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StrictThemes says


@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? :)

I’m talking about abuse from customer side, not about a time you’re spending for support.

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tommusrhodus says

4. Expect support!

This is the best advice in this thread :)

Regarding my no knowledge buyer, I forwarded them (politely) to Envato Studio, they’re happy now :)

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StrictThemes says


4. Expect support!

This is the best advice in this thread :)

It might be best advice for question “How to avoid” :D However I’m asking about “How to reduce”.

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tommusrhodus says



4. Expect support!

This is the best advice in this thread :)

It might be best advice for question “How to avoid” :D However I’m asking about “How to reduce”.

haha, very true actually :) ok, a quick list from me then:

  • Make Screencasts
  • Improve that documentation
  • Make a FAQ & Knowledge base along with your regular tickets
  • Clearly define your support terms and don’t be afraid to close tickets or link elsewhere for those breaking these terms (customisations)
  • Keep your items updated, fix bugs regularly instead of letting them sit.
  • Do your best to try to fully answer a ticket in one go, this avoids going back and forth over an issue.
  • Educate buyers where possible, link to external resources etc.
  • Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself if a ticket is going south.
  • Bug test the hell out of your themes before uploading
  • Focus on simplicity, standards and quality when coding
  • Inline code documentation can be useful for those developing on top of your themes
  • Test with some of the most popular plugins, jetpack, cf7, gravity forms etc.
  • Try to channel your buyers, recently I’ve been “hiding” my support a little, put a support section at the bottom of your documentation only, define your terms in it and then finally link to your support tickets.

Tom

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StrictThemes says




4. Expect support!

This is the best advice in this thread :)

It might be best advice for question “How to avoid” :D However I’m asking about “How to reduce”.

haha, very true actually :) ok, a quick list from me then:

Tom, many thanks for your recommendations.

  • Make Screencasts – Will do
  • Improve that documentation – Done
  • Make a FAQ & Knowledge base along with your regular tickets – Will do
  • Clearly define your support terms and don’t be afraid to close tickets or link elsewhere for those breaking these terms (customisations) – Yes
  • Keep your items updated, fix bugs regularly instead of letting them sit. – Done
  • Do your best to try to fully answer a ticket in one go, this avoids going back and forth over an issue. – Yes
  • Educate buyers where possible, link to external resources etc. – Yes
  • Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself if a ticket is going south. – Yes
  • Bug test the hell out of your themes before uploading – Done
  • Focus on simplicity, standards and quality when coding – Done
  • Inline code documentation can be useful for those developing on top of your themes – Done
  • Test with some of the most popular plugins, jetpack, cf7, gravity forms etc. – Done
  • Try to channel your buyers, recently I’ve been “hiding” my support a little, put a support section at the bottom of your documentation only, define your terms in it and then finally link to your support tickets. – Yes

Once again thank you for good advices.

Igor

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dedalx says

We have strong rules for this now:

1) We don’t provide free support for any questions about customizations (CSS changes, code changes).

2) Support answer take 1-3 working days. Who want to get fast support (within 1 day) need to pay.

3) We have FAQ and don’t answer for questions that already in FAQ.

4) We don’t guarantee answers in non working days (Sat, Sun, Holidays)

5) Our ticket system require to input item license code from TF (and auto verify it)

6) User can have only 2 tickets (opened) in 1 time. If he have more questions he append it to existing ticket (this will move user in answer queue and he will wait longer).

All of this reduce support requests around twice. And increased total profit because many of users want to pay for customizations or adding features that theme does not have.

And of course you need to have good Documentation (with step by step images) and video guides (but we don’t have it yet).

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StrictThemes says

@dedalx

Great reply! I like your policy, and I will follow some of steps in your experience. In my opinion “the ticket system” concept isn’t handy for customer. Thus I think I will prefer to use a bbPress forum with license code verification + membership plugin with payment gateway.

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dedalx says

@dedalx Great reply! I like your policy, and I will follow some of steps in your experience. In my opinion “the ticket system” concept isn’t handy for customer. Thus I think I will prefer to use a bbPress forum with license code verification + membership plugin with payment gateway.

Controlling a forum or email when you will have 7000+ customers (as we have) is not possible. You will need to hire 5-7 persons who will work in your support team to help for every request and basic questions, this will not worst the price. We have strong rules, and this rules is not good if you just started your business and does not have stable sales, a lot of 5 ratings and a lot of good items. But when you will have all of this you can use strong rules as we have. Of course at start we help everybody, for every quesion, until we start having 100+ questions in day, most of all questions related to users who don’t even read theme documentation or don’t want to read and want free installation, etc. We can’t deal with customers like this (for free). We have a lot of users who like very much our items, our support (even with our rules). Of course we have some users (1-3 users per month) who may not like our rules, who want everything for free. They can give 1 star rating, but this is not important when we have 99% of other satisfied customers. You will have bad users and 1 stars rating even if you have done everything for free for everyone. Some people are inadequate and you can’t do anything with this.

Ticket system is the best way to provide tech support when you have a lot of requests and most of all need to sent you private data (FTP access, etc). This is not possible in forum (you will get a total mess if users start to use PM or email to send you data that you ask in forum topics). In ticket system you see all conversation and all passwords in ONE place. User use the same ticket for all theme requests. Some users post another question after YEAR of using support, and we can see what site url he posted 1 year ago, site access, etc. We don’t need to ask user twice the same questions. You can see that many big companies use support tickets.

Also checking license code is very important, because a lot of themes from TF some users download from Warez sites for free or use the same themes that they friends buy only once for a lot of sites and can ask your support! You will not know that you helping people who even does not buy your theme or illegally use it for many sites.

We have some users that already paid us for a lot of customizations for our themes on their site ($2000+ for one site for example when theme cost only 50$). And this users HAPPY that we made great customizations that helped in their business. So don’t afraid to ask additional money from your customers, good customers will be happy that you provide advanced help for additional cost (instead of basic help for FREE). Time (your and our) cost money, and people who made business (most of our themes is eCommerce) know this and understand that they can’t made good store with just spent $50 for theme. Good ecommerce site with all features can’t cost less than $1000-5000. Theme is just “starter pack”.

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subsolar says

.... try not to let it overwhelm or overburden you. That’s the best advice I can give :)

Yes, this is so true. Know where your support stops. Leave heavy customizations to freelancers or get paid to do them. Making stuff for free will get them coming for more and more. I had a clients that ask to do (not very small) customization for them and telling them that stuff like this have to be paid they say “Oh, yeah, I knew that it will be like that… but wanted to try anyway”.

Also if your support is by email I’m recommending you a plugin like Streak for Gmail. It has some cool options, including making snippets that you can send for the most asked questions.

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