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iamthwee says

From a buyer’s perspective,

I had this problem with one of TylerQuinn’s plugins. I think it was my theme’s problem (not his plugin), but Tyler logged into my WP and fixed the problem within a minute. Exactly the sort of customer service that results in me buying from him so often.

For a customer like me, a non coder, sometimes we ‘expect’ the product we purchase to ‘work’ out of the box (I understand there can be problems like this, but others don’t) but going that extra mile for a minute or two to fix a simple problem can really result in a very happy customer :)

I know this thread is more about the developer’s perspective and how to stop this problem, just thought I’d give my view as an uneducated buyer :)

Very true, although this tends to be the IDEAL case. I bet there are lots of themes out there so bastardized it would be a nightmare to pinpoint the conflict or error. Unfortunately, you can’t stop buyer’s stopping off at wordpress.org and installing the several of the poorly coded plugins/ or no longer supported plugins.

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fAntasticmE says

besides the wp_head and wp_footer and apparently the qjuery version where can i find the standard implementations a theme should have?

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iamthwee says

wordpress.org

It’s where I go to get the latest API and coding practices. There also happens to be a few good tutorials here on envato. If you haven’t already noticed scroll down to the footer of Themeforest and click on the blue wptuts+ button. Some brilliant must read articles in there.

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SimpleRealty says

From a buyer’s perspective, ... For a customer like me, a non coder, sometimes we ‘expect’ the product we purchase to ‘work’ out of the box (I understand there can be problems like this, but others don’t) but going that extra mile for a minute or two to fix a simple problem can really result in a very happy customer :)

I appreciate your feedback!

I’m not trying to get around providing excellent support, and to be fair, while I have a full time 9 to 5 job, I have managed to answer every single comment for the plugin, I also exchanged 113 personal emails with my buyers in the last week. I have logged into half-dozen clients’ sites and for the most cases fixed their issues. My last issue took me an hour to realize that I can’t fix it on my client’s site. I have emailed the theme author and requested a copy of the theme to help me out to debug the issue on my own server. When I finally got the theme, it took me another half an hour to debug it pretty much line by line through half-dozen of JS and PHP files, only to find out that the theme author used another third party plugin, which is now built into their theme, which directly embeds jQuery library into the code (against the WP coding practices) on all pages of admin panel. It’s a lot of work that doesn’t improve my plugin nor improves the theme that’s being sold to hundreds of other users and breaks my product.

Since I’m new to the support process, I’m trying to figure out a better way to serve my clients. By fixing their third party themes I’m doing disservice to myself and my clients, because they don’t realize that the theme they are using is not high quality when it comes to coding standards for WP. The only thing that my clients know is that my plugin wasn’t working when they installed it. If I fix their theme and something else breaks afterwards – I’ll be the one to blame. Plus I can’t do extensive enough testing to assure that my fix won’t affect anything else on their site, just because the original author doesn’t follow the same standards. And finally, next time they update their theme, it will break my plugin again by overwriting my patches.

So, while I see how this could look as an awesome service from a buyer’s stand point, when I fix their other product… going extra mile… this extra mile will bite me and my client in the butt when first opportunity arises.

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quickandeasy says

@iamthwee, I suppose, most of the plugins I have are from Codecanyon, so maybe only a few offenders, unlike what some people may possibly have!

Still, I understand that authors needn’t support their items, I’m just saying it can result in multiple purchases from non-coders like me, knowing the author is there to help me out :)

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iamthwee says

@SimpleRealty – good points

Yeah you’re not only providing support for your plugin (which you’re not even obligated to do) but ALSO for every other plugin that may exist (that’s a lot). I don’t know about you but having to trawl through dozens of PHP files where some themes have the css and javascript code embedded in the header.php files, or hap hazardly placed in some obtusely named directory – is a lot of work.

Now I’m not saying themes sold here on TF are coded like this. Probably not, in fact it’s probably mandatory now to code using correct practices, but that’s not to say your client got their theme from TF. They could have acquired it from anywhere by anyone.

It’s definitely not fair, but then I suppose wordpress plugin authors kind of must expect this sort of thing when they code up a product for sale in that category. In my opinion it must be the worst category to sell in considering the amount of work you have to put in for support when it isn’t even your item you are supporting! I’m not even sure it’s worth it.

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SimpleRealty says

jQuery conflicts caused by incorrectly loading jQuery is the single most common support ticket I get. What I have found works really is just being very up front with the buyer about what the issue is, and make sure they understand that it is the theme (or another plugin) that is loading jQuery incorrect.

It works really well if you can point out the actual error (or location of bad code); that way the buyer doesn’t think you’re just trying to avoid helping them.

I usually offer to find the source of the problem, then tell the buyer that I will fix their theme (or plugin) for a small fee. Most of the time users are fine with this. When you get a buyer that gripes because they feel like they are paying twice, or that they have bought a broken item, you just have to be very, very clear with what the issue is, how it can be solved, and tell them exactly what to say to the developer that coded it wrong.

Aside from the things above, one of the only other things you can do is work to educate others. When you see a theme that is incorrect, contact the developer; write tutorials on how to do it correctly; offer to teach developers doing it wrong what the right way is.

@mordauk – I think you have very good points there when it comes to structuring your support in a way when you don’t become a hostage of other people’s mistake.

So a few things I could take from here:

1. Outline possible issues, how to identify them and how to fix. 2. Provide a debugging routine – deactivate plugins one by one to identify the conflicting one. Switch to default theme etc. 3. After performing items #1 and #2 if a client identifies a third party product at fault – they should contact the product author for support, or they can hire me to investigate further. 3. If clients need help with fixing a third party product – offer help for additional charge.

Something like this incorporated into my workflow, but in a way that makes sense for everyone, could really make it work better.

Thanks for your input man!

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SimpleRealty says

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/debug-objects/ :-) should help atleast find issues

Thanks! Will definitely check it out.

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SimpleRealty says

@pixelentity – I hear you. This definitely helps and I’ll try to incorporate yours and modrauk’s feedbackl into a better support workflow for myself.

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SimpleRealty says

Unfortunately, you can’t stop buyer’s stopping off at wordpress.org and installing the several of the poorly coded plugins/ or no longer supported plugins.

Actually, ALL of the themes and plugins I had support issues with are commercial and sold on Envato network.

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