4 Tips that Will Improve Your Customer Service this Week

If you are in business, then you have had a tough time with customer service. No business on the face of the earth has served their customers 100% the first time. We can always look to provide a better experience and develop deeper connection with them with the few tips we have outlined below.

  1. Be one of them!

    Save the fluffy writing and technical jargon. When your customers need help, they want to know you feel for them. Most of the time, customers are reaching out due to some issue that has happened with your product or service. All too often they are upset and looking to take that frustration out on someone. Unfortunately, that someone is you. To help diffuse the situation, be one of them. Think about a time you were upset about poor service you received. It could be poor service at a restaurant, your order was lost in shipping, or no one at footlocker was trying to help you find those perfect kicks for the weekend. What you want is for someone to agree with you that what you are experiencing is poor customer service. Give that to your customer! Take ownership and give them the confirmation that they are looking for. Agree that this is not an acceptable option and there are no excuses. “We dropped the ball and you have every right to be upset.” From my experience, usually they drop their guard and tend to be more forgiving and understanding. If they are still fired up, don’t try and calm them down. Instead match their intensity and be fired up with them. They may still be upset but, they will look to return because they know that you get them. And after all, we want our customers to know, we get them.

  2. Empower them

    Your customers do not want to feel helpless when things go sideways. They don’t want to spend valuable minutes waiting to talk to a service rep if something could be easily fixed with an on-site search function or FAQ section. They have their problem now and want it fixed now. A good percentage of problems are remedial and can be fixed by the customer if given the tools. Building a good FAQ and having a troubleshooting wizard can save them time and many times solve their issue without further escalation. Remember though, this has to be simple and easy to use. If it’s complicated and doesn’t answer their question simply, it can add fuel to the fire. One thing to note, do not force your customer to an FAQ. If they want to call in or email directly due to wanting to release of some frustration, encourage it and refer back to tip 1.

  3. Have the right tools

    Ever have a customer email you, asking for some help, only to be lost in the shuffle of the hundreds of emails you receive daily? This can be tragic to the customer relationship and may be extremely difficult to repair. This can all be solved using a solid customer help desk software. They will keep you in line and keep you up to date on where you are at with the resolution to the customer issue. This will help you keep your head on straight and able to manage your customer issues all in one location. Think of it as your personal customer service assistant.

  4. Follow Up!

    Think about a time where you were referencing a certain upcoming event in life. It could be a big game, a trip a broad, or a big interview. How cool is it when a friend or colleague remembers and asks, “Hey, how did your trip go a couple weeks ago?” You enjoy that moment because it’s shows you they listened and they cared enough about you to check back up with you. Many companies follow up with a generated thank you and survey question and it gets horribly low response rates. Instead try something personal and genuine. Mention the issue they had. If it was a late item, tell them you hope they recieved it and ask for some feedback on its performance. If they were upset the way a situation was handle, ask for their opinion and feedback on how to change it going forward. Of course, always sending out a coupon code for their troubles is great, but remember you can’t just buy their love. It needs to be personal and heartfelt. People can tell when you are just trying to get them to come shopping again, and that can do more damage than good.

These tips can go along way in helping develop your customer service skills. However, remember these take practice and are not cookie cutter solutions. You have to be genuine in delivering service to the customers. Trying to manipulate them or get off easy is way to ruin the relationship and any future business.

Helpy 1.1 brings a load of new ticket features

Today we are announcing our 1.1 release, which builds on the Awesome Helpdesk features announced in 1.0 with some really powerful new ticketing and discussion management capabilities. Here is what is new:

Uploadable logo: You can now upload a logo for your help system using the settings interface. Note- this only works with the new native file storage, not with Cloudinary

Capture raw email: If you forward emails into the system, it can be helpful to be able to review the full text of the original email, with forwarded sections intact. This lets you do that.

CC and BCC a reply: You can now set additional addresses to CC when replying to a ticket. These addresses will receive a copy of the response written by the agent.

Flag Public Posts for Review: Gives your users the ability to flag objectionable content in the public community for review by system admins.

Make Topic Subject editable: Allows you to edit the subject of a public discussion or private ticket, simply by clicking on the name in the admin interface.

Split ticket/discussion: Adds the ability to split a ticket thread into two. Simply select the “Split” option for the reply you wish to create a new discussion.

Change ticket author: Adds the ability to change the author of a ticket (or post).

Helpy is 1.0!

We are super excited to announce that Helpy 1.0 was released today! This release is packed with new features that will help you provide better support to your customers. Helpy is also featured on Product Hunt today, so if you like what we are doing, please head over to http://www.producthunt.com and vote for us!

Here is a quick overview of what you will find when you log in, or sign up for a trial:

Team Insights- A new team overview page for admins, that shows you reporting on your team efficiency.

REST API- You can now access all of your Helpy programmatically. Generate API keys in the settings area.

Notifications- Notifications alert you by email when you have received a new ticket. You can then either log in to reply, or reply to the email directly.
Great for low volume helpcenters.

Autosuggestions- Now when your users start creating a new discussion with you, they are instantly suggested articles and community posts.

Better theme customization- You can now customize your color palette, and also add javascript and css through the design panel!

Branded Error pages- Gone are the generic error and page not found messages.
Helpy now uses site branding to provide a simple, customized error page.

Groups- Groups are a new feature that lets you assign agents to functional teams.
Incoming tickets can then be assigned to a team for resolution. This helps get the right ticket to the right agent.

