Magento Blog


Technical Support Tips: Filing Support Tickets

For Magento Enterprise Edition customers, having access to Magento technical support can alleviate a lot of holiday-related stress. Knowing how to best access Magento’s technical support team will help you expedite your support issues to resolution, and keep your store running smoothly throughout the holiday season.

How to Open a Support Ticket

1. Go to: http://support.magentocommerce.com

2. Log in and navigate to the Support page under My Account.

3. Click the “Open New Ticket” button at the top, on the right

1. Describe the issue you’re reporting and include any steps you’ve taken to troubleshoot on your own. Include details that will help Magento Technical Support experts understand the issue, such as the SKU number if a particular product is affected. When possible, provide numbered steps to reproduce the situation (screenshots are helpful, too).

2. Ensure Magento logging is enabled (sys > conf > dev > log settings page) and that enabled payment and shipping gateways are in “debug” mode.

3. Provide admin panel, SSH, and database access using the “Add Credentials” button. (Note: You can add these later by navigating to the ticket in your Magento account.)

4. Execute the backup.sh script and provide path to the generated files. If you do not have the backup.sh script, request it.

5. List any recently modified files or recently added extensions/customizations.

Download our Magento Enterprise Technical Support Guide to learn more best practices for maximizing the value of the Magento Support Team.

Have you checked your store against Magento’s Holiday Checklist? Click here to read our 12 tips for maximizing performance during the busiest shopping days of the year.

Magento Support: Unstoppable!

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Something remarkable has been happening in Magento's Support area. In the span of a few short months, the team has tripled its size, revamped its processes, and crushed their benchmarks for addressing customer issues quickly and effectively. We sat down with the head of Magento Support, Paul Wallace, to get the recipe for the Support team's secret sauce.

Baruch Toledano: Paul, it seems like each time we talk, you have some new data that quantifies the Support team's momentum. What do you have for us today?

Paul Wallace: Actually, I just compared some data from May 2011 with the same period last year. Thanks to the growth of our Enterprise Edition customer base, the number of support tickets is up 300% vs. a year ago.


BT: And how has your team dealt with this explosive growth in demand?

PW: My first answer to that is "incredibly well!" Even as demand for support services has surged, we have dramatically improved our performance across every key metric. For example, in just the past 5 months, we achieved a 40% reduction in average time to resolution, and a 90% increase in first call resolution for Enterprise Edition customers. Simply put, customers are getting their issues resolved in significantly less time, with almost twice as many of them resolving their issue on the very first call.


BT: Now that you've told us how well the team did, can you tell us how they did it?

PW: It's all about blocking and tackling. We have great people, we provide them with the right training, and we nurture a culture that's focused on doing the right thing for customers. It helps that we communicate effectively with our colleagues in product development, the Customer Success Group and Sales, and that we have metrics in place to help us continually evaluate our performance and aim higher.


BT: How did the introduction of Magento Go back in February impact Magento Support? Is it difficult for your team members to support two such distinct products as Magento Go and Magento Enterprise Edition?

PW: We have dedicated teams for each product, so our Support Specialists focus on one product or the other. Personally, I enjoy the fact that we get to work with such a broad range of businesses, from huge enterprises to sole proprietors. In terms of supporting Magento Go, we've gotten great feedback from merchants. Many of them are brand new to this space, and they are delighted by the simplicity of this solution, and the availability of support to help them get past any issues.


BT: Can you talk about the evolution of Magento's support for the Enterprise Edition?

PW: There's no question that the quality and consistency of our support efforts have evolved over time. This is still a very young company; the Enterprise Edition is barely 3 years old. By necessity, product development was our #1 focus as the platform first hit the market. As our sales started to take off, the organization had to play a bit of catch up when it came to support.


BT: So there were customers whose support needs weren't being adequately met.

PW: It's fair to say that initially, Magento wasn't as prepared to meet our all of our customers' support needs as well as we would have liked. It's not unusual for new software companies to play catch up when it comes to support. And given the explosive growth of our platform, we had a lot of catching up to do. So to answer your question, yes, we had some frustrated customers in those early days. But to their credit, Roy and the leadership team recognized the issue early on and took action.


BT: One of those actions was hiring you.

PW: Yes. And one of the things that drew me to the organization was their sense of clarity about what needed to be done. They had built this amazing platform, had attracted a world-class group of customers, partners and developers, and were committed to doing whatever was necessary to help the Support team meet the needs of customers. I made it clear during the interview process that significant investments would be needed in staffing and in systems. Their attitude was "draw up the plan and let's make it happen." They have been completely supportive of our team's growth.


