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The skinny on how Xero support works

Posted 10 years ago in Advisors by Nigel Piper
Posted by Nigel Piper

From time to time we get the question, why doesn’t Xero support offer phone assistance?

We know that busy small business owners hate waiting on the phone to speak to someone who often can’t even help them. We also want to ensure that when you talk to someone at Xero, that person can solve your problem, as quickly as possible.

Trying to guess how many people to have sitting around waiting for customers to call is an impossible problem to solve. So we deliberately came up with a different model, where you can tell us the problem, automatically giving us as much information as possible, then get on with your business. Then one of our Xero customer experience (CX) team can have a look at what’s going on, let you know what to do, or give you a call to sort things out.

This video explains how Xero support works.

We track our response times and the number of contacts it takes to resolve a problem closely. If we see times slipping that gives us the business case to hire and train new customer experience team members.

We decided that customer experience is vitally important. All of our valued CX team are Xeros. We don’t outsource CX. We expect great things from the people who answer your questions, and we only hire those who have the right balance of accounting, technology and service knowledge. They must be up-to-date with our new features and latest releases. It’s not something we’d trust to people outside of Xero.

Providing help online provides us with a consistent record of your query. If you come back to us later, any one of our support staff can see what happened without you having to explain all over again. We can get information from different areas while you get on with your day. If we need to go to our developers or other specialists, we can do that. We come back to you with a complete answer. We have people working across multiple timezones so as one person heads home for a well deserved rest, another Xero CX specialist is having their morning coffee and ready to help.

There are many ways to get help.

  • Check out help.xero.com for instructions and a video
  • Ask your accountant – you can do that from the help menu
  • Search community.xero.com to see if others have raised the question before. You can ask questions there as well.
  • Log a support ticket in the app
  • There are also lots of forums on LinkedIn and other places for general discussion about working with Xero

We have a huge variety of online resources which give great answers to a lot of our common questions. By keeping our help online we are able to respond with links and direct references to these resources, something much harder to do over the phone. It also means that you always have a record of what we’ve said – great when you’ve previously had help with those once-in-a-while tasks.

We’ve also set up a Customer Experience Team in Denver, alongside our existing centers in Wellington, Auckland, Melbourne and Milton Keynes. So no matter what time you need us, we’ve got people ready to help.

In the Customer Experience team, our objective is to get your question answered. We only hire the best and brightest to get that done. We make sure you have a great set of online tools to support you as well, like our Business Essentials videos, our community and our help centre – and we’re always building on these to make sure you get the support you deserve.

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Orange Girl



CPA Justin K Osillo
October 16, 2013 at 11.36 pm

Xero support is great, timely and always spot on. Keep it up!

October 17, 2013 at 6.42 am

Usually they are pretty good, not hugely pleased with the response yesterday telling me to move from Chrome to Firefox (both supposedly supported browsers).

October 17, 2013 at 10.14 am

While the lack of phone support takes some getting used to, I have to say we get high-quality answers quicker and with less frustration with Xero’s method in comparison to other customer service departments we interact with. Great job!

Gayle Buchanan
October 17, 2013 at 10.50 am

For the reactives (like me) helps with patience, otherwise help is fab – rather dosh spent on food for Dev Team (they rock)

October 17, 2013 at 12.36 pm

Xero support has been pretty good, for minor issues they get back well within 24 hours, and when it’s been urgent someone calls us. But every time we get the right answer to resolve the problem. No waiting for 30 mins on a phone for a right/wrong answer.

October 25, 2013 at 10.30 am

I am a Xero customer and very much appreciate many things about the product. I would reocmmend it to other small business customers like myself. However, I would NEVER use a payroll service with email-only support. That is a deal breaker. Xero’s email support is ok, but I would not call it exciting. If someone’s paycheck or my tax liability is on the line, I want to talk to someone. And it’s horrible to think about sensitive payroll information being transmitted by email across a non-secure channel. The email-only support combined with roll out of payroll is a horrible idea, in my opinion.

