5 Ways We’ve Improved Our Customer Support Experience

Here at New Relic Customer Success, we strive to provide world-class customer support for all of our users. Historically, to handle support requests we have leveraged a basic customer-facing interface, but we were looking for a better solution. So we brought together a diverse group of management, support engineers, developers, and designers to better understand what our customers were saying about this experience. Using our collective findings, we went on to design and build our very own New Relic support experience—which is now available at http://support.newrelic.com/.

Some of the features we wanted were:

  1. A tighter integration with our internal documentation, forum, and blog resources
  2. Display of our current status information from StatusPage.io
  3. More control over support request forms
  4. A simpler way for customers to find open requests
  5. A better login mechanism and fewer redirects

How we did it

Working closely with the design team, support engineers and managers sketched out new functionality and ways to make our landing page more enjoyable for customer interactions with Support. Our design team then set out to create a completely new experience.

When the wireframes were ready, software engineers on the Support Enablement team translated the new designs to a new Rails application. When we had questions about a design or user flow, the designers were only an email or HipChat away. This enabled many quick iterations between our engineering teams in Portland and the design teams in San Francisco.

The result was a brand new support experience designed to address our requirements and make it even easier for our customers to succeed with New Relic. In the hope that our experiences can be useful to your own development projects, we want to share some details about the processes and tools we used along the way.

support-chart-1-updated

1. Swiftype integration

Indexing multiple data sources to be easily searchable in an app can be a daunting task. Luckily for our development team in Support Enablement, we had a great resource already at our fingertips: Swiftype. Our marketing engineering team already had this search functionality working on newrelic.com, so it was just a matter of styling the results. Using a customRenderFunction on the jQuery Swiftype plugin helped this come together just as we envisioned, to let our app query data from our documentation and forums—as well as this blog—in an autocomplete type mechanism on a form field.

2. StatusPage.io integration

We also needed to add an effective way to show our customers the current state of the New Relic Platform. Submitting a support request only to realize there was already a published issue on our public status page was not an ideal experience for our customers (or our support engineers). We wanted to check all the components to our ever-growing analytics platform, and show any problematic areas in a way that helps customers find the answers they need.

Naturally, we decided to pull our current status via the StatusPage.io API, and then display the relevant results where everyone can see (logged in or not). We also decided on a compact view, and implemented some clever tricks like disabling all navigation links to third-party hosted services if this particular service were to ever go down. This functionality is intended to let anyone quickly check the latest status of New Relic and find answers to support questions.

3. A redesigned form

HelpRequest-1024x623-revised

The beta also includes several improvements to the process of submitting a ticket—the bread and butter of the support experience:

  • When you log in to New Relic and visit our beta support site, it fetches all of your current New Relic accounts. No more asking you to input this information in a clunky text field. This transforms a potentially confusing step on the ticket form into a simple selection element.
  • When customers enter their ticket’s description in the new form, the beta offers relevant Swiftype results based on the current input. This is designed to give our customers new ways to access information they may need right away, including results from our documentation, forum, and blog resources.
  • In the last part of the ticket form, the beta lets users easily add CC (or collaborators) and attachments. This was a common request from both customers and support engineers, and matches the functionality available through email interactions.

4. Highlighting open requests

Customers with an open ticket want to access it as quickly as possible, so we designed a mechanism to fast-track this interaction. In the beta, if you have one ticket waiting for your response, just click on the email icon in the global navigation to go directly to the request. If you have more than one ticket waiting on you, the email icon will show the number of open tickets—just click on the number to go to your Inbox, where tickets will be sorted to the top for easy access.

5. No more multiple logins 

Previously, being logged into New Relic RPM did not guarantee being logged in to the support page. By using New Relic’s existing native login service, the beta reduces the number of times you need to log in to get support.

We believe this beta represents real progress toward improving how customers interact with New Relic support, but as we move the beta toward general availability, we want to continue to improve the support experience for all customers. To help make that happen, please use this Support Center Feedback form to let us know about your recent support experiences and how we can make them better. Thanks!

Brian Collins is a software engineer and has been with New Relic since 2013. He spends his free time searching for records, hiking, and watching bad movies. View posts by .

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