Prioritizing Your Inbox

Expert customer support help by people who love people.

Prioritizing Your Inbox

May 23, 2013 Thoughts on Support 0

Starting the day with a messy inbox is every entrepreneur’s nightmare. Learning how to prioritize your customer support requests will not only make you more organized, it will also make you a better product manager. When you know what customers are asking of you and requesting of your app, you’ll automatically prioritize new features and bug fixes that matter to your audience. You won’t learn anything from your customers without keeping track of what they are asking you.

The key items you need to track in every email are:

Bug reports and tech issues. 

When you peruse your inbox each morning, look for any patterns of complaints. Are multiple people experience the same bug? Is someone saying they lost their work or that a feature is missing? Take time to read through all of these and try to replicate the issue on your own, and give the customer an immediate reply. You shouldn’t wait to reply until after you’ve fixed an issue — that could take hours. If you don’t have an immediate fix, tell the customer you’re working on it and will get back to them with a resolution. For tech issues, if your app runs on multiple platforms that are web-based, make sure your help documentation includes tips for various browsers, clearing cache and cookies, updating plugins, and where to download updates 

Any how-to or “does your product do X” requests.

Any time a person asks you, “How do I…” you have an opportunity to make your documentation better. As a general rule, anything customers ask you more than twice a week needs to go in your Help section. The next time you get one of these requests, write your answer and before sending the email, and create a Knowledge Base about it. If don’t have the time to write a full help section right away, adding questions your customers ask you will develop your knowledge base over time.

Feature requests or wish list items for your product. 

No one wants to hear complaints from their customers or gripes that a product doesn’t do enough. You may have very specific ideas about features your product needs, and a philosophy of how your customers should use it. But that may not always translate when your app is in the wild. Don’t be defensive about feature requests or any other wish list items your customers send to you. Instead of being annoyed or shooting down the customer’s idea, think of it as a way to see your product the way your customers do. Thanking your customers for their idea doesn’t promise you’ll implement it. But it does show them you have their best interest in mind and are willing to adjust the product if you need to down the line. Is there a top requested feature you are asked for over and over again? Maybe you should seriously consider adding it. Remember: “You don’t build it for yourself. You know what the people want and you build it for them.” – Walt Disney

General praise and positive responses. 

Of course you’ll be happy to answer these emails but why stop there when a customer has taken the time to contact you with glowing praise? Dedicate some time each week to acknowledging these responses in your social media posts [it’s as easy as searching for your customer on Twitter and sending a public reply].

Keep an eye on patterns.

 How many times do people ask to recover their password? How many times to people complain that they can’t find a tab or button inside your app? It may be annoying, but you may find that your customer’s questions define a bad design decision in your product. By tracking what people ask you and keeping metrics — however rudimentary — you’ll have a better understanding of how people use your product and how you can improve it for their use.