While attending a recent seminar in Las Vegas, I found
myself in a room with horrible Internet connectivity. As
someone who actively ticketing system monitors and manages hundreds of
websites, this used to really panic me. Yet, I calmly sat
through many of the seminar presentations, knowing that
all of my customer service concerns were being handled
Let me explain my set-up, and you’ll understand why
customer service is so easy for me now.
I should begin though by pointing out that, as your
online business starts to grow, keeping up with the
customer service issues is often the most challenging
part of running your business.
Just keeping up with all of the emails can be nearly
Like many online marketers, I decided to outsource customer
service, but also maintain positive control. I maintain my
own help desk (customer service center) where a few assistants
take care of 95% of issues within minutes of them arising.
I route a major percentage of communications through my
help desk because that puts everything all in one place. I
have a threaded record of many exchanges, stored in a
secure database, so I can always go back and look up the
I am a bit of a “control freak” so I haven’t put the life
of my business totally into the hands of strangers. I have
a few customer support assistants that I know fairly well.
I know that they are trustworthy, understand my business,
and have good judgement.
I use a help desk software, called Three Pillars Help Desk,
but there are other comparable support desk packages. At
under $100, this is an amazingly feature-rich piece of
The typical customer service interaction is as follows:
1) A customer has a question, lost a download, needs a
software install, wants to joint venture with me, can’t
get a file to open properly, etc…. they visit my help
desk and fill out a help ticket.
I DON’T require them to register. They just fill out the
ticket, and they are entered into the system, receiving an
email confirmation. Actually, before they submit the ticket,
they are encouraged to peruse the “frequently asked questions”
(FAQ) built right into the help desk. Often, the answer to
their concern is right there and they don’t even need to
file a help ticket.
2) As soon as a help ticket is filed, admin assistants
assigned to that “category” of ticket, receive a desktop
notification that a new ticket has been filed. They get
an audible chime, as well as a desktop icon that tells them
how many tickets are awaiting responses.
I have my help desk set up so that I get these same,
notifications. I have it set to check every 15 minutes,
so I can see if any tickets go unanswered for too long.
Usually, my tech support is fairly fast though.
3) Admin assistants log into the admin control panel,
using their unique admin log-ins, and respond to the tickets
in categories assigned to them. They don’t see, and can’t
respond to tickets in categories not assigned to them.
One of the categories at my help desk is “Personal For
Willie.” Naturally, I only want those tickets visible to
me. Three Pillars Help Desk Software allows that option.
Tickets regarding JV’s are also only visible to me, but I
could have an assistant assigned to sift through JV
proposals, and have all of those tickets ONLY visible to
that admin. Many of my contemporaries do have assistants
assigned to screen JV proposals… some using the very same
help desk setup that I just described.
4) Many of the help tickets that we get can be responded
to with a “one-touch response.” The admin just selects the
answer from a drop-down selection of pre-composed answers,
clicks “send,” and in a matter of SECONDS that ticket is
taken care of. The precomposed answers are assigned to (and
only visible for) specific categories, and the categories
are assigned to specific admins.
Perhaps a customer unfamiliar with PDF’s or .zip files failed
to download and save one properly, or perhaps they don’t know
how to open the file. Perhaps a customer had a hard drive
crash, and needs a replacement copy of an ebook. If my tech
support is provided with proof of purchase, they are
authorized to replace these files. My admins are empowered
to make these types of decisions, that I really shouldn’t
need to get bogged down with.
5) As soon as the ticket is responded to, the customer
gets the response via email, and the desktop notifier, when
it next updates, shows that that ticket has been taken care
I mentioned earlier that I route most communications
through my help desk. This includes requests for joint
ventures, requests for me to broker joint ventures,
request for me to review a product, etc. Details on
how I do all of these things are also included in the
FAQ, so potential JV partners can see if their product
is a likely match before they even file a help ticket.
Email is so unreliable these days. There is nothing
more disconcerting than having a customer upset with you
over not responding to an email that you never even
received. You don’t have that problem with the help desk.
The correspondence is stored right in the database, and
only visible to appropriate parties. You can retrieve
records by name, email address, and a number of other
database variables at any time… even for closed
tickets. So, you have a real treasure of data at your
The FAQ file shows how many views a given question has.
That can show you potential problems, or indicate that
you need to cover a product feature more thoroughly on
your sales letter. Just paying attention to something
like that could easily double your sales of a given
product. The fact is that most prospect, who have a
question, won’t bother asking. So you need to really
pay attention to those who do, and assume that many more
had the same question.