Channels to provide support

Use various channels to provide efficient and personalized support to customers


Providing support to customers

As I am responsible for providing support about web applications, WordPress blogs and Confluence wikis, I used to deal with several channels to interact with end users.

Here is a presentation of these channels, with their benefits and their drawbacks.

1) Emails via a shared functional mailbox

a) pros: the most straight forward way to provide a full support because:

  • all users have emails software
  • many features for text formatting make message clearer and understandable
  • easy to include external files, screenshots
  • easy to add people in copy
  • emails can be archived, shared with other colleagues


b) cons:

None? Feel free to add yours in comment.


2) Tickets (tasks) on a JIRA dashboard

a) pros:

  • avoid using emails
  • easy to log time related to every task that has been worked on


b) cons:

  • only basic features for text formatting which limits quality of reading
  • requires users 1) have active account on the JIRA application and 2) they know how to use it


3) Intranet social network (Yammer)

a) pros: readable by a large number of colleagues, so they could:

  • bring a solution
  • push the importance of the issue because they face a similar one
  • anticipate on the fact that they could face a similar issue later
  • share to other colleagues that meet the same issue but have not requested for support yet


b) cons: requires to invest time in a social network: understanding its codes, being careful with content and exposure.


4) Comments on a documentation wiki space

a) pros:

  • if correctly formulated, it brings new content to the documentation
  • like on the Intranet social network, it conveys other people to participate


b) cons:

  • if not correctly formulated, it makes the documentation unclear
  • if comments text editor is limited, screenshots and/or external files cannot be added


5) Phone calls only in case of real emergency

a) pros:

  • sparing some time with thanks to a more direct interaction
  • reassuring users


b) cons: impossible to archive neither to share the phone conversation with the support team.


You notice I do not use online chat (yet). However, I plan to do it, because it enables a “half-synchronous” discussion, which is convenient for both end-user and myself:

  • it avoids writing multiple emails in a short time span
  • it can be archived and so used by another colleague or retrieved later on
  • it helps solving an issue quickly


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