One thing about working with the best of the best: your humility tends to go. After a few years in the Plarium support team, I cannot help assessing performance of my colleagues from other companies. I cringe when I hear platitudes like “Please clear the cache. Also, you can click here to see the FAQ, which may contain many answers to your questions.” No, my dear friends, we won’t help anyone this way. A good support agent should answer questions as if the fate of the entire universe depended on their answer. I’ll tell you a few stories that happened to me in real life, and I will try to show how the God of Tech Support (if I may wax No More Heroes) should act in these situations.

The first story: Speed

After updating my operating system, some of the games on my phone stopped working. Since one of them was really good, I tried to run it every possible way. Ultimately, inevitably, I had to resort to contacting support. I got no answer, so I tried the only method available to me: I removed the game and then reinstalled it. After 14 hours, I got an answer from support: “We are working on this problem. If you keep the game, the progress will be saved in the new version.” Good timing.

Unless you’ve got a time machine in your closet, forget immediately about any distractions and answer the user’s question ASAP. Haven’t responded on time for some reason? Apologize, and clarify whether this issue is still pressing. Even if the issue has been resolved, explain the causes of this situation and how one should avoid it in the future.

The second story: Knowledge

In an online printing materials store, a support agent recommended me some excellent ink. Well, excellent apart from the fact that it was not compatible with my printer. But the guy tried his best! (It wasn’t good enough.)

There is nothing worse than a support agent who knows less than the user. How are you going to save the world? All of the support staff should be damn smart, if not brilliant! It is impossible to help someone if you do not know your own product inside out.

The third story: Visualization

Them: “How do Ichange my game nickname? It reminds me of my ex. I don’t enjoy the game anymore because of this.”

You: “You can change the nickname in the settings. Click on the appropriate tab – “General Information”, then select “Personal Information”…”

Blah-blah-blah. The problem is that for experts some things become intuitively obvious. The expert has clicked so many times on that button that it would be really hard for him to imagine how one could become confused in this situation. They’re coming to you for help – so it’s reasonable to assume they’re not as tech-savvy and up-to-date on the lingo as you are.

Attach screenshots to your response, send video instructions if they are available. Explain everything as simply as possible, avoid difficult terms. Arm yourself with the words “This is a game (product) feature.” I realized quite a long time ago that this explanation works flawlessly in some seemingly hopeless cases. By following these simple rules, the support agent can quickly get their message across to the user.

The fourth story: Adventure Time

I can’t count how many times my friends called me and asked what Firebug was. For them, the installation of the Mozilla browser and “catching” the fire bug were on the level of an incomprehensible magic ritual. It is okay to ask the user for help in solving his own problems, but it should be done properly.

Describe all the actions one should take in detail, and make sure to include screenshots and video tutorials. The user will be happy to help: “Wow! They are involved in my problem, and I can take part in this too! Here are 10 screenshots, here’s a photo of my daughter, and here’s me with my mom, and here’s ‘Firebug’.”

The fifth story: Involvement

Even if the support agent did help you, it is embittering to see “Issue resolved” before you could even thank the agent for his help.

Stick with the user till the end. Asking for help is stressful for everyone; there is a fear of looking silly, a fear of talking to a plumber rather than an educated support agent. When a person gets a good comprehensive answer, it’s a relief. Give him an opportunity to express gratitude or share his joy.

Over time, a good service agent develops his own distinctive style of answering, his personal charm and tricks the players will like. But remember: the people trust you. Do not let them down.