This is the first set of tips for Support Agents in the Faster Support – For Both Sides series.
Know the plugin(s) / theme(s) inside out!
Likely the plugin / theme you are supporting has some options. Or a lot of options.
- Know what all the options are and what they do.
- Know how they are labeled / what is their exact name.
- Know where to find them with closed eyes.
If a client asks whether this and this is possible you will be able to provide an immediate answer: “Hey we have a setting for this. You can find it here and it is called this.”
You will not need to spend precious time switching over to your test site and hunt down where that setting is and what is it called.
Knowledgebase, Docs, FAQ, etc.
These can be quite extensive. You don’t need to know the exact content – it’s awesome if you do -, but have a good overview of what content is in there. Also, know how to find information fast. So if a question comes, you can find the relevant article fast and send the URL to the customer.
If there are articles that come up very regularly, you can map them to a keyboard shortcut, have them as canned replies, or create a script for inserting them. I will share more details about these in Support Agent Tip #3 later on.
Extensions, add-ons, snippets, recipes, best practices, 3rd party plugins, …
There can be lots of these and the number is always growing.
A customer asks how to change something, you write a code snippet, an action or a filter. Don’t let that go to waste.
1. Save it for later in a way that you can find it
So if another customer comes with the same question you don’t need to come up with it again.
The web is full of different tools for this. GitHub, PasteBin and so on. Use the one that you like.
2. Share it with your team
It can be reused and saves time, nobody needs to reinvent the wheel.
Also encourage your team members to share their snippets with you.
3. Collect it in a common repository
Set up a repository that all your team and possibly the public can access as well. Preferably one that you can search and filter based on different criteria to make searching and finding what you are looking for easy.
I started doing this for The Events Calendar and its add-ons and you can see my solution here. At first I was using GitHub Gist but I found it very difficult to search for and look up snippets that I created. So I created my own repo on this site with the help of the Search & Filter Pro plugin.
This year (2019) in September I participated at WordCamp Switzerland in Zürich. I applied with a talk about how a support exchange, and thus reaching a resolution can be made faster. And I thought it would make a great blog series.