Surviving Support: 10 Tips for Saving Your Users and Yourself

*
Accepted Session
Short Form
Beginner
Scheduled: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 from 3:45 – 4:30pm in B301

Excerpt

When I open sourced my plugin to the WordPress community, user support was one of the last things on my mind - I was more excited to have written awesome code and a helpful site extension. Shortly thereafter though, customer support was the only thing I had time for. When your user base ranges in skill level from experienced developer to your grandmother, well… you've gotta be prepared for just about anything. This session will highlight the challenges and benefits of stellar support and offer a few tricks to make the process as painless as possible for both your user and yourself.

Description

It’s often assumed that user contributions will keep open source projects moving forward and bug-free. So, rarely do we anticipate and prepare for the onslaught of support requests that can quickly ensue, and oft end up consuming the bulk of our dev time. This session will highlight the challenges and benefits of stellar support and offer up tips for making the process as painless as possible.

The tips I’ll present can roughly be split into two buckets:

1) Support Organization – That is, how to develop and execute a solid support plan – the where, when, what, who, and how.

2) Communication – How to keep friendly communication channels flowing and how to avoid frustration, which, unfortunately, often goes hand in hand with tech support.

Ultimately, this sessions will aim to inform attendees on strategies for creating happy users, which in turn, will also make the attendee (the support provider) happy as well.

Since support can often seem like a dull and annoying process, I’ll try to keep this presentation very light and fun, with plenty of entertaining gif images to tie together ideas and emotions.

Tags

support, organization, communication, Best Practices

Speaking experience

I am still pretty new to conference speaking, but I have given this presentation once before at CodeMash 2014 and was pleased to get a pretty good turnout and fairly interactive crowd - there were a lot of great questions at the end and a few conversations that lasted well beyond the talk.

The slides for this presentation can be found here: http://jewlofthelotus.github.io/Surviving-Support

Aside from presenting at CodeMash, the rest of my speaking experience comes from teaching a Sass workshop for Girl Develop It Detroit, which I also presented in a condensed format for the local Ann Arbor Women Coders group. I've recently been invited back to teach the workshop again. I've also been invited to speak at the local JavaScript meetup group.

Speaker

  • Julie

    Julie Cameron

    Articulate

    Biography

    Julie Cameron is a frontend developer for Articulate working in the metro-Detroit area. She is the sole developer and support-provider of the open source SlickQuiz plugins for jQuery and WordPress. Julie is a fan of Sassy CSS and modular architecture, responsive web design, and is a student of JavaScript and self-improvement.

    Sessions

      • Title: Surviving Support: 10 Tips for Saving Your Users and Yourself
      • Track: Culture
      • Room: B301
      • Time: 3:454:30pm
      • Excerpt:

        When I open sourced my plugin to the WordPress community, user support was one of the last things on my mind – I was more excited to have written awesome code and a helpful site extension. Shortly thereafter though, customer support was the only thing I had time for. When your user base ranges in skill level from experienced developer to your grandmother, well… you’ve gotta be prepared for just about anything. This session will highlight the challenges and benefits of stellar support and offer a few tricks to make the process as painless as possible for both your user and yourself.

      • Speakers: Julie Cameron