Handling customer support requests

Each business will face situations where customers have problems with its services. Especially when money is involved, customers will value immediate help. On this page, we will go through a few common customer support screnarios and discuss fraud protection.

This page explains several scenarios where technical and usage difficulties can lead to problems with bookings. To help your customers as quickly as possible, ask them to provide information to identify the booking:

  • Ask for the ticket code. Through the ticket code, you can immediately identify tickets and payments. Make sure that the alpha-numeric part of the code is correct.
  • If the customer cannot provide a ticket code, ask for information to identify the payment. This can be a transaction code which he can see in his payment account, or the last four digits of the credit card.
  • Also, it doesn’t hurt asking for the customer’s name as well as for the exact date and time of the booking. Keep in mind that the ticket timestamp may be a bit earlier than what the customer perceived as the booking time, because tickets are timestamped as soon as they are put into the cart.

Keep in mind that there are many people who are not very comfortable using computers, not to mention shopping online.

Read the “fraud protection” chapter below to learn how to deal with malvolent customers.

You must never ask for sensitive information such as full credit card numbers or passwords. Asking or even storing this information can put you in a lot of trouble with payment providers. And if the customer’s account is abused some day, they will remember that you had access to their account.

Common support screnarios

Customer cannot book due to browser errors

Problem: A customer wants to book a ticket, but “it won’t work”.

Explaination: The booking area is tested to work with 98 percent of all browsers currently in use. Some older browsers may expose slight visual glitches, but this doesn’t harm the general functionality. However, Tixys needs JavaScript and cookies to be activated for working properly – just like any other e-commerce application. Furthermore, browser plugins as well as some security products (“personal firewalls” etc.) are known to interfer with browser functionality.

Solution: Tell the user to install the latest version of his preferred browser. JavaScript must be active, cookies must be allowed. If a security application is active, the user could try to deactivate it temporarily to see if it causes the problem.

Ticket cancellation

Problem: A customer calls or sends an e-mail because he wants to cancel a previously booked and paid ticket.

Solution: This is a very common situation, and it depends on your company’s policies how you will handle it. In any case, we recommend to publish general rules regarding ticket cancellation, so that your customer support handles such cases consistently. Hint: You could consider issuing vouchers instead of refunding payments.

Payment takes very long and/or shows a blank screen

Problem: The customer has aborted the payment process because it took very long and/or a blank page was shown.

Explaination: Processing payments can take several minutes if the PSP’s payment gateways are under high load. Some customers tend to abort payments or click the browser’s “back” button in these cases, despite the explicit warning on the Tixys checkout page. But if the payment process is stopped, it may happen that the payment amount has already been drawn from the customer’s account, while the Tixys system has not been notified yet. This is, of course, very unpleasant for the customer as well as the operator.

Solution: First, you need to find out which payments have been made by the customer. Ask for a few details to identify the payment. Especially the date/time of payment and the payment method will be helpful. When you have found the payment, but no associated ticket, you can either issue a refund or create a new ticket for the customer and send it by e-mail.

Customer sees “strange pages” during the payment

Problem: The customer tries to make a payment, but he encounters seemingly suspicious pages, sometimes asking for sensitive information.

Explaination: During the payment process, the user is being redirected to the server of the PSP. Depending on the payment method, the server may require some kind of additional interaction, for example PayPal requires the user to log in and confirm the payment. If your PSP uses 3-D secure for credit card payments, the payment process will be interupted with a window asking to enter the 3-D secure password – but many customers don’t even know what that is. Sometimes payment gateways display empty or poorly designed placeholder pages while the payment is processed (see the “blank pages” chapter above).

Solution: Ask the customer to describe what has happened during the payment. If it’s the 3-D secure dialog, explain to them what 3-D secure is. If in doubt, tell the customer to refer to their bank or payment account provider.

Payment has failed due to invalid account information

Problem: The customer tries to make a payment, but the account information is not accepted by the payment gateway.

Explaination: In most cases, there is a minor issue with the account details – for example a typo or an account that hasn’t been activated yet. In some cases, this is actual fraud, for example, somebody trying to buy tickets with a stolen credit card. Because failed payments present rather generic information to the customer, it is quite likely that he’ll call support if he doesn’t figure out the solution himself.

Solution: First, identify the payment and load the payment details. They will usually indicate if this appears to be a case of fraud or if it’s just a simple problem. If in doubt, contact the payment service provider, as discussed in the “fraud protection” section.

Customer added only one ticket to the cart – but suddenly, there are two tickets

Problem: The customer is sure to have put only one ticket into the cart. But during the payment, the amount is increased, and the customer is asked to pay for two tickets.

Explaination: This is a rather seldom case, but it can cause a lot of confusion: What happened here (most likely) is that the customer had opened the booking page in two separate browser windows. In one window, the customer was already on the checkout page, in the other window, the customer did something else in your shop, for example checked an alternative connection. If the customer accidentially creates a ticket for the alternative connection, the checkout page is not being notified (due to the way a browser works). However, the cart on the server is updated. If the customer now goes back to the first window and submits the payment information, the Tixys system will initiate the payment with the updated cart containing two tickets.

Solution: If you think that the request is legitimate (and you don’t suspect that the customer just wants to cancel an unwanted ticket), you can simply cancel the second ticket and issue a partial refund amounting to the ticket’s price.

Booking was successful, but customer didn’t receive an e-mail

Problem: The customer has successfully booked and paid a ticket, but the confirmation mail never arrives. Unfortunately, the customer forgot to download the ticket from the website at the end of the booking process.

Explaination: It may be that the customer had a typo in his/her e-mail address. Also, some mail providers like Google Mail and Microsoft Live are overzealous in filtering “unwanted” e-mails. This causes many legitimate e-mails to be either put into the recipient’s “spam” folder or to be rejected entirely. Unfortunately, there are no measures that could be taken against this. The large mail providers keep their algorithms and rules secret, and they are very reluctant when it comes to supporting third party mail services.

Solution: Tell the customer to check the spam folder of his/her mail software, or to wait a bit longer. If the e-mail has been put into the spam folder, tell the customer to whitelist e-mails from the mail.tixys.com server for future bookings. If the e-mail is lost, ask for the customer’s name and the date/time of booking, then select the ticket from the overview in the administration area, download it and send it to them manually.

Fraud protection

Although the vast majority of requests are legitimate, some customers are acting dishonestly or even maliciously.

  • Some customers invent technical difficulties to obtain an advantage, for example to have a ticket cancelled without cancellation fees.
  • Some customers even use stolen account data, such as credit card numbers, to book tickets.

How to handle such situations?

  • Never accuse a customer of fraud or dishonesty. It may turn out to be a harmless misunderstanding or usage problem. For example, a payment could fail due to a locked account, but actually it’s just that the credit card has expired.
  • If you think that a request is not legitimate, ask the customer to provide as many details about the booking process and ask them to describe the problems they had. Based on that information and your experience, you should be able to tell if the request is legitimate.
  • If you suspect that a certain transaction is fraudulent or if payment details indicate failure due to detected fraud, refer to the payment service provider. PSPs have specially trained staff to handle fraud and similar cases.