DateMarch 16, 2015

Be Personable

When you work in tech support, you often don’t know who you are talking to. You don’t know if they’re high-powered or the new intern. You don’t know their level of technical ability or their patience.

But one thing you do know is they are human. So talk to them like it.

So many times, I get an email back from a tech and all it says is “This account has been deactivated.”

That’s nice, computer. I am happy you processed my request in an efficient and timely manner. But it would have been even nice if I knew you were a person too.

Now let’s compare that to:

Good Morning Monica,

I’ve deactivated the account for John Morris effective immediately.

Is there anything else I can do for you today?
Thank you,
Carl T. Holscher

  • I address Monica by her name.
    She is a person. I am a person. There’s no reason I can’t address her by her name. It’s add a little humanity to our interaction.
  • I told her exactly what I had done.
    That way, she knows immediately what this request is about. It doesn’t rely on her to remember what she had asked me for. She’s busy. She doesn’t have time to sit around and wait for me to get the work done. She is doing other things, so don’t make her guess.
    It also verifies to me that I have made the correct change. It’s easy to make a mistake, especially when dealing with a large number of requests. Repeating back the action I took helps me to double-check myself.

  • I used my name.
    I am not a team. I am not a group. I am an individual and I did this work for her.

Whenever I am about to send an email to someone, I ask myself if this is the email I would like to receive.

If it is, I hit send. If not, I take a moment to improve upon it. Spending those extra seconds can make a big difference in how you come across to your customers.

It’s hard to be as warm and friendly over text. But it is easy to impart some humanity in your words. Use them.

Sweet Themes are Made of These

Even if you’ve been using Slack for a while, you might not know about the Sidebar Theme feature in Preferences, which is a good way to keep your different Teams visually separate.

Sweet Themes are Made of These is an unofficial resource for Slack sidebar themes. I actively participate in two different Slack rooms and I use the sidebar themes to keep them straight at a glance.

There’s a brief how-to if you don’t know how to change your Slack sidebar theme.

I’m using the light and dark Solarized themes and think they look great!

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