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How to write a great Trouble Ticket/Forum post for help

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How to NOT get great service:

"I already have a sufficient license key that I DO NOT need to, or want to upgrade. The stupid offline registration does not work, nor does your technical support phone line.
You have 1 hour to resolve this issue, lest I launch a major negative campaigner assault against your company on the WEB, and let people know that you DB new yorkers are nothing more than a bunch of big shiesters."

In a ticket 10 minutes later:

"I have a license key that I need to use again on a different computer.  Since no one ansewers you phone number, I will give you 1 hour to respond to my issue, otherwise I will launch  a  seriies of  negative feedback  information on the web, which will definatly effect your company's sales this year"


Actual first tickets from this customer received 10 minutes ago (busiest week of the year).  No description of what the issue is (other than something to do with a license key).

Why would I WANT to help this person?


Edit:  While I suspect no one would WANT to help someone with that attitude, I did in fact reply to her ticket to get more information about what the actual issue is (the quotes above were the ENTIRE tickets).  I actually replied 4 times and waited the entire hour she gave us.  I received no reply.


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  • 11 months later...

Hey here we are again!  The season is off to an early start.  Let's see what's happened so far:

We're only trying to be nice:

We are more than happy to send parts to our customers to repair controllers/etc.  Some customers are shy and will ask us for part numbers, etc and somewhere they can buy the parts.  We always turn around and tell them - Hey!  We'll send you the parts, usually at no cost.  Just tell us what you need (and tell us that you know how to actually change the part in question).  They are being polite, and we appreciate that!

So a certain customer (a Dr. of something or other) recently asked us for a part number for the RJ45 jacks on a controller.  We send him the obligatory 'Are you sure you can do this work, and if so just tell us what you need'.  9 days later he replied that he can in fact do the work and he asked for 20 RJ45s and 20 Triacs.

Now, that is a lot of parts.  This person would have AT LEAST 10 controllers that have both RJ45s broken.  Most likely it would be more - typically only 1 jack gets busted on a controller.  So in my eyes, this HAS to be one of our bigger customers.  He's also asking about the jacks and triacs for EVERY generation of controller we have ever sold. 

Now at this point, it's not really about the cost of the parts.  At the quantities that we purchase, each one of those is a few cents.  The RJ45s are probably around $.40 each, and the triacs are around $.80 so we are talking at most $25 + shipping.  In other words, we are not going to go bankrupt even if this is not on the up and up.

What is odd is that this is the first ticket we have ever got from this person, and the person to whom he wants the parts shipped is not him.  You would think with that many different controllers, that many different generations of controller, and that number of parts he would have had some contact with us at some time in the past.  I go searching for this person in our orders system and get NOTHING.  Not a single hit.  I also search for orders from the person he wants these parts shipped to.  Nothing.  

Again, it's not a question of cost.  But we also don't want to be sending parts to every Tom, Dick or Dr. David that asks, we want to send them to our customers. As soon as we opened (he replied at around 1AM)  I asked the person what name the controllers were ordered under.  

2 more days pass and the reply comes that I am wasting his time.  Now in his defense he did ask for part numbers initially - But we would much rather send a customer the parts.  We get them for a lot less than he can (Those jacks are going to be around $1.25 each, and the Triacs around $2.25 each if he buys them - $65 plus around $15 shipping - $80), AND it's just good customer service.   

So in the end we sent him the part numbers and have not heard back from him.  However it's still a strange situation.  Frankly I think my initial gut reaction was right - despite saying he wasn't looking for freebies, I think that is EXACTLY what he was looking for.  Does it make sense to berate someone who is trying to save you $80 and just wants a little more info?  I guess sometimes, just being nice get's you yelled at.

PS:  To everyone out there that has higher education, the MDs and PHDs and the like, I respect the heck out of you.  I will call you Dr.  But when you stomp your feet like a little kid, say someone is wasting your time, and then sign your eMail with DR. SO-IN-SO, as if somehow you THINK you are more important, you will get laughed at - and get absolutely NO respect from me :)


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  • 2 weeks later...

