Question about Instant Messaging

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Safenude calling I've got 67 solutions pending a rating from customers. What do I need to do to "nudge" them to rate? Or, do I just wait? By the way, my Pal Talk I.D. is Thanks for your help...

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A good average of Rankings (votes) to Solutions (answers) is 25 to 35 when you are getting your feet wet at FixYa. You seem to be about average for a new expert online. I was the same. Dan (Abrsrvcs) pointed out in a thread when I was early on here that we can spend a lot of time providing really well constructed, explanatory and instructive answers that have an underlying educational element and never get a vote but they will average out in the long run to increase with the new expert as you become accustomed to what it takes to land a response. It is a bit like fishing.

I just looked at your votes to solutions and your doing average so far. It can take quite a while before you get a response and even a vote. Often its just a vote and no response. You won't end up with a clue as to what you said that helped them. That is the luck of the draw.

What you could do is start to develop a method of "Follow Up" that will not offend anyone and get you an IA or a TFT, but at the least a Helpful. If they still have a problem and you can engage them in conversation, that will often get the customer more 'invested' in their post here, than they are by: driving-by and posting a question. They are invested enough to construct a profile and ask a question. We all would like to imagine that that's enough of an investment to respond to their email that you've posted as a solution. Well, some things happen that dissuades them from investing anymore time in the original post.

Often, they sign up, create a profile, ask a question and then minutes to an hour later figure it out on their own. Or, talk about it to a friend, neighbor, coworker or relative to find there is a local Guru who can help and does help to the point that the problem gets resolved without any further help from us. This scenario is really common and will account for roughly 45-50% of all you unanswered solutions.

Then, what does work? That's your question, what to do next. It does require an understanding of the person on the other side of the sales counter to effectively encourage a response. When a person comes here, to begin with, they are often at their wits end with a problem and very frustrated.

The trick then, is to spot the type of Asker based on the question and what they've put into their profile. So, when looking at a question in your area of experience and the question is well formed and looks like they were sober when asking it, I often click on their board name and visit their profile page. More often than not, its a barren page, less often they've put a lot of information on the profile page. Sometimes they are a returning customer. So, not only are you looking at a well constructed informative question, but also a person who has invested a good deal of time telling us about themselves. This makes for a good client to work with. And, the chances increase that they will work with you. Then, once again, you have to keep in mind that you want to "harvest" a FixYa, not at all costs, but earn the vote.

So when you've found a good candidate for a question you can answer with authority, clarity, informative and educationally. Your chances are good, and you'll have to forgive this analogy, land a fish. It is a bit like fishing for votes. But, its not about the Votes, its about helping people and the old adage that you can lead a horse to water... etc. holds true here as well. You can give them the best answer ever seen on FixYa but if they can't use it, don't want it or have no need of an answer any longer, they don't bite and you're still left with an answered solution on your books.

Most of us, judiciously use the Clarification Request to see if they're biting today. Its not a real waste of time on our part, but remember these people are often upset and frustrated when they come here; this is even more so if they have paid money to boot.

I noticed you have used the Clarification Request already but try not to let it become a crutch to lean on in fear of a bad response, all the time.

Now, to answer your question more directly. I do practice the "Art of The Follow Up" request. These questions are rather simple to construct and most of us just say: "Do you still require assistance?" And we leave it at that. This generates an email to the client that come into their inbox with a subject line: There's a new comment for the problem you posted at FixYa, or words to that affect, in the body of the email is a link that will bring them to the original post where they can read the comment. It is really easy for them, if they've followed the link, and haven't deleted the email, to write a one liner. Do they?, not all that often. I think they usually have abandoned the effort and delete the email or if they come to your comment have something negative to say. This is another area you have to be quite careful about: how you handle the customer.

Once they respond to your follow up, they are asked by a pop up to rate your response to them... again. If they are unhappy for one reason or another, or are just having a bad day, or have fixed the problem themselves and your answer wasn't *the answer* they will vote alright and give you a harmful vote. Often just for being 'late' in response they give out IAs and if you were close but didn't have *the answer*, as they see it, you get a TFT. IAs and TFTs take your ranking down. Helpfuls are neutral or up votes depending on your average and FixYas always bring your ranking up; but by how much depends on your spread. The spread being the relationship of IAs and TFTs, to Helpfuls and FixYas. Ideally you will want Helpfuls and FixYas to outweigh IAs and TFTs by three to one.

