How I’m Approaching Siren’s Support

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Support is one of those things I recognize is as-important as the actual software itself. In my experience, I've found that the companies that I remember and love are almost always because at some point they've given me great support. I've even worked with software that is less than stellar, but still choose it over other options simply because I know that I'll get direct, and fantastic support.

For me, great support comes from two key things:

  1. Companionship in Support: I like to feel like someone is "there with me." Knowing that I have a companion who's there to help on the fly as I am working on something, almost like they're in the room with me.
  2. Avoiding Barriers and Delays: I dislike the barriers and slowness that come with submitting a support ticket and waiting for a response. I will usually just try to find the answer myself, even if that takes longer.

As a software developer, I tend to choose software written by people I know personally because it almost always means I can get this level of support. Somewhere, in some Slack community, I can just shoot the person a DM, asking for help directly. I like that, and value it enough that it has a profound impact on what software I choose. I actually think it's one of the biggest quiet perks of being a developer - you usually have a way to avoid submitting a support ticket.

Personally, when I have a question, I want it answered right away, and I don't want to wait an indeterminate amount of time for the answer. I'm probably in the middle of doing something, and stopping will really disrupt me. I don't think I'm alone with this sentiment.

Siren's Kinda Fancy

I'm just gonna say it. Siren is kinda fancy. And because of that, I have a few key support challenges:

  1. It's really powerful, and with that power comes some extra complexity.
  2. It's loaded with novel concepts nobody's ever seen before.
  3. It may feel overwhelming to someone just getting started.
  4. It may not be instantly obvious how to best use the software.

And because of those factors, I've realized that even though I've written thorough documentation, there's a really good chance that people are going to feel lost, or overwhelmed when they start using the software. That's because most people just want to know how the software can solve the problem for them, and no amount of documentation can make that obvious right off the get-go.

After all, a person selling an expensive thing will have a completely different set of programs than someone simply selling iPhone cases. And that just talks about the obvious use-cases for Siren, since we've barely even scratched the surface on the different ways this tool will work in the future.

I Hate Onboarding Flows

Most companies help with this overwhelm by slapping an onboarding wizard onto their plugin and calling it a day, or they do that stupid thing where the system overtakes your interface and tries to guide you through how to use it? Ugh, I hate all of that crap. It just irritates me, and disrupts my flow.

In-fact, I'd go as far as to say I've never once used one. I always exit them, skip them, or blow past them. And oh my GOD do I hate it when they are persistent. Get the hell away from me, you're driving me insane (looking at you HubSpot.)

What I want is to discover the platform on my own, at my own pace, and have a way to quickly shoot a message to someone if I don't understand what I'm looking at. I want a quick answer, and to also receive a link to some relevant documentation, and then to be able to carry on. Ideally, I don't even want to leave the interface to do it.

I know this isn't for everyone, and...I guess some people actually like onboarding flows (do they)?

How This Shapes My Support Setup

So, from all of this, I realized that what I wanted for Siren's support was to give people the support experience that I personally seek out when I choose software from people I know. I want people to feel like they have access to me, or at the very least someone. That meant a few things:

  1. A chat support directly in the WordPress dashboard.
  2. Chat support on the website
  3. A way to instantly get a response at any point (even if that means AI takes the first stab at it)
  4. Fallback to a good ol' fashioned email ticketing system.

So, that's basically what I did. I ended up going with Crisp because it has all of these capabilities, and a few other ones that I think will be really useful in some cases, like screensharing and video calls.

Enabled Directly In WordPress

I've been around the WordPress space long enough to know that anytime you do anything that can potentially "phone home" in WordPress, everyone gets itchy, and rightfully so. After all, the promise with WordPress is that the dashboard belongs to you, and you should be able to turn off anything you want, and have the transparency to know what's happening when you activate something. It's about trust, and I'm here for it.

So I decided that I'm going to make it so that the chat box can be optionally enabled directly in the WordPress dashboard. It's disabled by default, and is an opt-in feature. I think it's a much better experience to have the chat box enabled, and I know that it will result in me being able to help people a lot faster, but I also know that some people may not be comfortable with the script running in their dashboard no matter what I say, and that's alright!

Transparent AI First Support

The only way I can reliably ensure that someone can get the experience of asking "quick questions" at any time without me literally being plastered to a screen 24/7 is to use AI. Siren's just getting started and I can't exactly afford a support team to help, and honestly I'm not even convinced that I will need that. My hope is that I can train the AI on my documentation, and have it actually be really helpful.

Buuuut of course, this bot is still a bot, and they are prone to errors, so I have to be cautious. So, I'm doing a few things, and hope that it will be sufficient. First, and foremost, I make it clear right off the get-go that my support chats start with an AI. I gave her a name and a picture and everything, and give it a personalized message.

Hey there! I'm Melody, your friendly AI mermaiden helper. How can I help?

(PS: I'm new here, and occasionally get things wrong. Alex monitors my responses and will follow-up with any corrections)

Additionally, every message that is posted is going to be closely monitored by me, and any time AI gets it wrong, I will send them a message with corrections, and adjust the bot so that it will get the question right in the future. But after launch, I don't plan on letting it loose without monitoring the conversation very closely.

During key launches, I am not going to leave the AI on, and instead be present to answer questions and help as messages come in. I'll use this as an opportunity to test the questions people ask and really see how the AI would do with those questions, before making it the first thing people see. I think this will give me a chance to see the questions that people are asking around that launch, and make sure the AI is ready to help.


I feel like I'm experimenting with things that you don't really see in WordPress plugins. Between the chat-focused support, AI forward assistance, and offering the chat directly in the dashboard are all things that a lot of other plugins don't do. It's not clear if what I'm doing is opening myself up to a lot of headache, or if I'm setting up Siren's support system to be best-in-class, but I'm betting that it's going to be really great.