Let's Answer ALL those questions

So the help desk ticket system is THE most efficient way for us to handle support issues.  But for you, it may not be efficient - you put in a ticket and have to wait for us, then we have to wait for you, etc.  After all, it sometimes takes a couple of back-and-forth sessions to properly resolve something.  

We are keenly aware of that, and so many times we will ask you several questions at the same time.  For whatever reason, many (OK. ALMOST ALL)  customers will only , and then barely, answer one of them.  And it's not like they answer the first or last question.  Of the list of questions, they will answer one of them seemingly at random.  Without the answers to the other questions, this one answer provides us NO information. 

And then of course the customer will complain about how long it takes to resolve something with tickets.

Again, even if you think one or more of the questions has nothing to do with your issue, please take the time to answer them ALL.  If we ask 3 different questions, please provide 3 answers.  Otherwise we are just going to have to ask you again - which wastes your time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Use the Defaults

We get 2-3 of these a week, and during the season 2-3 a day.  A customer will contact us about moving to a new computer, or reinstalling the software and then not be able to find where all their stuff is - because they changed the location of the LOR Data directory, or they are not saving their audio/sequences/etc in the proper folder of the LOR data directory.  These customers (especially during season) then demand we find their data for them.

We're sorry, but that's not something we can do.  We didn't store or move the data, so we would have NO CLUE where YOU put it on YOUR computer.  

This is one of the reasons programs like ours suggest default locations for data.  All you have to do is press the OK button when asked:  "Where do you want your data stored?", or not change the suggested folder when you save something.  If you stick with what we suggest, we know immediately where it is on your computer:  My Documents/Light-O-Rama.  We can easily point you there.

But if you were smart enough to change the location of the Light-O-Rama folder, or to save data in a different folder than we suggest, you need to be smart enough to find that data later.

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  • 1 month later...

Once you have contacted us, please stop touching things

We encourage all of you to experiment with the hardware and software.  Experimenting is how you learn!  Think changing a unit ID of some hardware will do something neat?  Go for it.  Want to change how that channel is defined in the software to see what happens?  Do it.  Changing things and experimenting is crucial to getting the most out of your hardware and software.  

But the time for experimenting stops when you contact us for something that is not working - and you want to get it to work.

We have years of experience that helps us to diagnose and fix your issues.  We have the ability to take the seemingly large task of fixing something, and by asking a few questions, and having you make a couple changes, find the correct course of action.  Sometimes it takes several of these interactions to get you going.  Once you have started down a path with us, please stop experimenting.  In order to get something to work we start with a wide foundation and then build bit by bit , layer by layer, to get you working.  If you go changing something in the foundation what we are building towards is going to crumble.

Worse is when you don't tell us you did do something - and more times than not, no one admits it.  At best you are going to stump us and force us to waste time trying to figure out what happened.  At worst you are going to get the wrong solution - a solution that could end up costing you $$$ - either for sending things in to be repaired that are working, or you purchasing something you don't need.

So please - go and play!  If something happens you don't understand, ask us and we can tell you what you did.  But PLEASE remember:  Once you start trying to diagnose an issue with us don't perform any test or change any setting unless we tell you to.



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  • 9 months later...

Leave Tom Hanks ALONE! :)
We need to have a little conversation about boundaries. 

From what I have heard, Tom Hanks (yes THAT Tom Hanks.  Friend to Wilson) is about the nicest guy you can run up to and ask for an autograph, a picture, you name it.  But here is the thing - if he's out walking his dog, or having a bite to eat at a restaurant, or doing any one of the millions of things each of us does in real life leave the poor guy alone.  Just because you know him from his work and just want to gush about your love for him, his dog still needs to poop, he still needs to eat, and/or he has to do whatever it is he is doing.

