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designcrumbs says

Hi all, I’m putting together a talk for WordCamp Grand Rapids and WordCamp Chicago on doing support. I want to have a section where I talk about how we as a designer/developer community (not anyone of us specifically) promote the idea of ‘clients are dumb’ rather than properly educating them. Offhand, I can think clientsfromhell.net and 99designs.com – does anyone know of other sites I can reference/screenshot?

EDIT : I think that could be read wrong. I’m trying to say we need to educate clients and customers – I’m looking for examples of where our industry is doing it wrong.

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designcrumbs says

Bumping this.

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Anps says

how or better yet why would you do that? Maybe better question to what extent?

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bloooming says

I don’t know if this is what you are looking for, but Smashingmagazine had an interesting article on this:

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/01/14/how-to-identify-good-clients-avoid-bad-ones/

Also, have a look at the related posts to this one.

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designcrumbs says

how or better yet why would you do that? Maybe better question to what extent?

uhhhh, what?


I don’t know if this is what you are looking for, but Smashingmagazine had an interesting article on this: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/01/14/how-to-identify-good-clients-avoid-bad-ones/ Also, have a look at the related posts to this one.

Not really what I’m looking for. The talk itself is about to how make your products more straightfoward to avoid people asking for support, and then how to better support the ones that do come for support. Towards the end I’m touching on how we’ve set up a culture of just brushing off customers and clients as ‘stupid’ rather than properly educate them.

Does that make sense?

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sevenspark Moderator says

Not really what I’m looking for. The talk itself is about to how make your products more straightfoward to avoid people asking for support, and then how to better support the ones that do come for support. Towards the end I’m touching on how we’ve set up a culture of just brushing off customers and clients as ‘stupid’ rather than properly educate them.

Does that make sense?

Getting this full picture of what your talk encompasses definitely helps clarify :)

I think this is definitely very important – excessive support requests are often a sign of poor documentation – or even just hard-to-find documentation. It’s our job to set out a clear path for customers to follow. We need to provide the proper resources.

But the flip side of that coin is that the customers have to be willing to take the time to learn (or even just read the documenation). That’s what I find is the biggest problem. Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure there are plenty of self-starters out there who bust their asses learning from our documentation and Google any issues they have, and we never hear a peep from them because they put in the effort to learn. But there are always some who just want to be handed the answer without any effort or without understanding the problem – so they don’t learn anything, and next time they face the same issue, they are no better equipped to handle it. To me, this is the problem. [to clarify here, I’m talking about general usage issues and customizations; in the event of an actual bug, I’m not suggesting the customer be responsible for that]

So there are two cliche phrases I just can’t resist employing here:

1. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

All the documentation in the world is useless if the customer won’t read it. I’ve yet to figure out a way to incentivize this successfully.

2. The old “give a man a net/not a fish”

We need to be giving out nets so customers can catch their own fish so to speak. But many just want to be handed a fish.

The problem is that support is free and some (stressing some here) people are lazy. That’s the issue I’ve yet to solve. I’d love to hear a discussion on how we can:

a) make documentation more accessible (I think many of us have made strides towards this with video tutorials I think)

b) incentivize customers’ use of documentation over relying on support

c) provide general (non-product-specific) resources that are accessible to the lay-person

d) manage pre-purchase perceptions to better indicate where responsibilities lie (bugs with the developer, customizations with the customer, etc).

Anyway, I know I didn’t really help with your question, but I hope that gives you a little feedback for your talk :)

Chris

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organicbee says

I think the big thing is how to ask the right questions, presumably they referred to as stupid because they dont know how many times have you guys seen “my theme doesnt work” or “it broke and I didnt do anything”

when in reality they did do something(update themes/plugins added/changed blah blah)

I think brushing people off because they “dont know” seems to be part of the issue some people really want to learn but they simple dont understand that if an author/support person spends 20+ minutes teaching/customizing every customers site they’d be spending hours and hours doing it for everyone.

I dont think they put out enough information out for people to read, as Chris said though you could right books but unless they take the time to read them its semi-worthless

http://www.vicchi.org/codeage/asking-for-wordpress-plugin-help-and-support-without-tears/ http://www.ghostpool.com/blog/how-to-ask-for-support/ http://vatuma.com/support/topic/read-before-posting-how-to-ask-questions http://codex.wordpress.org/Finding_WordPress_Help http://www.wptavern.com/how-to-ask-for-support

also I saw a really great article on it the other day on twitter now I cant find it(you may have posted it Jake)

how many times have you seen people post stuff like

“how do I do things”

2 minutes later “wait nevermind figured it out”

15 minutes later ” how do you do this, this this and this”

30 minutes later “ignore that I found it”

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designcrumbs says

@sevenspark You pretty much summed up the presentation! Mind if I use a quote from you there?

You’re absolutely right. There are some customers that you can do nothing about. No matter how foolproof you make your product and documentation there will always be people who immediately give you a bad rating and assume your theme is broken. I’m going to touch on that as well…. In fact, that’s a funny note to end on. “Having said all that, there are always customers that will just want you to do it for them… So disregard this entire presentation. ARE THERE ANY QUESTIONS ?”

@OrganicBeeMedia Yup, I’m talking about that too. And I think the site you’re looking for was http://wprealm.com/blog/writing-a-better-support-forum-request/

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sevenspark Moderator says

@sevenspark You pretty much summed up the presentation! Mind if I use a quote from you there?

Not at all, feel free!

In fact, that’s a funny note to end on. “Having said all that, there are always customers that will just want you to do it for them… So disregard this entire presentation. ARE THERE ANY QUESTIONS ?”

Haha I love it ;) Best of luck with the presentation! If it gets recorded, let us know

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