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NC for Hire

How Do You Deal With Support or General Questions?
I just added this to JenSocial, and usually like to space the two - - in regards to adding Tips. But, I thought this should be shared now.

When a member of your Social Network asks you a question, how do you handle your answer?

  • Do you answer them at all?
  • Do you answer them in a timely manner?
  • Do you think it through, before you answer?
  • And most importantly, if you do answer them, do you talk to them like they’re an idiot? Are you condescending or dismissive?

I ask a Support Question. I receive an answer. The Support Person assumes that I know nothing. From the overall "best practices" of a help desk, this is actually okay. Because it means the Support Person is covering all bases, regardless of the knowledge level of the person asking the question.

What’s not okay? And, this is a huge pet peeve of mine. If they answer you and make suggestions as if:

  • You should know the answer.
  • You shouldn't ask such a dumb question in the first place.
  • You don’t have a brain and never thought of their awesome suggestion.
  • You don’t know how to turn on a computer.
  • You are 10 years old.
  • Or the worst - - you're too old to breath their Technologically Enhanced Air. After all, they were conceived over a web-cam. This one is absurd, but so true. Some younger Support People assume everyone who asks a question, must be old and living in a cave. So, Help Desk Managers if you're reading this, watch for this issue.

Get the drift? When you answer a support question, stop and think before you hit the reply button.

Let’s give some examples:

Support Question:
My Profile Page is flickering, and I can’t do anything. What’s wrong?

WRONG Answer:  I could help you better if you had sent me a screen shot of your profile page. Let me show you how to do this. Here’s a link that will provide step-by-step instructions on how to capture a screen and save to an image file. Link provided here.

====== Your signature is also important! This example uses "Cheers". Excuse me? Cheers? Are we at a New Year's Eve Party? LOL, actually Cheers is great for more personal conversation. But not great for Support Desk dialogue. ======

Your Name
Title when appropriate

CORRECT Answer: I’m sorry to hear you are experiencing these issues. I could assist you better if I had a screen shot of your Profile Page. If you could, please send an image with a screen shot. Just in case you’ve never done this, here are the instructions. Link provided here.
Please let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to us reaching a resolution to your issue.

Best Regards,
(or Sincerely, Thank you, etc...)
Your Name
Title when appropriate

Get the idea?

  • You have answered your member’s question, or at least gotten the conversation moving towards a solution to the issue at hand.
  • You haven’t insulted their intelligence, just in case they know how to capture a screen.
  • And, they’ll feel you’re on top of things, and moving forward to help them with a resolution.
  • As part of this discussion, Jon Malmo brought up an excellent point, and I totally agree. I think in most cases, the person answering the question has no idea they have possibly insulted or seemed condescending to the person who asked. This is why we all need to stop and think, before clicking SEND.

I've actually used a "real" example I experienced, with the screen capture answer. My answer is sure not perfect, just an example. In fact, I can guarantee you, I have messed up more than once. Sometimes I receive so many questions, it can become overwhelming.

Couple of more thoughts... Since I can sure relate to this one. This is especially for Social Network Creators: I'm not suggesting you answer all questions. Sometimes it's simply not possible. And, I'm not suggesting you answer questions for free, that have nothing to do with your member's experience on your site. I'm just suggesting that when you are able to answer a question - - be professional, polite, and think it through, before clicking reply.

Join the Conversation: Please share your experiences and how you think your question should have been answered.

You need to be a member of Ning Creators Social Network to add comments!

Join Ning Creators Social Network

Votes: 0
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  • This reply was deleted.
    • NC for Hire
      Perfect John, LOL! I added your thoughts to the main discussion. ;-)
  • We respond:


    It looks like you've encountered the ID10T error, we are aware of this issue on the site. We hope the error will resolve itself soon.

    PL Team
    • NC for Hire
      Well goodness Robin. You were supposed to do something tacky, not nice. LOL! Thank you very much. You truly wouldn't believe what you've done/said here, did for my day - - made it!
      My Sincere Thanks,
    • NC for Hire
  • All our "HELP" links point to one place, we like to funnel users to single areas where they can then choose a path that will get them answers. Here is our flow:

    * User clicks any of our help links (navigation bar/footer/social bar)
    * User lands at our FAQ page and is presented with basic FAQs and additional options at the bottom of the page for reaching out to us:

    *Additional options: 1: Post your question in our Forums or 2: Submit a Form requesting help (Using Wufu).
    - Forum - User posts their question there and our users will typically jump in and help, we love this.
    - Form - Submitted forms get emailed to both of us, we then do 1 on 1 assistance.

    Our typical reply is straight to the point, little fluff, we offer a link to their answer or we make a new FAQ if it could be a common request then link them. If we cannot get to it right away we give them a timeframe, typically 24-48hrs if we have tons of stuff going on.

    Actual Reply:

    Hi and thank you for contacting us, you can change your profile photo at the following link:

    Step by step instructions could be found here:

    Please let us know if you need additional help.

    PL Team
    • NC for Hire
      Really excellent Help FAQ implementation, the best I've seen on a Ning Community. Wish I could say I'd done this well with a Help FAQ. Someday, hopefully...

      Great ideas, great input - - very impressive.

    • NC for Hire
      Hi Jaap,
      Bottom line, I had no intentions of insulting you or anyone outside of the US, or in the US for that matter. I won't get into a "what's right", and "what's wrong" with you. I'm certainly NOT always right, by far.

      I actually love the word "Cheers", and it's usage. I was simply saying that a Support Desk Team Member may not want to use the word in a serious setting, since it implies casual (to me). And most people in need of Support, do not want casual. Why? They want to feel that the Support person is taking their situation as serious as they feel it is.

      You bring up a good point, in that; maybe I should have spent more time explaining why I felt "Cheers" was too casual. But, again, maybe I'm wrong. I certainly have no problem listening to your view on this.

      I'm with John on your "unfortunate attitude" about Americans.

      Best Regards,
  • NC for Hire
    Wow, I'm the one who should feel insulted. You've managed to call me an idiot, a bigot, uneducated, unsophisticated, no imagination, close-minded, hold contempt for everyone outside of my own little World, and what else?

    I am extremely clear on how you feel about Americans as a whole, and about me. So, now that I'm clear, I won't waste any more of my time or yours, trying to convince you, otherwise.

  • NC for Hire
    So, are we on the same page now? Should I delete my comment where I state: "I'm the one who should feel insulted?" Because now after reading this, I feel like a butt for saying the other. Do you truly believe that I hold no "ill will" towards the word "Cheers"? I think it's a lovely word, period. I only meant it was too casual in that setting.
  • (Slaps a drink into Jen & Jaaps hands.) CHEERS!
This reply was deleted.

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