Switching from a crowded email inbox to a more organized system for customer support has helped a ton over the past month. Now, that “email hour” I added to my daily schedule actually works, because I have limited inboxes to visit, and can view each request as a to-do item.
Everything is powered by our Discourse forum. Write.as users get a certain email address to send to, based on their support level. Those emails show up in different Discourse group inboxes. The high-priority group also pings my personal email, just so I don’t forget it’s there. But the low-priority group won’t ever disturb me — I have to visit that inbox to see messages there.
When my email hour starts, first I visit my high-priority inbox, where paying users send their requests. As soon as I respond, I archive the thread, so I eventually get to “inbox zero” and know that I’m done. Then I move on to the low-priority inbox, and then public conversations on the forum.
Between limiting how much I’m personally pinged, and having a UI that shows requests as a limited to-do list, all of it is much more manageable.
Working on putting a better system in place for customer support. I’ve tried setting aside an “email hour” every day — literally scheduling it on my calendar. But the email inbox is too messy; I have a system for marking important requests but things get pushed down and out of sight; in the end it’s too overwhelming for me to sit down and get through everything in a consistent way.
I think we’ll get some kind of support ticket system in place, so there’s a dedicated area for people to go when they need help with something, and a single place I can log into every morning to go through and clear out. I’m not sure where we’ll send people that have questions before they use the product — I’ll need to figure out a sane channel for them that doesn’t get used for all kinds of other things. But my priority is keeping track of customer issues.
Today, all day, I worked on nothing but my backlog of requests — they piled up a bit after a mental break trip last week. There are still important requests and conversations I need to follow up on. It’s really not too much overall, if I took care of everything and then stayed on top of it going forward. Just need to get to that point. (If I haven’t answered your email, you should hear from me soon!)