Customer Service Contributor Forum Skills

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Life of a Thread General Overview

Customer Service Forum Thread Flow Chart The image above is a flow chart for a very general view of what can be done in the life of a thread until it is solved. Beginning on the top left asks if it has been solved after the first response. If it is, try another question. If not a little more troubleshooting happens to try to reproduce the issue on your own and then communicate what you find and try to offer a work around or ask for more information. This tends to repeat itself until a bug is filed and developement of the product is needed to solve the bug and the customer has the right expectations.


Anatomy of a Response:

In this section we get a little bit more specific and take a look at a general response, which is only a guideline, not a rule.

A Greeting Always say hi or greet them with their name. It is personal and professional.

Add a section to paraphrase what they are talking about so that they know you took the time to understand. [Repeat the user’s issue to ]Paraphrasing their question creates a mutual understanding of the issue at hand.

Middle Message and Instructions Propose a strategy to troubleshoot if you do not know the solution or offer a solution with detailed and clear instructions.

For example, the common response, Forum Response - Refresh Firefox:

Note: When you use this feature, you will lose any extensions, toolbar customizations, and some preferences. See the Refresh Firefox - reset add-ons and settings article for more information.

To Refresh Firefox:

  1. Open the Troubleshooting Information page using one of these methods:
    • Click the menu button New Fx Menu, click help Help-29 and select Troubleshooting Information. A new tab containing your troubleshooting information should open.
    • If you're unable to access the Help menu, type about:support in your address bar to bring up the Troubleshooting Information page.
  2. At the top right corner of the page, you should see a button that says "Refresh Firefox" ("Reset Firefox" in older Firefox versions). Click on it.
  3. Firefox will close. After the refresh process is completed, Firefox will show a window with the information that is imported.
  4. Click Finish and Firefox will reopen.

If you are in a hurry, one sentence is better than nothing but having some length so the user does not get upset about you not reading their post. This with a short explanation will prevent an angry response.

Tip: Having a unique one line response with some padding will help with bulk responses.
Tip: Their understanding is different from your understanding, keep this in mind

“so I understand how you reached this conclusion can you walk me through the steps you took and observed to think this. ”

Acknowledge any points that the forum question has taught you as a contributor. This will put the user in an audience position and is the perfect time to make your point.

Closing Conclusion and Acknowledgement

You can then conclude with a thank you and brief plan for your next steps. And gently remind them to give all the facts in future issues

For Example:

If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to post back...We hope that this fixed the issue you were having. Please report back to us if this helped!

Archived Support type Suggestions that are meant for entertainment

Tips for a Support Conversation

Each thread can be thought of as a conversation. Just you and another person talking about technology. Regardless of the topic, these discussions are led by people who have a varying personalities and technical experience. Some examples discussed below are those who may be new to a technology, disgruntled users, or an experienced developer that just needs instruction.

The first extreme example are the disgruntled users. There are the people that make you ask What to do when someone disagrees with you, What if they ask to speak to a mozilla employee, and Is this person in their right mind?

First remove yourself from the emotion of the situation and stick to the main question. What needs technical support? However in order to also bring the customer back to the technical conversation try these:

1. Apologize to establish trust

  • "Please accept my sincere apology..."

2. Kill them softly with diplomacy

  • "Clearly we have angered you..."

3. Remove emotion and speak in general terms.

  • "Have I done something personally to upset you?..."

4. Show empathy in your response helps you see the issue from customer perspective and builds rapport

  • “That must have been very frustrating for you...”
  • "If I was in your shoes, I would feel the same as you be specific."

5. Show appreciation for feedback

  • "Thank you for taking the time to let us know how you feel."

Common courtesy is well respected in a professional atmosphere, customer service should translate this in their conversations, and posts.

Quick Tip. For those who like to work as a team on solving issues, if there was someone before you that responded to a thread as well acknowledge this:

  • “so-and-so has said this, maybe you also want to try...”

De-escalation

"The five keys are: give the person undivided attention; be nonjudgmental; focus on the person's feelings, not just the facts; allow silence; and use restatement to clarify messages." From: http://www.crisisprevention.com/Resources/Knowledge-Base/De-escalation-Tips

Some interview questions for the job seekers

How to prepare: Some expectations on preparation for an interview Can you remember names roles and topics you talked about?

Do you have a passion for this and what do you aspire to be like?

How would you respond to someone who wanted to speak to a Firefox engineering manager about the issue? This is the perfect situation to show your critical thinking skills and details used for solving a problem, how do you think/approach a question.

What would you do in a tough customer service situation? For example: If you did not enough information about a technical question, or a customer who does not know what to do Here you want to make sure that you give a clear approach and strategy are necessary when confronted with a topic that you may not be completely familiar with.

Name a time when you changed an unhappy customer to a happy one? When answering this question, the key is to show confidence and passion in what you do.

Someone says you take to long, what do you do? Be professional and make decisions quickly. If a big flaw in a product is pointed out, empathize!

Critical thinking questions: What is the current philosophy of the support industry? Is there a criteria? or something that they strive for?

What do you notice about the current state of the forum? or what do you know about the product? This is a trick question to find out if you have an eye for the big picture of a support service.


Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime.


For Contributors participating in the Contributor Quality Training for Chapter 10 click here

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