How to deal with Add-on support questions?

Kirby

Well-known member
Hi everyone,

sometimes users of my Add-on
Font Awesome Manager
ask for help to get icons displayed properly.

Usually such problems are caused by missing / wrong / incomplete configuration and I've therefore set up a comprehensive FAQ how to fix those issues.

I've also included a section with detailed instructions how to get direct support:

I've tried everything, but icons are still
missing or otherwise broken. How can I get help?

  1. Set Log level to Debug and perform a rebuild
  2. Enable option Automatically add missing icons
  3. Visit a page that has missing/broken icons in an fresh browsing context (private tab, other browser, completely cleared site data, etc.)
  4. Continue browsing the forums for a few minutes
    This is necessary to trigger the execution of jobs if the site does have only a low amount of traffic (or no traffic at all).
    If this is the case you can simulate traffic by just visiting many different pages to trigger job execution.
    Alternatively it is also possible to run a rebuild job manually at his point.
  5. Recheck the page from step 3)
  6. Take a screenshot of the page that has missing icons and mark the area(s) where icons are missing/broken
  7. Disable the Add-on
  8. Revisit the page from step 3), take another screenshot and mark the area(s) where icons were missing/broken
  9. Take a screenshot showing all settings in Font Awesome
  10. Take a screnshot showing all style properties in Font Awesome
  11. Perform a manual rebuild and save the log to a textfile
  12. Start a conversation with me
    Your message must include the URL of the page from step 3), the screenshots as attachments (not embedded!) and the rebuild log.

    If you do provide multiple URLs for pages that have missing icons please include a table like this in your conversation message:
    URLFilename screenshot FAM disabledFilename screenshot FAM enabled
    http://example.com/threads/broken.1234thread-fam-disabled.pngthread-fam-enabled.png
    http://example.com/members/broken.1234member-profile-fam-disabled.pngmember-profile-fam-enabled.png

    If the pages are not publically accesssible please also provide login details for an account that can access them.

Unfortunately, most of the time Admins seeking support do not initially provide enough information to directly solve the issue(s), so I usually direct them to the FAQ in order to not have to ask for every detail over and over again.
This does save time and I do not risk missing to ask for smth. that might be important :)

Recently I got a support request via conversation that could be paraphrased as

Hi Kirby,

I am using Paid Add-on X and I am unable to get one of its icons displayed properly.

Can you help me?

As usual, the request did not include URLs or screenshots, so I replied asking the admin to please read the FAQ and to act accordingly.

The admin then replied (in what I consider a kinda aggressive tone) that he regrets to having contacted me.

I replied again that everything is okay (from my perspective), asked him if he was able to fix the issues by himself and to please provide the information outlined in the FAQ if this was not the case so I could provide help.

Afterwards I got another reply with some screenshots, but still missing important information.
So I asked him a third time to provide the necessary information (es explained in the FAQ).

The last reply I got was that he'd rather keep broken icons than continuing the discussion.

I am currently unsure how to deal with this ...

Is it too much to expect users to read the FAQ and to provide the requested information?
Is the FAQ too complicated?
Am I doing smth. wrong?

Happy to read your thoughts :)
 

Mr Lucky

Well-known member
Am I doing smth. wrong?
I don’t think so at all.

But you could direct support requests to your own site with ticket system and then you have the option to include a notice or custom fields to ensure you get all the appropriate info.

Not that you should have to but it should make things more idiot proof.
 

Max Taxable

Well-known member
As I recently related to you via PC, I've found your patience in supporting your FA add-on to be exemplary. If that's any consolation.
 

Alan_SP

Active member
People usually think that other people know what they know.

And, in a way, if they would take time to solve the problem, they wouldn't need support, but they prefer to offload solving the problem to someone else.

We are like that too often. :confused:
 

briansol

Well-known member
IMO,

For FREE addons, support the early adopters or if it legit looks like a bug on YOUR side. After a while, you need to pass the buck on to the community to give back and help support where they can. I try to do this the best I can so that you can go make other mods for me to have for free.


Paid of course is a different ball game. What you pay for, ultimately, is the extra support.

So, perhaps you can offer a Free and 'Enterprise' license. Where, all you get is support. But, that of course is if you even want to do that and put the support effort in.



From a UX perspective, the FAQ tab is not obvious in the thread. Yes, the link is there on the nav bar, but it's out of view to most who simply want to come post their problems without putting in any effort. So, to that end, I say treat it like Stackxxxxx where if you don't put good info in the question, you don't get helped. If you want to go a step deeper and ask for more details, that's cool. But i don't think you should feel obligated to do it.


Ultimately, the average forum owner is not highly technical. When things get complicated like installing dependencies on a server or running command line things, it's going to be a more difficult addon from the support perspective.
 

swiftyste

Active member
Your not doing anything wrong but sometimes people have something on the site they wish to hide and don't wish to provide said information as it could result in you turning them away empty handed 🤷‍♀️ but enough about them:

No matter what you do your going to get customers that don't fully search or even can be bothered but what could make things easy is a ticket system & (required) custom fields and point them to this system while conversations is good way, ticket system is the best and easy for you...
 

