All Things Upwork

Who do we call for help whenever there are problems with payments and withdrawals? Who do we send our bug reports when something strange happens to the oDesk Team 3? Who saves the day when the oDesk site bogs down or when an employer or contractor violates a user policy? oDesk Customer Support, of course.

These guys are the people who answer our questions, mediate disputes, and ensure that our user experience with oDesk is always 100% smooth and easy. Call them the oDesk Supermen, if you’d like.

Unfortunately, we users tend to forget that oDesk Customer Support is still a team of people, humans who can only go as far as answering tickets and handling live chat sessions everyday. A slight delay in response or a vague answer can spark a nasty remark or a day-long rant over at the forums, but I think we can be more constructive in our approach as customers.

Let’s help oDesk Customer Support help us. After interviewing members of oDesk Customer Service and Support, we’ve managed to get a clearer perspective of how the CS team works to better understand and help them resolve issues and problems on the site.

The most common issues reported to oDesk CS

So far the most common issues users report to CS include:

  • Account/registration requests (closure and suspension)
  • Payment inquiries (payment disputes, cancellation, returning funds to credit card, not receiving funds after withdrawal)
  • Problems when hiring contractors (in the case of employers — apparently there are contractors who still scam employers and disappear out of sight)

The good news is that we users take full advantage of the resources oDesk’s customer support has already put out there for us. It seems 75% of the issues reported are unique cases, with only 25% already addressed in the oDesk Help Center — this means most of us are reading through common issues before hitting the panic button.

Some issues that need direct assistance from a CS representative

If you encounter a technical problem that can’t be solved through the oDesk Help Center, want to close your oDesk account permanently, or have issues regarding security (security answer resets, etc.), contact oDesk Customer Support. Period.

These are the kinds of user issues and requests that only the CS team can help you with. You’ll save more time and energy if you let them handle these types of problems.

Files/data users should provide when seeking help from oDesk Customer Support

To speed up the process of analyzing and processing reports and issues on oDesk, have these types of files or data on hand:

  • Tech issues: Team logs, OS specifications, and browser information
  • Work-related issues: information/proof/documentation that could assist oDesk CS in analyzing the problem (contract ID, transaction date and amount for payments, emails, messages, screenshots, etc.)

I personally encourage fellow oDesk users to save messages, IM archives, possible screenshots, and emails from the start of the contract up to the end. All these can act as proof of your claims just in case something goes wrong and you find yourself in a dispute with your client/contractor.

Factors to consider when reporting an issue to oDesk Customer Support

As much as the CS team would like to completely solve your problems on the site immediately, you have to consider certain factors.

For instance, the amount of time an issue will take to be resolved would depend on who’s available and in charge of handling it. Is your issue more likely to be handled by someone outside of the general CSS department? Did you report the problem during a holiday or on the weekend when some of the departments are not available?

Instead of stressing too much over the wait, just be patient and occupy yourself with work. If you really need to get in touch with a representative, you can use the Live Chat feature if it is available.

Tickets or Live Chat?

We’re given the choice to either use the ticketing system or the live chat when contacting oDesk CS. Although they’re both good communication lines, one can be more useful than the other depending on the issue at hand.

Tickets are best for:

  • oDesk Team 3 issues in which logs must be submitted
  • Request for a security Q&A reset
  • Account closure
  • Issues involving sensitive/private information

Live chat is best for:

  • Guidance and best practices
  • Level 1 tech support issues
  • Problems with withdrawals

Tips from the oDesk Customer Support Team

If we expect oDesk Customer Support to provide the best help possible for all of our issues (and on a timely manner), what should we do to help them facilitate our requests quickly and successfully? Here are a few helpful and specific tips:

  • Be aware of any system or network-wide issues. Check the ‘Alert’ area at the top of the Help Center homepage.
  • Consult relevant Help Center articles for guidance before contacting CSS.
  • Proactively provide information upfront that will be useful to CSS in resolving the issue.
  • Summarize the ‘question’ (subject) of the issue as clearly as possible (while still being brief) when prompted to do so in ticket creation.
  • Be as descriptive and clear as possible when explaining the issue in the ticket.
  • Use the English language, if at all possible.
  • Ensure that the severity selected clearly represents the urgency of your issue.
  • Refrain from creating duplicate tickets.

As an oDesk user, what are your opinions and experiences with the oDesk Customer Service and Support team so far? What other tips and suggestions can you provide that could help facilitate problems and issues on the site better?

Stephanie Gonzaga

Freelancer, Blogger, and Creative Writer

Stephanie Gonzaga is a freelancer and blogger of The Freelance Pinoy, a freelancing blog for the Pinoy solo professional.