BT: And, I imagine, thrilled with the results you've been producing.

PW: Let's just say we all agree that we're moving in the right direction. But we don't have time to pat ourselves on the back, because there's still so much to be done. Around here, positive results are just an incentive to keep pushing forward.


BT: And what are your plans for moving the Support team forward?

PW: Now that our support processes and systems are well established, our number one focus is staying ahead of the growth curve. We have enough experience to know how much staff we'll need to support the Sales team's growth forecast. So even though we've tripled the size of our support team in the past year, we're still not done building our team. We have a new hire starting this week, another starting next week, and four positions that we'll be filling in the weeks ahead.


BT: I understand that members of the Sales team have been dragging you into customer presentations lately. What's that about?

PW: A number of our sales people have seen the dramatic improvements that we've made in Support over the past year, and they want to make sure that prospective customers understand what we are able to offer them in terms of support. And I guess it's helping them close deals, or they wouldn't keep inviting me back into the calls!


BT: What message do you deliver in these conversations?

PW: Besides sharing some of the growth metrics I mentioned earlier, I talk about the evolution in the depth of our support. For example, a year ago, if a customer was having an issue with a 3rd party customization or extension, there wasn't much we could do for them. We simply weren't in a position to provide meaningful troubleshooting on their customizations. In an open-source environment, where the vast majority of customers are customizing their stores, that's not a customer-friendly stance, and it had to change. Today, we have the bandwidth and expertise to help customers pinpoint problems they may have with their customizations and extensions. By pinpointing the issues – sometimes down to the specific code snippet – we dramatically simplify the process of fixing the problem. Customers love this, because it takes the fear out of the customization process. And sales people love it because customers love it!


BT: Which leads to more customers and more work for the Support team.

PW: Hey, that's why we're here. I say bring it on!


BT: I'm sure we will. Paul, thanks again for sharing your insights on Magento Support.

PW: Always a pleasure!

Magento’s Expert Support Team is Online Even When You’re Not

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There will be no changes for Magento Customer Support coverage due to the Memorial Day holiday. Our support staff will be available as always to handle your requests for assistance.

Have a happy and safe holiday!

Magento Support - Our Quality Keeps Soaring

The Magento Customer Support Team is playing more of a major role in helping to win deals. We are very proud to play such an important role in the sales process.

I am often asked how we ensure customers will receive quality service. We have a vigorous quality assurance process in place to both maintain our SLAs and identify how we can improve our support. We monitor wait times for support case, the time it takes to reach first time resolutions and the number of tickets that are escalated to tier-two specialists. This close monitoring provides us with a broad view of our customer support performance.  We’ve synthesized the information we obtain from this process on our internal Support Wiki, and Knowledgebase.  The Wiki and Knowledgebase provide our agents with a searchable written resource that’s reliable and up-to-date. Additionally, customer surveys also play an important role, because they give our customers the opportunity to provide feedback on our support service.

Support Tip - Configuring Reward Points

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To learn the basics on configuring the reward points feature, please view this screen cast created by a member of the Magento team:

Please note that Reward Exchange Rates are required to be configured as well in order for the feature to work properly.

1. Go to Customers > Reward Exchange Rates
2. Specify an exchange rate by clicking on “Add New Rate” and make sure to choose the appropriate direction:

  • Currency/Points: the points that can be earned for a purchased amount
  • Points/Currency: the points required to make an equivalent purchase

Here’s to your success with Magento!

Paul Wallace

VP of Customer Support

USPS-API- Support Bulletin- Update 01/05/11

Update 01/05/11 7:22PM Community Edition

Instructions for download:

Community Edition version 1.4.2.0 (Stable):

Right Click on the following link and save file to your computer:

http://info.magento.com/rs/magentocommerce/images/MAGE-2009_ce1.4.2.0_v2.patch

  1. Please place the file on your Magento (root) directory via FTP and once there please log in to the server using shell (ssh) console.
  2. cd to the directory where the patch was placed and run the following command:
  3. command: patch -p0 < file_name.extension

    Please note that to have First Class methods enabled these will need to be added through System>Configuration>Sales>Shipping Methods> USPS> Allowed Methods.

