At ToneDen roughly a third of my time is spent on user chat support and support-related bug fixing. All our engineers have support responsibilities, in fact, which I think is a good thing: we're all very aware of and directly motivated to find permanent solutions for recurring issues that we repeatedly encounter.

Support tickets come in a number of varieties, including users exploring the platform for the first time, users struggling with Facebook Ads Manager, advanced users trying to use ToneDen in new and creative ways, users attempting to pull specific data that isn’t available through the interface, and of course users experiencing valid bugs with the platform.

The vast majority of users who contact us are polite, friendly, and have reasonable questions. I know a lot of users are pleasantly surprised to find actual, responsive (during business hours--we aren’t Amazon here...yet), intelligent humans on the ToneDen end, and we take pride in every comment or shout-out from our users for A+ service and support.

All that said, from time to time we encounter certain ...interesting personalities on Intercom (our chat support platform of choice). Here are three of my favorites:

(Disclaimer: Conversations are samples only, not the communications of actual customers.)

“My Mom Leaving A Voicemail” (aka MMLAVs)

Over the years, my mother has left me many a rambling message where she uses my voicemail as a silent sounding board to think through whatever is on her mind. MMLAVs usually answer all of their own questions before anyone in support ever responds. From what I can tell, they spend all of a second trying to figure something out on their own before unleashing a barrage of questions, comments, and unrelated side notes over the course of multiple chat messages. MMLAVs are masters of stream of consciousness, free associating through possible answers, follow up questions, more unrelated side notes, and lastly confirmation that they have indeed answered all of their own questions in the process. Then they say “thanks!”

“The No-Contexter”

“The No-Contexter” - No-Contexters are frequently adamant and often demanding: they expect me to fix their problem quickly yet offer none of the relevant details that would allow me to diagnose and address the issue effectively. They are often impolite, assume I am stupid, and clearly have no understanding that all communication requires effort from both sides. I suspect that these people also hit, slam, and smack electronics and appliances quite frequently and with great force.

“Professional Digital Marketer Who Can’t Use A Computer”

Almost as frustrating as “The No-Contexter” and arguably more obnoxious, this person makes sure to tell you early and often just how experienced and advanced they are with digital marketing. Then they ask you how ads work on Facebook. Or what a call-to-action is. Like “The No-Contexter,” these folks cope with their own gaps in understanding by assuming the other party is ignorant. Just as is the case in other walks of life, those that preemptively trumpet their mastery of a given subject often seem to be the most out of touch. So it goes.

So, other than not being one of the above personalities, how can a support seeker be a support person’s dream and get their issue resolved as quickly as possible?

The first thing that any competent support person anywhere since the beginning of time does when tackling a reported issue is attempt to reproduce it. If you can’t reproduce an issue, it's near impossible to resolve. If you can reproduce it that’s usually half the battle. Once I can see something happen there are a variety of tools and approaches that I can use to isolate the root cause of the issue and (hopefully) solve it such that it won’t manifest again.

As a reporter of the issue, your goal should be to provide as much context to us as possible. Basic details (account, campaign name, page that you encounter the error on, description of the problem) are a necessity. Screenshots? Amazing. Short videos of the issue happening are a dream.

Of course, I also understand that for someone who hasn’t done similar work themselves knowing what to provide may not be intuitive. That’s totally fine. All that we ask is that when we follow up with questions you’re receptive and cooperate with us. Even if something we request doesn’t seem immediately relevant to you, chances are it probably is for us; typically we have a few hunches when first encountering an issue, and we try and methodically work through the most likely or ‘easiest to test’ potential causes first.

Follow the above guidelines and you’ll give your issue the best possible chance of being remedied quickly. Not to mention gaining my everlasting love and affection!