When developing a software product, answering support requests can be a huge time-consuming task. You may spend a good amount of time answering the same requests over and over.
The first step to avoid this is, naturally, to create a detailed troubleshooting page so users can find the answers by themselves. That should be enough to avoid emails, right?
Not really 🙁
In TimeTune, we noted that after adding the solution to a common problem to the page, support requests didn’t decrease as much as we thought. Many people kept asking the same question by email again and again.
If we think about it, this is just human nature. Instead of spending time searching for an answer, many people will take the easiest way and send an email. Or maybe because they don’t know there’s a troubleshooting section at all.
Whatever the reason, was there anything we could do about this?
It turned out there was, and it was a simple hack. Every time a user clicks on the ‘Send Feedback’ option, we now show the following dialog:
This dialog is friendly and serves several purposes:
- It makes the user think more carefully about what kind of email he wants to send: ‘Is it really a problem? Or just a suggestion? Should I send it at all?’
- It helps us manage our inbox more efficiently, because the words ‘Issue’, ‘Suggestion’ or ‘Other’ will be added to the subject of the email (this really is a time saver!).
- It adds some friction: it’s one more step the user has to take before he can send an email. This ensures that only people who really care about that feedback will go ahead.
But the best part comes when the user clicks on the ‘Report an issue’ option. This is what we show after that:
Without being bossy, this warning hugely increased the percentage of users that checked the troubleshooting page before reporting an issue. And adding the link as the first button makes it totally easy to go there.
Besides, this second step adds more friction. It’s a second hoop users have to jump through before they can send a support request. Only the ones that really care about it will go on (we noticed a substantial increase in the quality of feedback because of this).
The result: support requests were reduced by 90%. Some people still get to the second step and send an email without checking the troubleshooting page, but it’s now a rare and infrequent case.
So to sum up, if you want to reduce support requests in your app:
- Create a thorough troubleshooting page.
- Don’t wait for users to open that page and search for an answer. Redirect them to it at the precise moment: when they’re about to send a support request.
- Finally, add some friction to filter low-level feedback out.
If you try the hack, don’t forget to tell us all about it! We’d like to know how it went for you!