    Update 01/05/11 5:26PM Professional Edition

    Hotfix is now ready for download for Professional versions 1.8.0.0

    Instructions for download:

    1. Go to your support account at support.varien.com, browse to the downloads section and under the Patches category you will be able to find the USPS API directory. Inside the patches for Professional version 1.8.0.0 will be available for download.

    2. Please place the file on your Magento (root) directory via FTP and once there please log in to the server using shell (ssh) console.
    3. cd to the directory where the patch was placed and run the following command:
    4. command: patch -p0 < file_name.extension

    Please note that to have First Class methods enabled these will need to be added through System>Configuration>Sales>Shipping Methods> USPS> Allowed Methods.

    Testing for the CE patch is underway and we should have an update on that soon.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Update 01/05/11 3:36PM Enterprise Edition

    The Hotfix is now ready for download for Enterprise versions 1.8.00, 1.9.0.0, 1.9.1.0, and 1.9.1.1

    Instructions for download:

    1. Go to your support account at support.varien.com, browse to the downloads section and under the Patches category you will be able to find the USPS API directory. Inside the patches for Enterprise versions 1.8.0.0, 1.9.0.0, 1.9.1.0 and 1.9.1.1 will be available for download.
    2. Please place the file on your Magento (root) directory via FTP and once there please log in to the server using shell (ssh) console.
    3. cd to the directory where the patch was placed and run the following command:
    4. Command: patch -p0 < file_name.extension

    Please note that to have First Class methods enabled these will need to be added through System>Configuration>Sales>Shipping Methods> USPS> Allowed Methods.

    Testing for the CE and PE patch are underway and we should have an update on that soon.

    Update 01/05/11

    The Patch for the USPS API Issue is currently undergoing QA and expected to be released this afternoon.

    Stay tuned to this blog for updates!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~

    On January 2, 2011, USPS updated domestic shipping services and international pricing and product features. These changes to their API have affected the live shipping rates in all our versions.

    We are currently working on a fix for this issue, and expect to have a patch ready by end of today.

    We will send out an update when the fix for this issue is available.

    Magento Customer Support

From the Support Team: Using Magento’s Import/Export Profile

This post is part of a series by the Magento Enterprise Edition subscription support team covering tips, tricks and hints to some of the most common, and uncommon, issues as submitted by support customers.

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Although it is fairly simple to do, many Magento users offer encounter difficulties when attempting to use the import functionality built in to Magento.  We see a fair number of inquiries about this here at the Magento Enterprise Support Desk, so we’ve decided to write a little tutorial to help you better understand and use Magento’s Import Profile.

First, let’s take a look at how to create an import file, which will include all the data we want to bring into Magento.  To get the correct fields and values, we recommend exporting a product, i.e. a simple product or configurable product, through the Admin.  This is done through ‘System -> Import/Export -> Profiles’

In the out-of-the-box Magento configuration, there are a couple of default “Export profiles” that you may use depending on which data you would like to export.  This depends on the data which you wish to export, and there are options for customers, products, stock, etc.  Running the profile will open a new window or tab which will show the progress of the export profile, as you can see in the example below:

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The export file is saved in the /var/export folder in your running Magento instance.  The screenshot below shows a sample of the export file created when running the “Export All Products” profile, filtering only the simple products:

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Click image for full-size

Now that you have a template to work with, edit the file and add the relevant information which you would like to import.

We now come to the most important part of the process which is often missed when saving the import file and causes many of the issues which are referred to us.

It is very important to note that the import file must be in UTF-8 encoding to ensure that the file can be read and processed by Magento. Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice Calc, Apple Numbers and GNU Iconv, amongst many other applications have the capabilities of encoding a file in this format.

In addition to that, the PHP memory limit must be set with a value that meets the Magento System Requirements.

Once you have completed updating the file and checked that the memory limit has met the system requirements, you may now run the import profile in the Admin back office under ‘System -> Import/Export -> Profiles’.

In this tutorial, we are going to use “Import All Products”.  First, we must upload the file and click “Save and Continue Editing” so that the file will be uploaded into folder /var/import in the server.  After saving, select the uploaded file from the dropdown list and run the profile as we see below:

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Click image for full-size

The screenshot below shows that we have successfully imported our data into Magento:

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From the Support Team: Multi-site Domain Name Setup

This post is part of a weekly series by the Magento Enterprise Edition subscription support team covering tips, tricks and hints to some of the most common, and uncommon, issues as submitted by support customers.

