Learning to Shorten My Support Ticket Responses

FLUFF. Who doesn't love fluff?

In school we were taught to add so many extra words to my exam answers, emails (To Whom It May Concern 😫), and coursework.

An essay had to be at least 5,000 words. A letter needed to fill the whole page. If you didn't, you were a failure. It would be best if you had a little more fluff and went that extra mile. More words seemed to equal success.

This idea that large chunks of text meant you thought more about the subject spilled over into tech when I first started.

SEO experts proclaimed that blog posts had to be over 10,000 words to rank well. Emails also had to be long and arduous to write.

Then I saw my co-founder's emails.

Forgoing the Fluff

My co-founder's emails were so short. Like a sentence or two.

I was offended.

How could someone have the confidence to write a sentence in reply to an essay-like email? Surely a 500-word email required an even lengthier response? So this was a battle of who could write the most fluff.

My co-founder was losing the unspoken battle but also gaining time? They didn't seem interested in this bravado of words.

It was time for me to cut the words in my support emails down. WAY down.

I gotta admit it wasn't easy at first. Cutting the fluff takes time, patience, and a sense of clarity I wasn't used to.

Hey NAME! 👋 I hope you're having an amazing day ☀️

I think that should be possible because of X and Y and Z. Here's a specific example of my doing this thing 👇

By the way you could also do it this way if you don't fancy the first 👇

Please let me know if that works for you!

Turned into:

Hey NAME! 👋 Sure thing!

I think that should be possible because of X. Here's a specific example of my doing this thing 👇

Please let me know if that works for you!

Which then became:

Hey NAME! 👋 Sure thing! This article should help you out 👉 LINK

Dreading the Reply

I felt guilty.

I didn't know how customers would feel about my new lack of sentences. Would they think I was a fraud? Did they want more words from me?

Nope and not at all.

They seemed to find it much better. The replies I received were shorter and more to the point and there was far less back and forth with tickets.

Customers got better support because the solution was more straightforward and took less time.

Learn to Drop Words

It can be tough to know how to answer customers in customer support. For example, do customers who write lengthy emails prefer a long reply? But, on the other hand, is it considered rude to answer their question directly?

I learned that no—it isn't. Our customers seem happier having a question answered with a short reply. No fluff.