Dear online support staff member,

I am probably not your average customer. If I send a support request to your team by email, it is because I have already exhausted all possible resources on my side and concluded, with good certainty, that there is an issue on your service.

Yes, I have read your online support material. I have tried different browsers. I have tried different devices and operating systems. I have tried disabling browser extensions. I have tried clearing cookies. I have looked at the Javascript console for errors—which, by the way, your application is probably throwing even during normal operation; shrug. I have danced three times around the computer and clapped my hands.

Therefore, when I compose a support request and send it via email or via some unnecessary contortions on your website, I take good care to provide as much detail as I can to describe: first, what the problem I am experiencing is; second, any possible actions I have taken to conclude my system is not at fault (aka the how-to-reproduce); third, what I would expect the outcome to be; and, fourth, what I would like you to do to help me. Heck, sometimes I am even able to pinpoint what the problem might be on your service side. You know, kinda like what any decent bug report is supposed to contain.

But what do I get in exchange? A canned response. A frigging canned response. E.g. if I dared to write “login” or “signup” anywhere in the text, then I get the predictable pointers to clearing cookies and a link to the FAQ entry with similar advice.

And you know what? This is incredibly disrespectful. I spent a significant amount of time providing you with all the details that are relevant to troubleshoot the issue with minimal back-and-forth. But no. No matter how hard I try to be specific, you end up submitting a canned response that asks me to do what I have already done or asks me to provide some information I have already given you. This is a waste of your and my time.

The tip of the iceberg is that the last occurrence of this situation, just a few days ago, involved a support team member claimed to be “Senior Community Specialist” (emphasis mine). I would have expected otherwise based purely on that word.

I get it. You probably receive tons of uninformed support requests where the canned response is useful. But if the support request includes more than two lines of text, please take the time to read it in detail and, please, do not treat the submitter as a clueless being.

Thank you, your disappointed customer.

Dear reader: the above might border satire and some, but not all, of the exaggeration is intended. I have experienced the above situation possibly around 10 times over the last few years and this kind of poor support experience seems to be, sadly, the norm. I have intentionally not mentioned company names because this “open letter” is more for fun than anything else. Hope you enjoyed reading it.

Posted on Medium · Go to posts index