Mouth

Well-known member
Is it too much to expect users to read the FAQ and to provide the requested information?
Is the FAQ too complicated?
Am I doing smth. wrong?

Here's my $0.02c worth ...
  1. Support method/criteria is 'buried', don't put it as the last item in your FAQ but instead make it the first.
  2. The very first item #1 in support could be confusing/challenging. Where is Log Level, and how/where do I do a Rebuild? Rebuild of what?
  3. Mention and link to support in the item overview, not just have it within the FAQ
  4. Ensure each update entry also mention where/how to get support
  5. Use the Support URL, to the get the button on item listing, that links to the FAQ entry?
  6. Make it clear that support request PM's without having followed FAQ and providing required information will be ignored. With steps 1, 3 and 4 above, this will lessen receipt of PM's where the author couldn't easily discover the process for support.
 

Forsaken

Well-known member
Hi everyone,

sometimes users of my Add-on
Font Awesome Manager ask for help to get icons displayed properly.

Usually such problems are caused by missing / wrong / incomplete configuration and I've therefore set up a comprehensive FAQ how to fix those issues.

I've also included a section with detailed instructions how to get direct support:



Unfortunately, most of the time Admins seeking support do not initially provide enough information to directly solve the issue(s), so I usually direct them to the FAQ in order to not have to ask for every detail over and over again.
This does save time and I do not risk missing to ask for smth. that might be important :)

Recently I got a support request via conversation that could be paraphrased as



As usual, the request did not include URLs or screenshots, so I replied asking the admin to please read the FAQ and to act accordingly.

The admin then replied (in what I consider a kinda aggressive tone) that he regrets to having contacted me.

I replied again that everything is okay (from my perspective), asked him if he was able to fix the issues by himself and to please provide the information outlined in the FAQ if this was not the case so I could provide help.

Afterwards I got another reply with some screenshots, but still missing important information.
So I asked him a third time to provide the necessary information (es explained in the FAQ).

The last reply I got was that he'd rather keep broken icons than continuing the discussion.

I am currently unsure how to deal with this ...

Is it too much to expect users to read the FAQ and to provide the requested information?
Is the FAQ too complicated?
Am I doing smth. wrong?

Happy to read your thoughts :)
Sounds like you had the classic forum admin with his head up his ass, who knows enough to get himself into trouble but not enough to get himself out. My response was to just throw them on ignore, and be done with them; if they ended up trying to make a public issue I would just post the reasons for why he was put on ignore and go back to forgetting his existence.

I would put a notice up that support provided would be minimal, and any support needs specific information for you to reply; if the information is not included, ignore the message.

Dealing with customers was literally the worst thing about providing resources; most people were fine but the entitled people were not insignificant, and they tended to be the worst ones to deal with as there was just no pleasing them.
 

Brogan

XenForo moderator
Staff member
Dealing with customers was literally the worst thing about providing resources; most people were fine but the entitled people were not insignificant, and they tended to be the worst ones to deal with as there was just no pleasing them.
Welcome to the service industry.

My tongue knows it all too well.
 

Kirby

Well-known member
So, perhaps you can offer a Free and 'Enterprise' license. Where, all you get is support. But, that of course is if you even want to do that and put the support effort in.
Definitly not, offering a paid version and support would be waay too much hassle.

From a UX perspective, the FAQ tab is not obvious in the thread. Yes, the link is there on the nav bar, but it's out of view to most who simply want to come post their problems without putting in any effort.
Yeah, the FAQ is a bit hidden, so I can understand (in some way) that it does get missed in first place.

What I don't get though is why it is still "missed" even after posting a direct link (three times in the case I talked about, two times even with a reference to the relevent section and the last time including a short summary of the information I need in order to help - eg. exact URLs, screenshots of affected pages, etc.)

Support method/criteria is 'buried', don't put it as the last item in your FAQ but instead make it the first.
I intentionally put that section at the very end as I envisioned it to be the last resort option, eg. for the case that there are issues / bugs in the software that can't be solved otherwise.
Theoretically all other issues should be covered by the FAQ.
Furthermore, the section references terms that are covered be previous items so putting it first might be confusing?

The very first item #1 in support could be confusing/challenging. Where is Log Level, and how/where do I do a Rebuild? Rebuild of what?
Hmm, both the the Log Level setting and Rebuilding are explained in the FAQ - what further information would you consinder useful regarding those terms?
I maybe could add that options are to be found at Admin Control Panel > Setup > Options > Font Awesome, Style Properties at Admin Control Panel > Appearance > Style properties > Font Awesome and the logs at Admincontrol Panel > Logs > Server error logs?

Mention and link to support in the item overview, not just have it within the FAQ
You mean a direct link to the section explaining how to get direct support?
I would love to, but due to the lack of anchors or IDs I can't do that :(

Ensure each update entry also mention where/how to get support
That's a good idea, thanks :)

Use the Support URL, to the get the button on item listing, that links to the FAQ entry?
Same issue as before - as I can't generate an ancor / ID within the FAQ I can't directly link to a section :(
 
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