Some people think that support is this giant black hole where you throw money to make sure customers don't hate you. That belief is why so many companies have such crappy support. They do the bare minimum to make sure their customers don't leave. I guess I understand this line of thinking but it rubs me the wrong way. While you can put in the bare minimum you could invest in your support and build resources and useful assets for future projects. With our upcoming WooCommerce 2.3 release we did just that.
WooCommerce 2.3 UI Refresh
One of the big features in WooCommerce 2.3 is a UI refresh. We've taken a lot of the little features we've added over the years and improved the layout so everything flows together better. A ton of work has gone into this release and we're confident that it's going to make your experience better using WooCommerce and the experience for all of your customers.
Unfortunately the downside of tweaking our layout is that any theme that customized WooCommerce templates will also have to update. This is actually one of the biggest downfalls of WooCommerce. By allowing themes to customize the HTML of our templates we may have given them too much power. There are themes out there that have customized every.single.file. It's ridiculous and that wasn't the intention.
We may have given theme developers too much power with the theme overrides but we're living with that decision. We've changed templates before and had a huge influx of support requests. So we knew we would have a ton of support if we changed them again without changing anything.
Change the Process
We've done two big things this time:
1) Documenting Changes
We've documented every single change in a post on our develop blog. This should give theme developers a list of files they should go through and update before the 2.3 update.
2) Reaching Out
We're reaching out directly to theme companies letting them know about the changes. And this is where we used some data from support to prevent future issues. Mike Krapf & Maria Scarpello dug into our support data and used the ticket information to compile a list of all of the themes that people have listed sorted by the number of times the theme is listed. Check it out:
Having a proactive helpful support team helped us generate a list of the themes that cause us the most support. As the WooCommerce Product Manager I took this data and reached out to all of the top 40 themes and sent them a link to post about the upcoming changes. This transition from WooCommerce 2.2 to 2.3 should hopefully go much smoother.
If you have a support team in your company treat them well! They can give you really useful statistics about what they're doing and you can use that to prevent hundreds of problems before they popup.
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