WordPress is a very user-friendly product. However, due to its popularity, WordPress is used not just by experts but even newbie and less-advanced users. This becomes especially important if you are offering a WordPress-related product, such as a WP theme or plugin.
How do you offer support for your WordPress-related product to your customers? Offering great customer support is not as easy as it sounds — by “great”, we mean you have to cater to every level of WP users. An advanced user will pose a different question as compared to a beginner-level user.
This article offers some insight into the ways you can offer great WordPress customer support.
1 Know Your Product
This is the primary and most important step towards providing customer support, irrespective of the nature of product or service that you are offering. If you do not know your own product, you cannot do a good job at helping your customers.
Yes, you do know it. But have you made any effort in showing your customers just how well you know what your WordPress plugin can do, and what it cannot do?
You should consider making a list of known issues for your product. Does your WP theme have any compatibility issues with a known plugin? Is there a minimum WordPress or PHP version that your software needs? Mention it! Similarly, what changes did your latest update bring about? Your changelog should be human-readable and publicly visible, whenever possible. This not only casts a good impression but also offers great transparency and creates a professional image for your business.
2 Support Channels
So, how should you offer WordPress customer support? While phone support is rarely needed for WP plugins or themes, you need to explore other options. For instance, if you are running a smaller operation and are mostly a freelancer, email is probably the best fit for you.
However, for agencies and other teams, a support portal with a ticketing system generally works better. Along similar lines, having a support forum is also a great idea as you can view, comment and resolve support queries efficiently.
With that said, what about trying to lessen the number of support tickets? For all your products, you should consider having proper documentation at hand. Try to offer detailed guides for your WordPress themes and plugins, such as installation, updates, setting up of home pages, tweaking the settings, etc.
Video guides are also fairly useful, as they can offer even the most basic of users a general and easy to grasp idea of what to expect when setting up your theme or plugin.
3 Support Terms and Hours
Ensure that you have made your support hours as well as terms and conditions abundantly clear. It is a common practice for confusion to arise owing to weekends, public holidays, WordCamps, etc. Similarly, if there are things that your support policy does not cover — such as theme customizations — mention it in your terms and conditions.
However, you should also bear in mind that good customer support requires a bit of best effort policies too. For example, maybe adding custom CSS to your themes is not covered in your support policy. But if a client comes with a request for hiding or changing the footer color, you can make a one-time exception and offer some CSS tweaks for the same. Similarly, while you may not be keen on offering support for third party products, you can consider offering insight or advice to your clients as to where they can get help for the same. In this manner, you can build a long-lasting relation with the client and also establish your identity as a WordPress expert.
4 Offer Details
In general, small talk is not appreciated in support threads. In fact, some clients might just take you to be rude and unwilling to help if you offer to the point and extremely short responses.
Try to make your support replies comprehensive and truly helpful. If you are telling your clients how to edit a WP theme, offer step by step guides along with possible screenshots. Furthermore, you can go a step further and offer useful tips to your clients — when editing a theme, try using a child theme else your customization will be lost!
5 Learn to Say No!
This one is slightly trickier. No matter how hard you try, you can not please everyone.
Every once in a while, you will come across a client who will prove to be a difficult person to work with. Maybe they refuse to pay you a fair price for your services, or maybe they just refuse to read your terms and conditions. What if their demands are too far-fetched, such as coding a custom template in a fraction of a budget?
Whatever the case may be, if there is something that you see impossible to work out, it is a good idea to politely decline. In such cases, be sure to maintain a professional tone, and as stated above, try to follow the best effort policy. Say, you have a refund policy of 30 days, but the client is on the 31st day? Sure, legally and technically you can deny refund, but if you do provide refunds, you are only casting your business in a good light.
How do you offer WordPress customer support? Share your experience with us in the comments below!