What is a good way to wean customers off email to use the web form?

7 Comments

  • Andrew J
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    Hello Jason, I think the term you use 'wean' is a good one.  It takes time to do it nicely.  

    Cutting off the autoforward sounds more like 'cold turkey'!

    Unless there is a compelling reason to abandon email support - we've found it best to support people how they want - whilst continually prodding them with the options we prefer.

    • Every time we close a ticket - they get a note that reminds them how than can view our Knowledge Base (helpcenter)
    • The header of every helpdesk email includes what looks like the search bar from our KB, they can click that to go to the search page.
    • We regularly provide clients with links to articles on the KB, if you get a support request that potentially someone else might benefit from the answer - write an article and link to that when answering the client.

    Hope this helps.

     

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  • Ben
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    You might consider offering best practice content (like our Tip of the Week series), specific communities (think Amazon's Developer Community), and other benefits like a First Reply Time commitment if they use it to entice traffic to your web form.

    I think customers really enjoy using custom fields when submitting a question because it leads to them not having to return email volleys answering basic qualifying questions once a day etc. So if you aren't using custom fields yet, it might be a mutual benefit too.

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  • Ben
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    This newly announced feature might also allow you to add more customized experiences to your user base thereby incentivizing their logging in to your Help Center for a rich relationship/support experience:

    https://support.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/222874768

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  • Diane Albert
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    When we launched "Adviser Central" for our yearbook advisers, we sent a HUGE paperclip in their startup kit with our support address on it.

    We also changed over our "HELP" link in our software to directly seed to the KB.

    Has it helped?  kinda.  Our customers are used to emailing their account reps, and then support may end up on the thread half way through and not know what we were specifically to help with - or when we could be finished.

    We now take on a lot more of the technical things directly and self-help has really increased.  That was the main point of the paper clip.  I've been able to cut our printed user manual from 80 pages down to about 24 and it's part of the overall creation kit that our marketing group does.

    I've made it known here that I can update a "misprint" or a feature change instantaneously...but that printed manual is WRONG and will remain that way until next year.

    We use the Answer Suggestion app from Zendesk to link our KB articles and we may use multiple articles in a single encounter. 

    It's just a matter of always hitting it.  Old habits die hard.  :)

    Diane

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  • Jessie Schutz
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    Another thing you could consider doing is utilizing your triggers to inform users who email your support address about the change, why you're making it, and how it's going to improve their experience.

    When users submit a ticket directly via email, the Notify of received request trigger could inform them that you'll be discontinuing support on that channel at X date in the future, and they should use the online ticket form (including a link, of course).

    Then, when the deprecation date arrives, set up a trigger to inform the stragglers that their ticket has not be received, and provide a link to the form so they can re-submit.

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  • Andrew J
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    One more thing - do make sure your support online is as good as or better than what you managed with email.  There's not a lot that is more discouraging than having a large mass wishing the 'old system' back!

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  • Jason
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    Thanks to everyone for your great ideas. We will definitely make use of them.

    -Regards

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