November has been a truly exciting month with the launch of our Fall Collection. It reminded our whole team how lucky we are to be in the wedding photography business for as long as we have been, providing digital solutions and functional design to thousands of creatives. When we started Flothemes, we were not prepared for the overwhelming number of people who wanted a design forward WordPress theme for their business. The response we got from clients was a surprise and truly empowering.
In the following years we have grown our development and service teams, marketing and social media teams. Our value proposition was and remains premium designs, which we offer for a one time payment, with free updates, free plugins and integrations, and free support. The truth is: this year we have been working on optimizing and staffing for the hardest role in our team – support. Our clients are hard working creatives who expect a beautiful site and while we cannot make WordPress always do what we would love it to, we try our best with our themes and through our core framework.
Support has always had ups and downs, though as a brand we have always prided ourselves on doing our best to assist customers with ongoing free technical assistance. Meanwhile, we have observed how small businesses with similar models as ours, hardly survive due to the financial difficulties and sustainability challenges. Those that did survive, chose to switch to subscription to ensure an operating support team and budget for reinvestment into product innovation & development.
We’ve discussed the idea of subscription multiple times within our team, as well as addressed it inside our community group several times (1, 2, 3), but we continued to stay a one time payment model. The reason being is that we recognize the subscription oversaturation and a sense of loss of financial control, when every service you use as a business and as an individual, is on subscription. Though we are looking into best ways how to bring subscription as an alternative for new users on-boarding, there will always be a one-time payment option with our themes. We owe it to the thousands of clients that we are currently serving.
Support Challenges that we are Facing Today
As any business, we face obstacles related to our product, which we try to foresee and optimize so it does not affect our users.
Today we are faced with a challenge between providing free support and better quality support for our products. In the last years our support team has covered for free theme customization requests and support issues related to third party products: WordPress issues, hosting & CDN issues, plugins, browser issues, etc. Although our team is happy to help, we have found ourselves falling short on supporting our themes and plugins, since we required investigation time when it came to third party issues and development time when it came to customizations. This not only affected our support reply times, but also left clients unsatisfied still wanting custom solutions with expectations for us to solve or provide simply based on their theme purchase from us.
We appreciate everyone’s feedback provided inside our community group, which has determined us to work harder on support improvements. As a result, we are rolling out several changes to our support terms in an effort to achieve the following goals:
- improved support experience with our team
- filtering tickets based on issues to improve solution times, and prioritize urgent matters, such as website being down (you’ve probably noticed that already with our new Ticketing Form)
- addressing expectations through clearly communicated support limitations and coverage
- more accurate and searchable documentation and knowledge base: FAQs for common issues, how to articles, and technical articles.
- recruiting more specialists to our team in different time zones.
New Support Terms & What to expect:
- We’ve reworked our Ticketing system, added some Conditional logic to offer you solutions and tutorial suggestions as you answer questions inside the ticket form. See it here.
- When you purchase a theme, you agree to get it as it is (as seen in the demo site). Thus, any changes that require custom coding (including Css), configuring third party plugins (i.e.language plugins), sliders, integrations will be covered additionally.
- Limited 3rd party conflict coverage. This does not include: plugins issue, hosting issue, email issues.
- We aim to educate our clients more, help them learn and get comfortable with using their website, personalizing it and editing it. Our FAQ page and docs.flothemes.com platform are always there to guide you every step of the way. These are continuously updated in order to provide you with fast solutions to frequent issues, rather than always relying on tickets and losing time on waiting.
- Each month you have a limit of 15 tickets/per license that you’re allowed to submit. If you exceed this amount, you will be asked to pay for support.
- Each Theme Purchase will provide 1 year of free technical support — This will be implemented starting January 2020. All Existing clients will be served till end of 2020. (except: Legacy users, who can always reach out to us to get an upgrade discount for a newer theme)
- Legacy themes aren’t supported (Legacy themes are all themes released before Jan 2017 and are not available on our shop page flothemes.com/themes. If you are not sure if your theme is a Legacy one, check our docs.flothemes.com for classification). Since our Legacy themes have been built 3+ years ago, some of that technology does not support current versions of PHP, WordPress and plugins. That’s why we’ve rebuilt new themes from the ground up, and offer reduced upgrade options to our Legacy users, so they can benefit from more flexibility and customization options as technology evolves.
- Priority will be given to tickets with issues related to our plugins & themes to assure a better experience with our products. Emergency cases (like websites down) will be prioritized 24/7.
- Only the last 2 browser versions will be supported fully
- Localhost will not be supported
- 24/7 coverage on weekdays. Only priority issues during weekends (i.e website down)
- SEO and site speed optimization requests do not count as support, please check this article on SEO tips for photographers and this page for our Site Speed Optimization service.
The above are the most important changes to our support system moving forward. To ensure we are able to assist you fully and in a timely manner there are several recommendations to follow whenever you submit a ticket:
- If you’re facing an issue with a certain Flo product (theme or plugin), before submitting a ticket please make sure that the plugin or theme is up to date. Afterwards, clear your site and browser cache. If you’re still facing the same issue after the 2 steps described before – proceed to submitting a ticket.
- If you submit a ticket and don’t receive an email with a ticket number, please resubmit. If it’s still not working, contact us directly via email or Live Chat.
- If you don’t get a response to your ticket within 48hrs, please follow up with us via Live Chat, to make sure that our reply didn’t end up in your Spam box.
Our support team is made out of extremely kind, patient and enthusiastic people, who are passionate about helping. We realize that having issues with your website can be frustrating, when you don’t know how to fix them and have to wait to get help. Needless to say, being polite goes a long way. We are working with hundreds of tickets daily and always try to do our best and assist each single client with any questions or problems they are facing. Hence, we appreciate your patience and understanding, as well as we are open to any feedback you might have to improve our process. If you feel that you’ve been helped and assisted, we appreciate a kind word and shout out. It makes a huge difference to our support gurus, who are not as visible online in our blogposts and community chats, while fulfilling one of the most difficult jobs in our team.
Thank you for the trust in our team and for the support you are showing by choosing our themes to showcase your business online. As 2019 comes to an end we are excited for 2020 where we plan to continue to improve our products and grow our teams to best serve you!