In my last post I talked about the need for our volunteers share their knowledge with each other, and learn the ropes of providing user support. Since our medium is very much one to one and real time, it’s harder to learn from others than it is on a support forum, or even on IRC. We’ve put some tools in place that we hope will give new helpers a jump start on giving support, and help everyone stay on top of new answers and new ideas for being a better helper.
Bookmarks menu item in the Spark client
The first place to look for tools is the Bookmarks menu in the Spark client. These bookmarks are set on the server, so everyone always has the same links to important resources. I’ve included links to the other tools mentioned here, SUMO’s homepage, as well as to the Live Chat category of this blog. Let us know if we’re missing a link that you think should be included.
Live Chat introduction to Spark
We’ve put together an introduction to Spark’s interface. It covers all of the functions you’ll use when providing support via Live Chat.
Live Chat basic support handbook
Our basic support handbook details the basics of getting a user a good answer as fast as possible. It’s especially meant for new helpers who aren’t sure where to start, but it’s also good for experienced volunteers. Give it a read. Don’t feel compelled to stick to it if you think it doesn’t apply to the case you’re helping with, though some of the sections are “must follow” and that will be noted in them. Suggestions are always welcome, and this article will be updated when we hit common issues that need a guide.
Live Chat tips and tricks
As an experiment, I’ve set up a copy of the chirpy! quote database software. Submit any tips or tricks you have for giving users good support. Some things you might want to contribute are answers you couldn’t find on the knowledge base, shortcuts to diagnose a specific issue, or maybe even a good way to explain something that makes it easier for users to understand.
Make sure to read the latest submissions and vote up ones you find useful or insightful. Top submissions will be reviewed and added to our articles or other resources as appropriate. This is especially important for answers to new problems. This way we can share possible solutions for each other to test out before they could be added to a knowledge base article as a definitive answer.
Submissions aren’t expected to be in quote form, ignore that it’s a “quote” database. Depending on the tip you’re submitting, summarizing it in your own words is usually best, though it’s okay to just copy/paste how you said it in a chat with a user. All submissions are moderated, to make sure dangerous or incorrect suggestions aren’t promoted.
Have a good idea we’ve missed?
We’re constantly re-evaluating the best ways to support our helpers. Currently we’re looking for good free software to track who can help when, something that works more like a sign up sheet rather than a traditional calendar. If you know of anything please drop a link! Any other ideas that you think will help are also welcome.