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One of Magento’s most superior strengths are its capabilities for scaling to support multi-store and multi-language retailing all from the same backend.  In this tutorial, we will be showing you how to take advantage of Magento’s scalability by creating multiple websites with unique domain names sharing the same product catalog. (***NOTE: Each store can also be configured to offer a unique product catalog as well.)

For this example, we’ll be attempting to set up domain1.com, domain2.com and domain3.com.

Generally, Magento is installed into the folder /var/www/http, as per the Magento Installation Guide, and you can find more information related to the initial setup and configuration of any Magento installation there.  We aren’t going to through an full blown installation right now though, and for our purposes, we are going to presume that the Magento instance has already been installed in the server.

We’ll be dividing the process into steps based on the areas of configuration we will need to deal with–namely, Categories, Store Configuration in Magento Admin, Store Configuration in the Server.

1: Categories

First, will need to create our Categories.  Since all three websites will be sharing the same catalog, we will be using the default root Category in Catalog -> Categories -> Manage Categories and will be creating our categories under that root category (i.e. Clothing, Electronics, etc.).

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These categories (Clothing, Electronics) should be set as both “Is Active” from the General Information tab and “Is Anchor” from the Display Settings tab for them to appear on the frontend of your Magento shop.  (***NOTE: If the websites will not be sharing the same catalog, a Root Category must be created for each website.  Thus, if there are 3 websites, there will be 3 Root Categories with subcategories under them.)

2: Store Configuration in the Magento Admin

1. Now that we have created our Categories, it’s time to create our websites by going to System -> Manage Stores and clicking the “Create Website” button.

  • Name – domain name of our new website
  • Code – a parameter that will be used in configuring the Apache web server to point to that particular domain name

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2. Once the website has been created, we’ll create the store corresponding to this website by clicking on the “Create Store” button in System -> Manage Stores.

  • Website – website to which this store will be associated
  • Name – the same as the website name
  • Root Category – the root category that will be used for this store. (Refer to Step 1 for Details)

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3. Then, we create the store view which is the interface that the customer will be able to access on the frontend.  Click the “Create Store View” button in System -> Manage Stores.

  • Store – store to which this view will be associated
  • Name – name of this store view (i.e. English Version, German Version, etc.)
  • Code – code for this store view
  • Status – if enabled, this store view will be accessible from our frontend, otherwise, it will not be accessible

  • image

    4. After the Store has been created, we need to configure the Unsecure Base URL and Secure Base URL under System -> Configuration -> General -> Web.  Before we set their respective base URLs, we first need to ensure that the configuration scope is set to the domain1.com website to define which site we are working on.

    image

    Then, we modify the base URLs for both Unsecure:

    image

    and Secure:

    image

    with the corresponding domain name by unchecking the ”Use default [STORE VIEW]” checkbox and then save the configuration.

    5. Now we just repeat Steps 2-4 for the other two websites, domain2.com and domain3.com by replacing the fields with their respective information.

    3: Store Configuration in the Server

    1. Now we re-configure the Apache configuration file, httpd.conf, for all domains to set the DocumentRoot to our Magento directory.  In this case, the directory is /var/www/http:

    <VirtualHost *:80>
        
    ServerAdmin webmaster@domain1.com
        DocumentRoot  
    /var/www/http
        ServerName domain0
    .com
    </VirtualHost>

    <
    VirtualHost *:80>
        
    ServerAdmin webmaster@domain2.com
        DocumentRoot  
    /var/www/http
        ServerName domain1
    .com
    </VirtualHost>

    <
    VirtualHost *:80>
        
    ServerAdmin webmaster@domain3.com
        DocumentRoot  
    /var/www/http
        ServerName domain2
    .com
    </VirtualHost>

    2. Edit the .htaccess file at /var/www/http/.htaccess and add the following lines below:

    SetEnvIf Host www\.domain1\.com MAGE_RUN_CODE=domain1_com
    SetEnvIf Host www\
    .domain1\.com MAGE_RUN_TYPE=website
    SetEnvIf Host 
    ^domain1\.com MAGE_RUN_CODE=domain1_com
    SetEnvIf Host 
    ^domain1\.com MAGE_RUN_TYPE=website

    SetEnvIf Host www\
    .domain2\.com MAGE_RUN_CODE=domain2_com
    SetEnvIf Host www\
    .domain2\.com MAGE_RUN_TYPE=website
    SetEnvIf Host 
    ^domain2\.com MAGE_RUN_CODE=domain2_com
    SetEnvIf Host 
    ^domain2\.com MAGE_RUN_TYPE=website

