Why don't we have customer support in the mail?

    Technical support

    Usual weekday:
    - This is a real raider seizure. They opened an office in Moscow without my agreement, and now they are trying to transfer all assets, including the site registered to me, to themselves.
    - Today, different people turn to us all day asking for access to your account. But since it is registered with you, we cannot do this. We have already sent all printouts and recordings of conversations to law enforcement agencies.

    This is not a quote from a detective novel, but a fragment of a very real dialogue between our company employees and one of the clients. Of course, on the material of the incident , which we encountered several months ago, it is quite possible to write an interesting and non-trivial detective story. But the competence of the technical support service does not include the investigation of detective cases. Her work should be organized so that disputes are excluded as far as possible.

    The story, the details of which can be found at the link above, once again convinced us of the correctness of our approach: we do not provide customer support either by phone or by email. All work is carried out only through the ticket system. This approach is quite suitable for old customers, but new customers who are just starting to work with us often have questions. By telephone and mail, we only answer general questions. As soon as the client begins to address private questions, we ask him to write the corresponding ticket.

    Why is the ticket system the main channel of interaction with customers?

    First of all , a client who contacts technical support by phone is often dominated by emotions and cannot provide an accurate description of the problem. Very often you have to deal with users who are not technically competent and unable to communicate in a coherent manner about their problems.

    If the dialogue has to be conducted exclusively in formalized written form, then the client is compelled to describe the problem as accurately as possible, highlighting the main thing and distracting from secondary moments. If the request from the client came by phone, then the technical support staff would have to spend a lot of time clarifying the details. A lot of effort would have gone into drawing up a logical description of the problem situation based on the client’s verbal messages, more than half consisting of experiences.

    In addition, when communicating by phone in most cases, it is impossible to immediately answer complex questions that require additional study on our part. If technical support is carried out by mail, then you have to deal with loss and distortion of information constantly: someone forgot to put the right recipient in a copy, someone missed important information when quoting, the message accidentally got into spam, etc. In the ticket system, the entire history of interaction is preserved. Regularly analyzing the history of correspondence with customers, you can identify typical problems and how to solve them - this greatly simplifies and speeds up the work of an engineer. It is also possible for clients to develop recommendations for actions in recurring problem situations, which also makes their communication with the technical support service more informative and efficient. Also in situations

    It is not uncommon for a solution to a problem stated by a client to be handed over to a strictly defined specialist who is not currently in place. When transmitting information communicated by telephone through third parties, inevitable distortions occur, which affects the speed and quality of the solution to the problem. If the ticket is addressed directly to this specialist, then this allows you to establish direct contact with the client and avoid the effect of a “damaged phone” when communicating with him.

    We also add that it is much easier for many engineers to communicate with clients in writing than by telephone. The company’s management can more quickly evaluate the work of technical support engineers by analyzing the history of correspondence in the ticket system, and not wasting time listening to telephone recordings.

    Secondly, customer support exclusively through the ticket system is also carried out for security reasons. When the user creates a new ticket, the date and time of the call, the contract number, as well as the IP address from which the call was made, are recorded in the system. Based on this information, a customer can be easily identified.

    With telephone technical support (even if all the numbers of the callers are determined and all conversations are recorded without fail) such identification accuracy is impossible. Many schemes of social engineering (i.e., gaining access to information resources through psychological manipulation and the use of the human factor) are just based on phone calls from dummies. Revealing these patterns is extremely difficult, as identifying the caller is a very difficult and sometimes impossible task. In addition, proving the existence of criminal intent in the actions of the caller is a separate problem.
    Technical support by mail also does not guarantee accurate identification of the user: anyone can send a fictitious message on his behalf. Since it is very, very difficult to uniquely identify the sender of a message, mail is often used as a phishing and social engineering tool.

    When registering a new user, we must indicate the passport data

    This fact often causes outrage among new customers who consider this requirement to be a manifestation of pickiness and distrust on our part. The reasons for this resentment are quite understandable to us: indeed, recently they have very often required to present a passport in situations where it would have been possible to do without it. However, registration as a client of a hosting provider does not apply to such situations.

    The fact is that we very often have to deal with controversial cases. Often, for example, it happens like this: the programmer was not paid for the work, and he threatens to completely disable access to the site to his unscrupulous customer. Another, no less common situation: the head of the web project leaves the company, and only he has access to the sites. There was even a case in our practice when the site owner died and his colleagues tried to regain access to the equipment. In all the situations described, there is one thing in common: a certain “third party” appears, stating that access to the site belongs to him, and not to our client.

    In any dispute, we always act as impartially as possible and firmly follow the rules according to which the actual owners of the site is the person whose passport details were specified when creating the account. If access to the account is compromised for one reason or another, we ask the client to come to our office with a passport in order to establish his identity. In such cases, we ask customers from other cities and countries to send their own photo and passport reversal photo.

    To prevent illegal actions with client accounts in the event of theft of passport data, we also have certain measures. The client cannot change the passport data indicated during registration on his own. All changes are carried out by our specialists upon request through the ticket system after additional checks. So even if the credentials were stolen, the current owner always has the opportunity to return his account.

    We also distinguish various categories of customers (individual, legal entity, individual entrepreneur, government agency). For organizations wishing to become our customers, we recommend registering as legal entities, rather than creating an account in the name of one of the employees. This elementary measure will help to avoid disputes about who actually owns the site.

    What problems do you face?

    The organization of the technical support service is a very complex and in many ways controversial issue. Each of you probably has experience with technical support as a client. Which approach to organizing technical support seems the most optimal for you? What needs to be done to improve customer support?

    I would also like for those who are on the “other side of the barricades” to speak on these issues - support engineers, call center employees and other specialists whose work is somehow related to customer support.

    For those who cannot comment on posts on Habré, we invite to our blog .

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