New translations:

  • Hungarian (@tcsizmadia)
  • Swedish (@MrManner)
  • Italian (@CGA1123)
  • Brazilian Portuguese (@Ryanaro)
  • German Improvements (@rschaerer)

Announcing Helpy 0.10!

We are excited to release Helpy 0.10.0 today, bringing with it a large number of improvements, bug and security fixes. The 0.10 release includes dozens of commits made by new contributors @Shakti1989, @Sunday, @Yetty, @ubergesundheit, @tapalilov and @jprberlin. Many, many thanks to all contributors who are helping us make this the best open source helpdesk around, and I am sorry if I missed you.

Here is a rundown of what is new:

  • Themes! This is probably the biggest announcement and lets you make dramatic or subtle changes to the look and feel of the self serve knowledgebase and help center, without disturbing the core functionality. Helpy ships with 3 themes, and we’ll be releasing more options in the future. From here on, it is recommended that if you need to make changes to your UI, that you create a custom theme rather editing the core Helpy files.

New Helpy Themes

  • Client side form validations: We have updated almost all forms to use client side validations, improving the user experience tremendously. Thanks @Shakti1989

  • A new onboarding flow. This won’t affect you if you have already started using Helpy, but if you are starting with a fresh install, you will now be greeted with a helpful onboarding flow to help you secure your master login and setup your helpdesk.

  • Improved Roles. Previously Helpy used two main roles- user and admin. This is great for a simple helpdesk, but we wanted to support more. Helpy 0.10 includes support for two new roles: agents and editors. Agents can do everything except change settings, and editors can rock the knowledgebase but don’t have access to tickets!

  • Recaptcha for unregistered users. Helpy now makes use of recaptcha for users who wish to create public posts or private tickets without registering. This feature can be configured through the backend settings panel and is optional. Big thanks to @Shakti1989 for this one too!

  • Slack Integration. We love Slack, and assume you probably do too! Now Helpy can post into Slack when new issues arrive. To enable this you will have to add the helpy_slack gem, which is available on Github.

  • Big refactoring. We have been busy working on refactoring code and making it easier to develop add ons for Helpy. Although we are not quite ready to announce an official guide for this, it’s coming soon!

  • Live Search. This represents a big enhancement in the way the search function on Helpy works, and now the search begins suggesting results as soon as you start typing. You can still hit enter and go to the regular search results page. Thanks to @Shakti1989 for your work on this!

And some smaller (but no less important) stuff too:

  • Better test coverage, provided by @Sunday
  • Helpy now support PDF attachments, provided by @Yetty
  • Devise now uses translations for emails, thanks @CGA1123
  • Github and Twitter OAuth now work correctly
  • Other UI improvements

And last but not least, there are new translations

If you contributed and I forgot to mention it, send me a message and I will mention it next time!

How to upgrade

Upgrading to 0.10.0 could be tricky if you have done any customization on the front-end view code. I suggest you copy your customizations into a temp directory and then build a new theme with them. Then revert your views directory back to master. I will have a tutorial on building themes soon, but to get started you could just copy one of the existing new themes and start changing it.

You will want to make sure you bundle install and rake db:migrate after you pull/merge in the new updates.

What are we working on?

  • JSON API. This is well underway and should be released soon. This will give you a way to interact with your Helpy programmatically and build integrations.
  • POP3/IMAP support. We thought this would make it into this release, but a couple bugs and delays in getting it tested has delayed us slightly. This means you will be able to connect your Helpy to any email box.
  • Team/Organization Support Queues, which will let you direct messages to specific agents.
  • Reports/Dashboard- To give some stats and overview within Helpy.

Version 0.9 is out and is the best Helpy yet!!

The new 0.9 release of Helpy is out (actually 0.9.1 now) and includes many exciting new features, in addition to bug and security updates. It is recommended that you update as soon as possible. Specific new features include:

  • Embeddable Widget: The embeddable widget lets you extend your Helpy support experience to any app or site. Appearing as a small icon in the corner of the page, once clicked, the widget gives users a way to contact your helpdesk immediately.

  • Knowledgebase commenting: Users can now post comments and discussion on knowledgebase articles inline- giving an easy way to ask questions or discuss the contents of an article.

  • Admin Settings: Probably the most exciting thing in this release, Helpy can now be completely configured from the web interface. Say goodbye to settings.yml unless you want to hook up oAuth. The design tab lets you change key colors and logos. Control internationalization through the international tab, and enter your SMTP credentials and select an email provider to enable email capabilities. You can even add a Cloudinary API key here to turn on file uploads!

  • User management: Helpy has always had a user management capability hidden in the admin search function- but now it is easier! By searching ‘users’ in the admin search, you can access a list of all your users and jump directly to user profiles, as well as user editing!

  • Email moved to a background job: Helpy now makes use of Rails 4.2 ActiveJob to send emails through a background process, and ships with the sucker_punch gem. This is a great in memory queue that works well with no hassles setting it up. If you find you are sending a lot of emails, it may make sense to upgrade to something beefier like Rescue or Sidekiq- a fairly trivial switch thanks to the active_job implementation.


Make sure you run bundle exec rake db:migrate after you update your system, as these updates did bring some new tables. This version changes the way i18n is handled, and you may need to indicate on the settings panel which locales you wish to support after updating. If you get a merge conflict on which locales are enabled- make sure they all are in appplication.rb or production.rb. Let us know if you run into any issues, or post a public message at http://support.helpy.io/

Special thanks to contributors for their help with bug fixes, new features and translations.


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