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Markdown and Customer Service Efficiency

urlAn effective customer support department needs to showcase utilize (and celebrate) proper formatting within customer communication. Where necessary, agents need to apply italics, boldness, links, paragraph breaks, and the occasional image to their customer correspondence, be it in email or a ticket. When used well, agents can properly emphasize important information within digestible chunks. After all, nobody likes to read a solid wall of text!

The problem falls in formatting.  Tools like Rich Text Editor or having to manually code HTML in a response can significantly slow down an agent’s response and quality rate. When you’re working a ticket queue of 100+ tickets or more, there isn’t any time to waste.  So the question is: how do you keep up the pace while also keeping a readable format?

unnamedThe answer is to use Markdown, a text syntax that converts simple symbols in-line with text into HTML code. Markdown was created by John Gruber and Aaron Swartz in 2004 to make writing documentation and correspondence faster and easier. Markdown is supported in many different writing software and social tools, including Tumblr, Wikipedia, and various customer support management platforms.

How it works is pretty simple. Take a piece of text you want to format, and place the corresponding symbols around the text and presto! An example would be placing underscores around a word to italicize it.

For example this _example_ becomes this example.

This syntax is easy to write in communication without pausing and makes providing that extra level of clarity to the customer just a little bit quicker. My favorite application of Markdown is for linking. A link in markdown is formatted with brackets surrounding the word you’d like to link, and then in parenthesis next to it, the page you’d like the link to go to. For example, if you wanted to refer a customer to google, you might want to tell them to go to this page [link it instead of typing out http://google.com]. Some links are just not pretty, and are paragraphs long.

Another benefits of Markdown is that it automatically detects paragraph breaks and lists. Creating an ordered list is as easy as adding some numbers next to each point on the list, and an unordered list is as easy as using an asterisk next to each point.

* I like to use unordered lists myself.
* They’re a great way to divide troubleshooting questions up for your customers.
* And Markdown makes them easier to create. Using this example, Markdown would create these asterisks into bullets.

Becomes:

  • I like to use unordered lists myself.
  • They’re a great way to divide troubleshooting questions up for your customers.
  • And Markdown makes them easier to create. Using this example, Markdown would create these asterisks into bullets.

I highly recommend taking the time to learn Markdown to save yourself some time in the future. You can learn more about markdown by clicking this link (See? I’ve saved you the exhaustion of looking at a rather unclear link).

Need some additional help finding efficiency and charm for your customer support? Let us know! We’d love to help you!

Andrew Monk
Customer Support Mod

 

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Talk Back

Sheri Lavelle
Posted on April 7, 2014

Thanks Andrew! I am going to check into this.

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