So, my philosophy on this is to analyze who the asker is and what state of mind they're in and make a decision to invest my time or not and if I am willing to but want to sound them out first and see if they're talkative, I ask a simple Clarification Request that is often the answer itself but will get them back hopefully and into a dialogue with me. Then I can post "Glad to Help" and mark that as a Solution. Then when they are prompted to vote they will take time to vote a Helpful or FixYa.

When the solution is an answer to a question and we didn't fix anything, they will rank you as Helpful. At this point I write another comment reasoning with them carefully to understand that an answer that satisfies them is considered a FixYa here and that this rank, a FixYa vote, is how we are rewarded when working in the Free Forum and not only the question that pay money. This is not a fib or a half truth, it is fact and a gentle reminder they juts got something for nothing. They will often bump up the ranking vote to a FixYa at that point. And, there are times they, now feeling a bit guilty for getting some thing for free, will respond by saying, "I can change my vote?" or "I didn't think I could change the vote. How do I do that?" Just so you know, they can click on a different rank then the one already in existence and some guidance and encouragement from you will make it so.

So, then, what do you do with these un-responded solutions? It's up to you "In Your Judgment" what ones to follow up on. Cherry pick these customers to whom you are risking getting a bad vote cast. Try to get them into a conversation in anyway you see fit, mostly its just: "Do you still need help?" or "Do you require further assistance?" you have to determine their state of mind and construct that single sentence follow up appropriately with the understanding they may return upset for being annoyed and down vote you, that is give out an IA or TFT rather than up vote you with a Helpful or a FixYa.

One last thing to be aware of, a long time ago there weren't these nag pop ups and emails asking the customer to vote and rank your solution. Today, this is the case, but many new experts ask for a FixYa or a Vote right off on the first reply, such as: "If this helps you please rate this FixYa." This is seen by us as begging. Its seen by the customer who's state of mind is still unknown as begging as well and can really backfire on you. They are going to be nagged by FixYa to vote on your solution anyway, don't make matters worse. As I stated, once they vote it is appropriate, but still risky, to plead with them. Never say, "After everything I did to help you M***** F***** why did you give me a *** **** IA! .... That will get you nowhere fast. You can state, "I'm sorry but would you help me understand how I failed you so I can improve myself?" Or, "Would you let me know what it was that was helpful and what solved your problem for my notes? Thanks." Just think positive and try to impart some positive energy.

One last thing, don't wait until the problem and your solution has gone stale, inquire with a follow up while its still fresh but not bordering on harassment. You have to use your best judgment.

There are a lot of TFTs I wish I had handled differently, now, then when I first started here. We don't get do-overs very often so when you do get a do-over consider yourself lucky and treat the customer like a friend.

FixYa has no hard fast rule that requires you to do any follow ups. That is up to you and we all have our methods but the successful experts with a few hundred votes will have more in common with one another than you the new guy at FixYa. Expect to make mistakes and get TFTs you wish you hadn't and when you get an IA you can ask for a review. Don't click on the report abuse button, just email our Community Manager and ask for a review. Our CM, whomever it happens to be at the time, will be judicious and remove IAs that weren't justified but will not remove them if you earned it.


Posted on Jan 29, 2009

  • Glenn Rogers
    Glenn Rogers Jan 31, 2009

    When you asked me before about vendors on the right hand side and any obligation we have to them. I was actually thinking of the Google Textual ads, but noticed that the upgrades on the site now have Our Repair Listings in the right column now too.

    If you run a small business in this field and are licensed in your community you can create and add a repair listing too. So, yes when we have a customer who actually needs a tech to assist them have them use the Repair listings starting off our home page and they only have to insert their area code. They will get a return of experts who have been listed here and created a profile.

    You may want to experiment by inserting your own zip code and see what the results are. And, you could give some consideration for creating your own listing. The rule that you have to be a licensed business in your community is not hard and fast but is self policing and on the honor system.

    Let me know if I confused you or not.



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