Every day I receive support requests for Teleprompter Premium and Teleprompter Lite. For the most part the questions are fairly understandable and are usually pretty repetitive (it’s a great way for me to highlight areas for improvement within the app).
Every so often, I’ll get support requests users who seem to lack any basic knowledge of how to use their device, so much so that I’m surprised they’ve managed to download an app and submit a support ticket to me.
So here’s the first volume of a new series I’m going to call Hilarious app support requests.
Before I begin, let me show you the ’empty’ state of Teleprompter Premium. When a new user launches the app for the first time, he’s presented with the “My Scripts” view which looks like this:
You’ll notice in the middle of the screen is written “Tap + to create a script”, you may also notice that there are only two buttons in this view, the “+” button and the “Help” button.
This view is very similar to many writing apps, note-taking apps and music apps… It’s where all of your projects will eventually be once you’ve started creating them.
Yesterday at 16:11, I received a new support ticket:
I just opened my Teleprompter Premium.
It opens on a grayed screen with the heading:
I can see no way to get the app to open to its home / landing page.
Please explain problem and solution.
From this I know that the user has opened the app, immediately become confused at the sight of the “My Scripts” view and clicked the “Help” button to submit a support ticket.
So here’s my response to the ‘problem’:
That’s not a problem… that’s the app. This is the “Home” screen if you will. The My Scripts view is where you navigate to all of your scripts once you have them composed or imported.
You’ll see the “Tap + to add a script” prompt in the middle.
My response (to me at least) explains that the view he’s seeing is normal and that it is indeed the ‘home’ of the app. I also made sure to mention the prompt in the middle of the screen which explains how to get started, there is after all only two possible buttons he can tap at this point.
To my surprise, I quickly receive a response:
Response and Link is totally irrelevant to my issues.
While I find responses like this completely arrogant and rude, I do have to consider the level of frustration the user is experiencing (even if it is self-inflicted by not just taking a moment to look at the screen and tap the only button available).
So I try to respond kindly and clarify my previous response, which was of course completely relevant… Here’s my reply:
I’m not sure what you mean… I haven’t sent a link to you, and my response was very relevant to your issue. But do let me clarify…
Issue: It opens on a grayed screen with the heading: My Scripts I can see no way to get the app to open to its home / landing page.
Response: That’s not a problem… that’s the app. This is the “Home” screen if you will. The My Scripts view is where you navigate to all of your scripts once you have them composed or imported.
Solution: You’ll see the “Tap + to add a script” prompt in the middle.
I hope that helps.
Again this is a fairly comprehensive response, with extra clarification and a clear solution to their confusion… Tap the “+” button!
But again there appears to be a problem understanding very basic and clear instructions, as I receive another reply:
I’ve had to send a stream of emails to you this morning about the lack of user friendliness of your product.
Now I’m not a gibbering imbecile, nor am I a studio technician. I am perhaps a new type of customer: someone who has always been on the other side and is using your product to run production.
If you can envisage this, and then you read my emails, perhaps you will begin to see that I have asked reasonable and intelligent questions, and if you cannot answer them in ways that are useful to me as a customer, you have opened an area that needs to be addressed.
Right now I’m really frustrated and would appreciate some considered assistance.
Here’s a list of just some of the reasons why this reply frustrates me so much:
- “had to send a stream of emails”… That being one support ticket, and one rude reply… Which he didn’t ‘have to’ send.
- “lack of user friendliness of your product”… There is only one button to tap, and a prompt in the very middle of the screen telling you to tap it.
- “I’m not a gibbering imbecile”… Hmmm.
- “I am perhaps a new type of customer”… What he describes is my primary type of customer.
- “I have asked reasonable and intelligent questions”… Again, Hmmm.
- “cannot answer them in ways that are useful to me as a customer”… I feel like a very simple explanation of the solution is quite useful.
I really struggle to reply to a response like this, I could happily write several paragraphs explaining exactly how he is wrong about each of his points. What makes it more difficult is that he’s failed to understand my very simple solution… How else do I say “Tap the ‘+’ button”?
I won’t even go into how irritating it was that he raised a new support ticket for each of his replies, or how he was using the return key at the end of lines on his screen making his replies awfully formatted when I receive them.
I attempted to explain how to tap the ‘+’ button in my final reply:
To get started with the app, tap the “+” button at the top right… You’ll then be presented with a simple choice of options to create or import a script.
Do let me know if there’s any other functions you need assistance with.
The strangest part was his final reply to me (again raised as a new ticket and irritatingly formatted):
Thanks for the emails. I am travelling this afternoon, will review and get back to you.
The whole exchange left me completely baffled, and I pondered how somebody could get so confused at something so basic. Why was my final “Tap the ‘+’ button” explanation so much better than the first two? How did he even search the App Store and install my app?
Normally I’d conclude that the particular user must just have difficulty in grasping new things, or difficulty if what they imagined in their head isn’t what they see in front of them (especially if what they imagined was totally crazy).
But I can see from this guy’s email signature, that he’s authored 17 books and been an N.Y. Times bestseller.
Today I received another response. It turns out I perhaps didn’t explain clearly enough:
Your app is unusable unless you are already a studio tech and have a basic understanding of the technology. your customer support worse and your arrogance concerning customer needs astounding. I have put it in the trash and will look for a professionally produced product.
Enjoy my ten dollars and think about the money you won’t be receiving from others because of your myopia.
Again, I really struggle to understand how tapping the ‘+’ button requires a studio technician or specialist knowledge. Just for clarity… Here’s the flow of the app to create a script:
Open the app > Tap the ‘+’ button > Type a script > Tap ‘Save’ > Tap the script to open it
Many thousands of people use Teleprompter Premium every day without specialist knowledge, from school children (actually a big market) to church ministers to musicians and Youtubers.
Ultimately I have to accept that this person isn’t my customer, he was apparently expecting something completely different, or perhaps something that was going to complete the entire process on his behalf.