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How We Solved Our Customer Support Problem

We didn’t have a customer support problem per se, but our old system was not ready to scale, lacked communication, and had flaws. We took a step back and used the following to save us time and provide a much better client experience.

Website + Zapier + Trello + Slack

The heading of this section is probably throwing you for a loop right off the bat, but I’ll break it down.

  • A client uses the support form on the website to report an issue or request a change.
  • Zapier then takes the support ticket and automatically creates a Trello card in our support board.
  • When the Trello card is created, a notification is sent to Slack to notify the entire support team.
  • The first CYBERsprout person to respond moves the Trello card from the “Submitted Tickets” list to the “In Progress” list. This lets the rest of the team know someone is on the case.
  • After the change is applied or the issue is fixed, the Trello card is archived and Slack sends one final notification to confirm everything is all good!

solving the customer support problem with slack + zapier + trello + gravity forms

This may seem like a lot of steps, but it is pretty simple once it is set up. Plus, it is all free!

The old method of having a client send an email to [email protected] had a lot of holes. It was difficult to know if someone else had already responded to the client unless they cc’ed the rest of the team. We risked having multiple responses or none. The combo above ensures everyone is in the loop!

Grasshopper Virtual Phone Service

Like many freelancers, we started out using our personal mobile phones. Once we made the leap to forming up a team, we shifted to having each employee fill a specific role. The problem? Clients would call for technical support and get the project manager or call for billing and get a web designer.

The other issue is our team is not all under one roof. Getting an office phone would still not solve the problem.

We ended up signing up for Grasshopper, a virtual phone service. Current and prospective clients can now all call one number to reach the right department or a specific individual. Grasshopper also allows up to mask our cell phone number with the company number so clients can recognize the caller.

Maintenance

Logging into every single site to update plugins, themes, and WordPress would be super time consuming. It’d be impossible to be economical while keeping all clients’ sites up to date.

ManageWP solves this problem with a simple dashboard where we can view updates for every site we control. As a bonus, we can also clear out all spam comments and old post revisions to keep the content management system clean.

ManageWP wordpress maintenance console

Sustainability

I’m almost certain that Ben Franklin came up with “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” while managing his WordPress blog. History is clearly my strong suit.

At any rate, one of the biggest keys to a successful WordPress website is sustainability. This meant ditching bloated themes, shifting functionality to plugins, and making data entry simple for clients.

Bloated Themes

I first started working with WordPress back in 2011 and my theme usage was all wrong. I loved the idea of a theme that had all the functionality and design details baked right into it. Unfortunately, this often meant a slow load time. The theme should focus primarily on the general layout, structure, SEO, and security of a website. Child themes should contain most of the design elements and plugins should offer the majority of the features. This setup also makes it easier to make changes down the road as a company looks to expand its online presence and capabilities.

wordpress custom fields exampleCustom Post Types And Fields

Formatting pages and posts comes naturally to a web designer but it is a tricky endeavor for most novices. Truly smart design empowers these users to be able to make changes without having to fiddle with formatting. Enter custom post types and custom fields. These two brilliant features of WordPress allow a web designer to create a custom template that handles all the formatting while the user simply punches in data into clearly labeled fields and post types. Super simple.

Premium Hosting

Shared hosting is terrible but we’ve all used it at one point. There are security vulnerabilities, slow load times, and the risk of being on a black labeled IP address. Upgrading to managed WordPress host eliminates these problems with caching, malware scans, and 3rd party mailers. Plus, you also get daily backups, staging, and single-click installation. It may seem more pricey up front but it’ll save you a ton of time and heartache down the road!

Tyler Golberg

I love writing about web design that inspires, figuring out Google's black box, and speaking to lively audiences. In my spare time, I enjoy reading Game of Thrones (waiting on Winds of Winter) and touring the lakes on my paddleboard.

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