Comments tab redesign and Author Response Time

As part of the ongoing Item Support project we’re looking to improve the support experience for buyers and authors. This includes reducing confusion around where to go for support and who to go to for support, as well as setting expectations around what support is offered and the time it is likely to take to get a response from the author.

Continuing on from the Support tab redesign launch last week we’re today launching a redesigned Comments tab and a new feature called Author Response Time.

Comments tab redesign

For the Comments tab, we simplified the UI and added the author summary header (from the Support tab) so that:

  • all buyers can easily identify if the item is supported/not;
  • buyers who have purchased an item are informed if the author is on vacation; and
  • buyers who have purchased an item are directed to the support tab (if comments are not the author’s support preference).

Comments tab - redirecting to support tab

Author Response Time

Setting expectations with buyers is not a new thing for authors but it’s also not necessarily clear to buyers before they purchase the item or before they submit a support request – the two places it’s most important. A new feature called ‘Author Response Time’ aims to fix that problem by allowing authors who provide support for their items to set a response time. We hope this helps set better expectations for buyers, and decreases the dissatisfaction and subsequent poor ratings due to unreasonable expectations.

You can set/change your response time at any time from the ‘item support settings page’ in your account.


Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 8.18.31 pm

When set, the response time will be displayed in the author summary header on the Support and Comments tabs. If the author chooses not to specify a response time then the only piece of information available to buyers is the author’s support preference.

Comments tab - response time


Getting involved

While setting a response time is completely optional for authors, it’s a really valuable piece of information for buyers. If you’re comfortable with the options available then we highly recommend you make a selection. According to last years survey results (highlights below) the majority of authors are doing it anyway so asides from choosing a response time option, there really shouldn’t be much of a change:

  • ~77% of authors currently manage buyer expectations around response time; and
  • 87% (of the above authors) advise buyers that they will respond to support requests within three business days

The other hot tip we have for you is to reply to buyers as soon as you can. We hear time and time again from buyers that acknowledgement from an author is one of the most important ways to set expectations. You don’t need to solve their problem on the first response but it will reassure them their support request has been received, and it will be actioned shortly.

If you have any thoughts on the updated Comments tab or Author Response Time then we’d love to hear from you over on the forums.