thanks for being there, I could really use your assistance”. To just blurt out your questions or demands can lend to a negative perception of what it will be like to help you and the kind of customer you are.
- Unless you know everything and are an expert at the issue at hand, humble inquiries will always garner the best results. Making demands based on little knowledge or experience, exposes your lack of open-mindedness on the issue. I see clients and customers do this all the time. When frustrated with something not working as they perceive it should and they whip off a demanding, condescending support ticket. That ticket then clearly reflects how much they really don’t know.
- Include every bit of detail the support agent will need to help you. Order numbers, dates, confirmation numbers, specific error messages, URLs. Anything you think they may need to help you in one fell swoop. The more detail the better! General accusations or demands without details reflects a lack of respect for the other side’s time.
- Always end your ticket with a TIA, Thanks in Advance, Appreciate your help. Thanking folks for their help, encourages them to do just that! When on chats, be sure to use the option to have a copy of the chat sent to you for your records and to refer to if needed in the future.
When things go south…
Now, if you are like me, you probably have had some pretty negative experiences with chat and support tickets. Agents that are abrupt, don’t read what you’ve typed, asking questions you’ve already provided the answer for.
When this happens I blame the company — not necessarily the agent. Training, workload, cultural differences can all play a big part in the effectiveness of support tools.
Regardless, that is still no reason to respond in kind. They may be having a bad day or new on the job and still getting their bearings. Whatever the issue is on their side, I’m never outright rude.
On a daily basis I see support ticket posts that make my jaw drop. I wonder what these folks are thinking by typing in the bossy and demanding way that they do. Some in all lower case, with typos and improper grammar while asking for help.
Especially with technology, unless you know all the details of what is going on in the background, showing humility and assuming you are not aware of the big picture that could be causing the issue at hand is wise.
- 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:
Whatever your level of frustration is at the time try to hold that in check. When you need someone’s help, and are not an expert on the topic, patience and courtesy is appreciated and will garner faster responses.
Here’s what I do…
When I need to use a chat or support ticket system, I put myself in the agent’s shoes and type to them like I would like to be communicated with. Always reflecting extra courtesy and gratitude because I know that is how I can get the results I need.
By approaching support staff with that extra courtesy, reflects you are a person who they will want to help. And, that you realize you need help and are open to new concepts and learning a few new things along the way.
Exactly the type of customer those in the service industry are eager to help.