Know when it is helpful to ask for conflict testing
A lot of support exchanges start with some kind of a conflict testing.
“Switch of all plugins, switch to a default theme, yadda yadda yadda”.
But sometimes it is totally useless and does not and will not produce results.
To clarify, here I mean there are cases where you are 99% sure that it is not a conflict. So don’t waste time on this.
Knowing when it is useful not to ask for it comes with experience. You just need to spend time doing support and figure what works in what cases and what doesn’t. Or you need to have a good mentor who can pass along the knowledge.
Know the system information
If you are doing support for a plugin / theme that collects the sysinfo of the user, then know what kind of information is contained in it, what settings are there – preferably all settings of your plugin / theme – and what is their name / label, so that if you are suspicious of one of the settings you can find it fast.
Think about other plugins and hacks
Let’s say a user is asking for a functionality that you don’t have. But other 3rd party plugins might. Or there is a snippet available from you, your team or someone from the community. Know about these.
And there can be some of these which can interfere with yours, so be on the lookout for them. This will make it easy to pinpoint the troublemaker when you are checking the list of plugins the user has in their system information. Easy win.
This year (2019) in September I participated at WordCamp Zürich in Switzerland. 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.
This is the second set of tips for Support Agents in the Faster Support – For Both Sides series.