For many support is a major factor in your purchase decision, it is for me when I buy a theme or plugin. Every one wants good support right? But what does good support actually look like? Looking around the forums and looking at other theme’s support I can see there is a huge amount of confusion and misaligned expectations.

It’s important for me that my customers are happy. I really want you to have a great experience using my themes. But that doesn’t mean I’ll do anything to make you happy and I don’t think it’s everyones best interest that I operate like that. The aim of this article is to clearly lay out what my approach to support is, then I want to tell you why it is that way and I hope by the end you’ll agree with my approach but either way I think it’s important you know what your getting when you purchase a theme.

Answering promptly

Many of you have clients and have a deadline, therefor you haven’t got time to wait 2-3 days for a support, right? And when your website is a vital key to your or your clients business and it goes down, 2-3 day or more, isn’t good. With that in mind I aim to get back to you quickly. I answer support every day including weekends and I answer always within 24 hours but most of the time within a few hours if I’m awake. I also don’t don’t supporting because I’m on holiday. I’m their for you when you need me.

Nasty topic of bugs

Bugs are best avoided altogether and this is my aim but it doesn’t always happen especially within the WordPress realm when there are thousands of components from different programmers all working together to power your website. So my promise to you is when things do happen that I deal with them ASAP.

Support system only

From time to time I get support requests outside of the support system when that happens I direct customers to the support system. Why? Because it works out best for me and my customers. I’ve tried other methods but they resulting in a stressful experience for me and a less then stellar experience for my customers because it’s too hard to manage support in that why.

I really want to help

Earlier I said that I genuinely want to hear from my customers. I want you to have a great experience using my themes and sometimes your going to have questions and maybe you’ll have suggestions. I try to cover all topics in my knowledge base but it’s hard to know exactly what things users find more confusing and what needs more or better coverage. By asking questions you help me make the theme better, make the documentation better and help me make better themes in the future.

Using the knowlegebase

It’s in everyones best interest for customers to use the knowlegebase as a first port of call. I’ve invested a huge amount of time in creating the knowledgebase along with video tutorials. This keeps support requests down and as I’ll explain later, keeping support tickets down is in your best interest.

Theme related questions only

My support only covers theme related questions and does not include WordPress support, hosting support or customisation help. That is what the Themeforest support policy is and they do a great job of explaining here: [insert link]

I believe that adhering to the theme forest support policy is in the best interest of everyone and in the rest of the article I’ll explain why that is.

Best spend time

One of the main issues about what support is is about limitations. Should their be limits and what should those limits be. We have a finite amount of working time, you could take time from your personal life – but that isn’t healthy for your family or health. So with that in mind we have a set amount of time and every decision on were that time goes is a decision not to spend it somewhere else.

Envato have made a very good article that clearly lays out what support is and is not. One of the main things I like about it is how it says a authors time is best spent.

Support time is time taken away from development time. When support is controlled it means a authors time can be spent adding features, testing, solving bugs, creating new demos, creating new themes, adding new tutorials and answering important support tickets quickly.

Limitations on support

Before I talk about this I want to be sure to get across what I mean by limiting support. I don’t mean in the number of questions or time spent with a customer. I mean by spending time answering questions that are not the responsibility of the author. That is helping with things like: server issues, using and leaning WordPress, customising the theme for a customer.

I firmly believe that this level of support is detrimental the experience of every customer.

The support queue

Many authors take days to reply, this goes for many elite authors. When authors get bigger, they get more support so the support time goes up. But when I look at their support system I see ticket after ticket of customisation requests and the author or support worker help the user to change the theme from what was advertised with several back and fourths. Sometimes it’s the same user wanting the change the theme is lot’s of ways.

Meanwhile users with questions on how to use the theme, with issues, with bugs even are waiting for several days for answers. I buy and use themes too and if I have a deadline and have a issue I need help with and have to wait for days whilst the support is busy answering customisation requests, I’m not going to be happy.

Hiring a developer

Unfortunately we are in a situation where a minority of customers are using theme support in place of hiring a developer. Developers

Theme are advertised as being super easy to use – $40 dollars and you can get a website with no experience. Great for people with a limited budget. But in this situation, who helps when things go wrong? If there is a fault with the theme, then the author clearly. But when it’s not the theme? Problem is that when a theme is in use and there is an issue

—–

I think the main issues behind the issue of support is money. You have brought a theme, something is

In my option support has to be limited, for many reasons. I know some have the idea that customer service is the most important thing in a business and you should go beyond the call of duty for every support request you receive. That may be true for many industries but theming is quite a unique situation and

We all have a finite amount of wtime unless I want to take time from my personal life – and I don’t – then my working hours have to be spent

One of the problems is that every author is going to see and give support differently. I small author just getting started may go way above the call of duty for every customer eqar to make every one happy. I veteran author with

Support is a pretty key issue on Themeforest and is the cause of much aggravation for both customers and authors. There is a lot of confusion around support and difference of options on what support is and how much should be given. There are probably hundreds of threads on the forums by customers and authors about it.

I buy themes and set them up for clients and I buy and use plugins so I know what it’s like to use support as well as give it.

From my own experience, from

Some users expect too much from support – they almost expect a free developer. Others never contact support with their questions, I fear I may put them off with my strict rules on my ticket system, but I don’t want to put you off, I genuinely want to answer any questions you have.

It occurs to me that a major problem is that support terms are not clear because every theme author gives a different level of support. I’ve seen many authors giving support beyond their own rules, a lot of the time through fear of negative ratings.

My personal option is that this is not fair on customers – for the authors time to be taken up by abusive customers rather then giving their time to users that respect the authors time.

I see article that tell

It’s important to us that you have the best time possible using our themes