Our team has reduced support requests by 20% by simply improving the "New Ticket" form on our help desk. Make smart forms that work for you too.
Sometimes, a basic contact form is all you need. But most of the time, a form has a more specific purpose. Spend a little extra time thinking about how your form can save you time. Maybe your form can answer questions without the need to click submit? Design smart forms to guide clients to the answers they are seeking, or collect just the right information to save everyone time.
I've written a few case studies in the past, talking about how correctly implemented forms can streamline your business. Today's case study is a bit special. It is about a company that already knows everything about awesome online forms (Its about us!) still finding new ways to streamline workflow.
Our latest project went "Live" last month, and we're really impressed with the results. Our team has reduced support requests by just over 20% by simply improving the "New Ticket" form on our help desk.
Great support takes time
You may not realize it, but answering questions in the help desk involves more working hours than anything else in the Formidable company. Eight of our team members (myself included) regularly work in the help desk, to make sure that you are well taken care of.
While I love working in the help desk, the number of hours it takes does mean that our lead developers Steph and Jamie can get a bit overwhelmed at times. They should be concentrating on developing new features as much as possible, not worrying about a backlog of support tickets!
A couple of months ago at a team meeting (We do weekly video chats - its pretty cool!), the question was asked, "how can we improve the help desk"?
The objectives were:
- Make it as user friendly as possible
- Offer quick links to common issues so users can find a fix without even opening a ticket
- Show support options relevant to user type
- Get more information in the initial ticket so the issue can be resolved with fewer responses
- Ultimately find a way to provide the same high quality support in less time
Initially Jamie, Jonathan, and I each mocked up our own individual ideas. As the project progressed, we combined the best elements of each into one final form.
Smart forms only show the necessary fields — Conditional logic to the MAX!
The first thing Jonathan did was to add a hidden field with a shortcode that retrieves user type, and use this field to conditionally display further options.
For example, we used to get a lot of support requests from existing users who signup for a new account to ask a question. It was nearly impossible to link a new username to the original account (and previous tickets which might help us understand the issue), so it slowed the process of providing assistance. The new form displays a message mentioning this when viewed via a pre-sale account - and encourages paid users who see the message to login via their original account so we can help them faster.
Maximize feedback in your smart forms
We also took a look at past support tickets to categorize them, and we found that a nice percentage were actually saying "Thank You". We love seeing this positive feedback - it genuinely makes my day. But wouldn't it be better if the whole world could see it?
We decided our new form should have an option for "Say thanks" in the primary dropdown. If "Say Thanks" is selected, the form uses conditional logic to display links to where users can leave public reviews on our Facebook page or in the WordPress repo. So not only is the feedback visible to a wider audience - it also means a few less tickets in our help desk.
Smart forms have targeted instructions
Perhaps the biggest change was the "Report a bug" option. We don't like bugs so if one is discovered we want to get it fixed ASAP. A bit of extra information helps expedite this process. We also had a list of common issues that had simple fixes, and we wanted to offer direct links to those fixes within the form.
To do this we added a "Category" and "Subcategory" dropdown to the form. This categorization can give vital clues when trying to track down a bug, but also it allows us data points for conditional logic to display helpful hints. For example, if you select "Emails" in the category dropdown, links to knowledgebase articles for the 2 most common issues are displayed - giving users the information they need to resolve the issue without opening a support ticket!
We believe offering these helpful hints accounts for the majority of the decrease in helpdesk tickets.
If the hints aren't enough to resolve the issue, the new form asks for extra details such as a link to the page where the form/view is displayed, a copy of the exact error message, the version numbers of Formidable and WordPress that are in use etc. Having this extra information upfront allows us to find a resolution faster, with less replies backwards and forwards!
Smart forms guide users to extra resources
We also wanted to recognize the support we get from the Formidable community. Our community website is still relatively new, but it is growing every day and becoming a great resource. We wanted to encourage this growth, and especially promote the creative (and sometimes downright genius) tips and tricks that our users are posting there, so we added a "Leave a helpful tip for others" option to our form. When selected, a message appears directing users to our community site.
This means a few less tickets in the help desk, and more importantly, useful information in a place where its easier for everyone to see it. We already have 8 pages full of user created tips and tricks - why not check it out now?
The impact of smart forms in WordPress
So how are these changes affecting the Formidable team?
Its early days - but after the first week we checked the stats and saw an immediate reduction just above 20% in new support tickets being opened. For us, 20% is HUGE!
In a team where 8 people are regular on the help desk, this means a lot of extra time for building new features and working through the huge wishlist in development road map - which ultimately means an even more amazing version of Formidable for you!
** Bonus ** Top tips to get the best support
Here are my top 5 personal tips when opening a new support ticket - help us to help you faster:
- Give as much detail as possible about your issue, including specific steps to reproduce it.
- Let us know what versions of WordPress & Formidable you're using - if they're not the latest, then update,.. its the first thing we'll ask you to do & it often resolves issues without further action.
- Give us a link to your form or view so that we can check it out straight away.
- If your form/view is on a password protected page, please remember to give us a temporary password to see it!
- Include an XML export of your form/views/entries with your ticket. This will allow us to try your form on our own testing sites and help us figure out the issue quicker.