    SetEnvIf Host www\
    .domain3\.com MAGE_RUN_CODE=domain3_com
    SetEnvIf Host www\
    .domain3\.com MAGE_RUN_TYPE=website
    SetEnvIf Host 
    ^domain3\.com MAGE_RUN_CODE=domain3_com
    SetEnvIf Host 
    ^domain3\.com MAGE_RUN_TYPE=website

    3. Restart Apache Server

    If you are on a Red Hat based distribution, you’ll be able to type service apache restart.  For other distributions, you’ll want to type apachectl restart.  (***NOTE: The second option here is different than “apachectl graceful” which will run a graceful restart and reload configuration files, without terminating current connections.  We don’t have any visitors to our site yet, so it’s okay to do a “apachectl restart”.)

    4: We’re Ready to Go!

    After we’ve complete all of these steps we should now see all 3 domains in our backend:

    image

    All that’s left now is to add products to the catalog and give each site a custom theme if we wish to do so.  Many people are taking advantage of Magento’s powerful multi-store functionality, whether it’s to set up stores with multiple languages, different catalogs and even the same catalogs (as in our example) with different front ends as a marketing vehicle.  No matter which you decide to use Magento’s powerful features for, we hope this post will provide a good starting point to help you get there!

From the Support Team: Boosting Sales by Offering Free Shipping

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This post is part of a weekly series by the Magento Enterprise Edition subscription support team covering tips, tricks and hints to some of the most common, and uncommon, issues as submitted by support customers.

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Hey everybody, its me Tomas again!  Magento Enterprise Edition Version 1.7 was just released this week and with a some great new features aimed at enhancing the customer experience and increasing customer loyalty.  One great way to establish repeat customers and boost sales is to offer free shipping.  Hey, everyone loves free stuff! 

A common inquiry that we often receive here at the Magento support desk is how to configure Magento to offer free shipping to customers.  Right out-of-the-box, Magento has multiple ways to accomplish this depending on the factors you choose to offer free shipping.  Let’s run through some of the scenarios together and get a better understanding of how to configure Magento in each instance.

Scenario 1: Carrier Free Shipping with minimum order amount (without using a Shopping Cart Price Rule)

In this scenario, we’ll be offering free UPS Ground shipping for orders above $99.  To do this we need to go to System -> Configuration -> Sales -> Shipping Methods ->UPS, and we need to set the free method to ‘Ground’ and provide the minimum amount value.

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The screenshot below shows the UPS Ground shipping method is now free during shopping cart checkout.

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Scenario 2: Carrier Free Shipping with minimum order amount using a Shopping Cart Price Rule

In this scenario, we will be offering free UPS Ground shipping method for orders above $99 but through a Shopping Cart Price Rule.  Here however, we will be using a Coupon Code, set up through Promotions -> Shopping Cart Price Rules so that the free shipping will automatically apply if the conditions are met.

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Since our Shopping Cart Rule is not limited to any product attributes, we can either choose “For matching items only” or “For shipment with matching items” in the Shopping Cart Price Rule Actions as Free Shipping option.

Lastly, in System -> Configuration -> Sales -> Shipping Methods ->UPS, we need to set the free method to ‘Ground’ and, unlike the first scenario, we will not be providing a minimum amount.

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Although setup differently, we get the same results as the first scenario.

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Scenario 3: Carrier Free Shipping for specific items

In this scenario, we will be offering free UPS Ground shipping for products within a specific category (i.e. Furniture category).

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Since our free shipment is limited to Furniture items only, we must set the same conditions under the Shopping Cart Price Rules Actions section.

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Now here, if we select “For matching items only”, if there are multiple items in the shopping cart, the free shipping will only apply for the product within the Furniture category and other shipment charges on non-furniture items will be calculated separately.

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On the other hand, if we choose “For shipment with matching items” free shipping will apply to the whole cart with multiple items in it as long as an applicable furniture product is included.

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These scenarios all provide just a few of the many techniques to offer free shipping to your customers.  We hope this will help you in setting up your own free shipping benefits to customers, help drive more sales and keep your customers happy and loyal.  For all this and other great customer experience enhancing features, make sure to check on the all new Magento Enterprise Edition Version 1.7 and sign up for next week’s webinar showing off all the innovative new features. 

Happy e-Commerce!

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