Suggestion for handling customer service emails

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Hey guys,

It's come up a couple times that people have mentioned that email sent to Customer Service goes missing. Since there's no automated reply or anything, no-one knows if you've received their email or not, or if it's gone missing, or if you're ignoring it, or what. (*I* know you don't ignore them, but some people obviously do feel that way -- I've seen posts about it.)

I have a suggestion for you to help clear that problem up a little... Well, first would be to get a functional mail server, but I'm sure you're working on that anyway. :) I'd also suggest getting a ticket-handling system that'll send an automatic response to any incoming email. It'll also help you track customer service incidents a little better. The one we've been using at work is OTRS, available from . It was built by a very friendly group in Germany. It's a web application, so you can set it up pretty easily to be accessible from anywhere in the world, which is handy if you need to check things from home. You can also set it up so that customers can log in to view their own tickets, but that's not as nicely set up. The nice thing about OTRS is that, in addition to being very well-designed, it's also open source, which means it's free to set up -- all it takes is a spare computer to run it on. We ran a technical support department with 7 agents and 40 or 50 customers using an old P3 733MHz.

If you guys do decide to go that route and need help, feel free to contact me. I've set up at least ten different OTRS machines (for various upgrades and tests) so I've gotten pretty good at it. :)

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