When you have a problem with your website or want something updated so you can make improvements to your site, ideally you want this without sending a lot of emails back and forth. This saves everyone time and allows you to continue on your day without worrying about it anymore. With this in mind, how do you get faster support for your WordPress website?
It’s important the person working on your WordPress website has clear direction of the problem or request in order to help. When vague or short support requests come in they often require additional information before they can be completed.
Wouldn’t it be nice if each of your support requests were solved on the first email? This is a quick guide on how to make more effective support requests so they get resolved quickly and without back and forth emails.
There are three key components to a good support request:
- A useful email subject line highlighting the request
- Clear details in the request
- Screenshots attached of the request
Here we look at how you can write a helpful support email that has all of the necessary information to resolve your request in record time.
Useful Subject Line Highlighting the Request
A useful subject line summarises the request, makes it easy to prioritise your request and immediately helps our team to think about your request before they’ve even opened it.
Tips for a useful subject line:
- Summarise the request
- Avoid generic subject lines such as “Need help!”
- Include the word “Urgent” if the request is urgent (an urgent request would be classed as a website that is down or broken)
- Identify the type of request: Problem, Update, Question, Notification
Here are some subject lines that need improvement:
Need help, please!
It’s safe to assume that if you’re using the support email address that you need help. No summary is provided so we don’t know what kind of help is needed.
There are no details provided, but we know that there is a problem.
At first glance, we don’t know if this is a problem, a question or a notification.
[Our Company] Website
We know which organisation you are from and which website is yours so making that your subject line doesn’t give us any additional information.
Here are examples of great subject lines:
Not working since yesterday: Captcha on Contact Form
Although it doesn’t say urgent, we know it’s high priority since an important form on the website is not working correctly.
Unable to upload images over 2000 pixels wide in the media library
Again, this doesn’t say urgent but it’s clear this is an issue that is preventing certain updates to the website and needs to be addressed quickly.
Update Team page with new employee information by Friday
This is clearly a change request to a specific page that needs to be completed by the end of the week. It’s important but nothing is on fire here.
Add event info and Send Newsletter next Tuesday to General Email list
It’s clear that information needs to be added to the website and an email drafted and approved before the send date.
Question about updating slider on home page
This is clearly a question about how to do something and the user just needs an explanation.
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Clear Details in the Request
The more details you can provide in the support request, the more quickly it can be resolved. The difference between a poor support request and the great one is in the details.
The support team will not be able to work on your request until they have everything they need to and they are confident of exactly what you want, so it’s key to provide the important details upfront and be as clear as possible.
Try to use short sentences and bullet points to communicate clearly and receive faster support.
If you are reporting a problem, the first thing the support person will do is try to reproduce the issue themselves. Try to provide clear steps for how you encountered the error. Here are some tips:
- What is the URL of the page with the problem? E.g. www.thedesignhive.co.uk/website-care-plans-somerset
- What steps need to be taken to reproduce the problem?
- When did you first notice the problem?
- Has anything changed on the website recently?
- Can the issue be replicated on other browsers or devices?
- What browser and operating system are you using? You can check here: https://www.whatismybrowser.com/
- Do you see any specific error messages? Please take screenshots.
This is a vague problem description:
One of our customers is unable to place an order.
Lots of key information is missing here: where did they get stuck, what information were they entering, what browser and device were they using, did it show an error message, does this happen on all products and does it happen every time?
Here is a more detailed problem description:
A customer is unable to place an order when they add this specific address (insert address here) into the shipping field because it does not generate a shipping estimate. This applies to all products. They are using Google Chrome 220.127.116.11 on Windows 10.1 and have not tried any other browsers. No error message is displayed, it just spins when generating the shipping cost. See attached screenshot.
This detailed description has a high likelihood of being resolved without back and forth emails.
If you are requesting an email newsletter to be sent be sure to include the following information:
- Subject line
- Email Text
- Any photos that should be included
- Link to which page(s)
- Which list(s) it should go to
- When to schedule it to be sent out
- Email addresses of who needs to review the email draft
Screenshots of the Request Attached
Include screenshots of your problem, which helps our help enormously. Or, if you use Loom, you can make a short video clip https://www.loom.com/. If there’s an error message on your website, take a screenshot of it. If there is a broken link on a specific web page, include a screenshot of the exact link that is broken.
If you’re not sure how to take a screenshot, try these instructions:
On a Mac, press Command-Shift-4, a crosshair will appear, click and drag the area you want to select. When you let go of the mouse or trackpad it will save the screenshot as a .png file on your desktop. Or, you can press Command-Shift-3 to take a quick screenshot of the whole screen.
On Windows, press Alt-Print Screen. That should save your image to the clipboard. You should be able paste the screenshot into your email by using the Paste command or by pressing Control-V.
You can also use programs such as:
- Skitch by Evernote (free, allows arrows and notes to be placed on top of screenshot)
- Cloudup (free, cloud based)
Sometimes sending a video recording is more helpful so you can describe what is happening while you’re doing it.
- Screenmailer (fast and easy, includes one hour of video hosting)
- Jing (another option for video recording)
- Loom (we use this all the time and it makes things super quick and easy)
If you’re unable to include a screenshot, include the exact text of the error message.
Additional Tips for Faster Support
- One task per email
- Reply to existing support request with updates or additional information, don’t send a new email. This keeps the conversation together.
- Always use the support email address instead of one of the company contacts.
- Don’t follow up one request with a request about something totally different.
- For non-urgent requests, wait 48 hours before following up.
Templates You Can Use for Faster Support
To help you get started, here are some email templates you can use when you are writing your next support request.
Example: Website Problem
Subject: Not working since yesterday: Captcha on Wholesale Form
Body:The wholesale form is showing an error in the captcha field and prevents the form from being submitted.
Steps to replicate:
Go to www.ourdomain.com/about-us
Scroll to the bottom of the page
And you’ll see this error message: Captcha ERROR for site owner: Token expired.
Recent website changes: None that I am aware of.
Kind Regards, Mr.AwesomeCustomer
Example: Website Change Request
Subject: Update Team page with new employee information by Friday
Body:Please add the following 3 trainers information to the page ourdomain.com/team
Please add the new staff members to our team page in the order that they are in the attached Word document. Please match the styling of the existing trainers. Their photos are also attached and named accordingly.
Kind Regards, Mr. Awesome Customer
Example: Website Feature Request
Subject: Add a photo gallery to the bottom of our services page
On our services page (ourdomain.com/services) we would like to add a photo gallery. We really like the look of this one: coolwebsite.com/gallery, could something similar be incorporated on to our website please?
Our budget for this project is £250.
Our timeframe for delivery is within the next 3 weeks.
Requesting support doesn’t need to take long time or a lot of back and forth emails. Following the best practices will go a long way to getting your request solved quickly.
This faster support article is based on an article written by Simon Kelly at Renegade Empire, How to Request Support That Gets Solved Faster.
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If you are in need of a team to help manage your site when you need help the most, we have Website Care Plans that will give you the faster support you need. They include regular software updates, backups, security scans, performance monitoring and support time so your website will perform optimally.