After discovering a bunch of themes I see that some themes have a very low number of support requests relatively a number of sales, at the same time some authors receive more support requests than sales.
Besides a detailed documentation, manuals, intuitive theme panel, and avoiding theme features with a complex usage\controls, what is another solutions you can recommend? Maybe your personal strategy of working with customers. Or something else.
Videos. Nobody reads anything nowadays. A bunch of short 3-4 minute vids are perfect.
Support is inevitable on here, it’s a constant battle so just try not to let it overwhelm or overburden you. That’s the best advice I can give
In terms of reducing, you’re going to struggle to do this, the longer you’re here and the more you sell, the more support you will have.
Mix that in with a buyer base thats turning to end users rather than developers and trust me, support is getting harder with each coming month I’m finding.
I have a buyer who has bought the theme 3 hours ago, has never once worked with the web, doesn’t have a domain name, doesn’t have hosting and has never used WordPress and is now expecting me to help them through every step of the way of this, for $40…
Anyway, I agree with Snoopy, make some screencasts
Well, I agree with Tommusrhodus to some extent.
But there are 2 ways of looking at this. The first one would be: how much support are you willingly dragging to you by making ever more complicated themes? Why not make simpler, more focused themes and spare yourself the troubles (and the sales but that is another discussion).
Secondly: you could view support as an opportunity to engage with your customers, to create a bond there (I personally feel that each of our customers should open at least a ticket so we can have a chance to show them how much we care about them and about offering great support). This works if you realize that support is just as important as the development/design side.
So these are the directions we feel like going because it makes life nicer for all
In case you have repeating questions, make sure you either “fix” it(find a solution to it/add an option/ bla bla).. or add the answer somewhere visible.
And, if you have some little bugs that you didn't notice before, in the first submission, update the theme and fix them, to avoid being asked lots of times how to do something.. or why something is not working as it should
Other than that, a good FAQ, in a visible place, should also help a lot.
We are new to building & selling themes, especially for WP. For the first few weeks we had zero support, which led me to think that (1. Our documentation was easy to understand (2. everyone buying our theme had a good understanding of WP.
That soon changed!! I was wrong about number 2! The past week and a half I’ve seen a flood of support tickets with the majority of them asking basic questions, all of them were covered in the provided documentation.
I have to agree with pixelgrade’s comment. I’ve enjoyed answering these support requests because it has provided us with an opportunity to engage with the customer, get some constructive feedback on our themes, provide us with what their expectations are, what they look for when deciding on a theme. As a newcomer to TF this has been valuable, and without those seeking support even for the most basic questions there’s no other way to engage with our customers.
I can see the other side of the coin, $40 theme and then having to spend a considerable amount of time answering support requests. But as pixelgrade rightly pointed out, the more complicated these themes get the more support requests you’re going to receive from the ‘non-savvy’ (end user) customers.
For my future projects i will create video tutorials. Purchasers never read the docs file and writes me tons of messages about issues, that are described in documentation. Video is the best solution.
1. Build good themes!
This is the first and most important step. If you code is crap, if you don’t follow standards, if you code as fast as you can without having any idea about quality and trends, you will get a lot of useless support tickets. Buyers don’t care about code quality, but you will spend a lot of time responding and fixing issues that shouldn’t be there in the first place if you don’t know what you’re doing.
2. Write good docs & have a knowledge base!
This is also really really important. On each theme i try to create good docs and put all those useful tickets into a big knowledge base, so after a month or so, more than half of the tickets that i get are already answered before. This reduces that responding time a lot.
3. Define your terms and educate your buyers!
Tommus gave you that example of the client with no WP knowledge and no domain. Don’t know what he did, but in my support terms i clearly state what happens in such cases – support is not offered for installations and WordPress stuff, so i would send him directly to a freelance website.
Also, when users come and ask you for a simple CSS tweak, don’t just give it to them. After writing the tweak (because most of us answer simple customizations like this), send them to a ticket or blog post or whatever where they should learn how to use CSS themselves. I’ve had clients who had no idea about web development and after coming in touch with one of my themes they learned basic CSS and were really happy about what they managed to do with their website without taking my time.
4. Expect support!
It doesn’t matter how much you try to reduce your support, you’re in a business where you have to provide support. Someone once said that “if you don’t like offering support to your buyers, find another job – WordPress is all about support”. So try to do the above but expect that sometimes you’ll get more requests, sometimes less, but you will have to offer support.
Yes, a short videos makes sense. Thanks for suggestion
FAQ is a really good idea. Thanks.
If you provide a CSS-tweaks then it definitely provoke a tons of requests for that kind of free-small-customization. No matter of sending him directly to a freelance website.
What about your support period? Do you provide a free lifetime support or charge after a some free period? Is the free lifetime support a sustainable business model in your opinion? I saw here that some authors prefer to provide a paid support.
@KrownThemes If you provide a CSS-tweaks then it definitely provoke a tons of requests for that kind of free-small-customization. No matter of sending him directly to a freelance website.
Why do you assume this? Wanna bet that i am spending less time per support / sales than anyone in this thread?