Now if he's at a meet and greet, or stops outside the theater to talk with fans, sure - profess your love for his work then.  He's on the clock.  That really should go without saying.  And while none of us around here are movie stars, or rock stars, or anything else close to famous, please do the same for us.

Many times, you'll get personal service from one of us.  Maybe I do a remote with you to fix some complicated issue.  Maybe Matt calls you after hours on his personal cell phone to explain an S5 issue.  Maybe you stumble onto Brian's Facebook page (I don't even know if he has one.  Let's assume he does).  Perhaps Dan sends you some file via eMail on his personal account. 

All of us are real people, with real life lives in the real world as well as being the people who can help with your issue.  But our work lives and our home lives are separate.  Recently we have run into several people who have texted/called/private messaged/whatever us outside of our work channels for work related things.   Please don't do that.  Just because I called you to help you with a problem once in 2012 (which gave you my private cell phone number) doesn't mean you can call me directly from then on for everything.  I had a customer call my cell at 2AM because no one was answering his help desk tickets simply because I had previously assisted him.  Oh yea.  Always nice to hear from someone at 2AM demanding that I help them

If you need assistance please either call the main number, or start a/reopen an existing  help desk ticket.  Unless we have asked you to call us on a particular phone number, that is the only way you should get a hold of us.  Please don't call us on direct lines, or send us direct eMail.  If you find our personal social media pages, or websites, or whatever feel free to say hi - but don't expect us to do 'work' stuff.

This courtesy should also extend to anyone who has taken their time to help you with something in the past.  We have MANY knowledgeable and friendly users that love to extend a hand.  But you should treat them with respect.  Don't just blindly call them all the time (unless they have given their permission).  If they have their own corporate entity that helped you, don't go onto their personal Facebook account and demand more help.  Instead, use whatever channel they prefer you to use.  And then first ASK if they wouldn't mind helping you again.

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  • 4 weeks later...

We don't know where to get parts for other mfgs Equipment

I've had 4 separate people today ask me about pixel dangles for pixel strings not mfg by us.  Those same people get angry when we tell them they have to contact the mfg of the pixels.  (Hmmm... They could all actually be the same person using 4 different accounts to try to get different answers.  I should check that.  Some customers like to pull that one.)

What you are trying to interface from is not manufactured by us so we have no clue what parts you need to connect them.  Connectors for pixels are NOT STANDARDIZED.  Even if they look the same, there can be differences in size, keying, etc.  We certainly don't stock every connector from every pixel manufacturer. 

Even we put our own special spin on the connectors, using 4 pin ones for 5V and 3 pin ones for 12V (even though we only ever use 3 of the pins on EITHER).  The best I can do is point you at the manual for our controller and say 'those are the signals on each of the pins, ensure they match up with what the mfg of your pixels specified = connect the wires that way.

I'm not sure why these people get angry other than they know they have 0% chance of ever hearing from the cheap Chinese mfg of their pixels.  I am more than happy to sell them things (that's how we make a living after all), so if I could I would! 

If you had purchased everything from us, everything will fit together and you will not have these questions/issues.  If however you wanted to save a few dollars, be prepared to do the work.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Can someone please answer this question for me:

Is 19 LESS than 12 or MORE than 12?

Of course the answer is MORE.  About 60% MORE.  As in, this has a 12 month warranty and you are mad because we won't replace it after 19 months.  

I'm sure you hate it when something breaks just outside of a warranty.  We hate it too and generally if you have something break and it's 'technically' out of warranty, we are probably going to eat it and repair/replace it.

But at some point you REALLY need to put a limit on things.  Some people think the limits don't apply to them (or that we are somehow selling inferior products) because they only lasted 19 months (when we only guarantee them for 12).  We can't control how often you use an item, or how you store it, etc.  The only reasonable thing we can do is offer a calendar month warranty - like almost every other company out there.

This customer was partially correct.  Around here 12 isn't really 12.  But it's not 19 and is unreasonable for him to expect differently.  


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