Customer support and the problems that never come back

For those who have never done a support job, it probably isn’t really very obviously. Even for those who have done phone support, it may not have occurred. Currently I’ve been dealing with a lot of support issues via email and via ticket system and a crazy pattern has come up.

For about 20% of the problems reported, they do not get fixed, and the user in question never comes back.

Think about this for a second, a person goes to the hassle of emailing a problem in, and then doesn’t want to get it fixed. Maybe in some cases, they just found it easier to ignore? Who knows? But the pattern is really showing itself every time I go clear off old open tickets. It is probably a good sign that we need a “awaiting customer” customer state like so many other systems.

Customer: Hi, I’m having a problem with X.
Me: Could you describe the problem so I can fix it please?
…..

Customer: Hi, my application is running strange.
Me: Please call me whenever suits you so I can dial into the computer to fix this.
…..

Customer: Hi, my Y isn’t working. It does Z.
Me: Can you tell me when is ok for me to test the fix?
…..

In the case of the last one, the user reported a problem with his phone. Very strange forward one too one I could run 2-3 test calls. However no reply when asking when it would be ok to fix.

So maybe we need a challenge on submitting a ticket to the system? Are you sure you really have this problem?

Or perhaps a disclaimer? Fixing this may require more than just this email?

Someday hopefully we can read peoples minds and understand what they want, although since they usually do not actually know what they want, that probably won’t help either.

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