Rod Drury
October 25, 2013 at 12.13 pm

@Chris, you seem to miss the point. We are not email only support. You have multiple channels to get into the queue and then the best person gets back to you as fast as we can.

The alternative can only be a worse experience as we explain in the video.

November 26, 2013 at 1.21 pm

@Rod – I think @Chris is worried about things actually going wrong rather than confusion about how to use Xero. When something is broken and needs technical support it would seem that email is the only option. The suggestions from the above blog post are
1. read the help files and view help videos – only helps when the system is working correctly and a user simply wants to know how to do something.
2. Ask my accountant – He may or may not know, he is also a customer not Xero staff. If something in Xero is broken he has no more control over the situation than I do.
3. Search the community forum – again, that is ok for finding out how things should work but is no help resolving system errors and such like.
4. Use the App to lodge a support ticket – basically the same as emailing support.
5. Check forums on linkedin – see point 3.
So for example, if a user has been using Xero for 6 months to process payroll with no problems then one day there is some issue or Xero is not acting as expected. They need to process payroll by the end of the day or the staff will get grumpy, what do they do? other than send an email (or lodge a ticket) to support?

Without getting into specifics, past experience with using Xero has shown that things do break down from time to time, and getting an adequate response from Xero support is a long frustrating process because communication is all done via emails going back and forth for a couple of days.

Rod Drury
November 26, 2013 at 5.37 pm

Hi Philip,

Couple of points to respond – we don’t have an inbound number, but we do make calls. If there’s something we can tell is complex, or it’s critical like processing payroll we will absolutely pick up the phone and respond, often within minutes. When we do, it’s a Xero person who will call you and get the problem solved.

Secondly, we’ve got Xero staff in all time zones all around the world, 7 days a week, so you’re never in a position where your question has to wait for the office to open. We have to be there when you need us and we have built up our support globally to do just that.

Finally, 3 out of 4 questions we get are solved by e-mail reply first time. Sometimes technical issues can take longer where we need you to do something and come back to us. We are working on new support tools to improve this.

We monitor response time closely and when we see them extend we add more people. From time to time we’ll experience heavy load, like any other support system and times go out. Fortunately those times are much less common.

Our support team is following these feedback closely and we’re always striving to get better and delight.

Hope that helps,


November 27, 2013 at 1.33 pm

@ Rod – Thanks for your reply. I take your point that you have staff around the world ready to respond to support queries via either phone or email. The confusion amongst users such as myself and Chris seems to be that email is basically the only way to contact Xero to begin with, regardless whether Xero responds via another channel. There was mention in the blog post above about multiple ways to get help and I have given reasons why they are not appropriate in cases of system failure or bugs etc. The help files assume that Xero is working properly at the time.
So apart from email what are the multiple channels you mentioned?

February 21, 2014 at 10.34 am

I’m in the middle of a support issue, and I’d say that Xero support has been inadequate so far. Remains to be seen whether it ends up as adequate but frustrating or ridiculously bad.

April 20, 2014 at 2.18 pm

Totally unimpressed by lack of phone support. Promise of responding to query within 24 hours is a load of crock.
Tried to enter support query from within xero, it failed!

Nigel Piper
April 23, 2014 at 9.53 am

@Tony. Would be great to talk to you about this. Can you drop me a line at nigel.piper@xero.com with your contact details please

August 16, 2014 at 1.33 pm

Guys yes the email support is good and generally quick and efficient, but the lack of phone support for urgent technical issues really is a disaster when you need it. For example, this morning our company has disappeared from both of our logins (although we can see other companies we have access to as we are management consultants)…yes it’s Saturday, but small business never rests! So we suddenly don’t have access to any reporting, which pretty much means our budget review session today is a bust and our team of directors are sitting here asking questions that can’t be answered…Worth considering issues like this when jumping to Xero.

Scott Hamilton-Hill
November 11, 2014 at 12.41 pm

Personally, I hate this no phone policy
I have made my first support request and received a totally useless generic non-response to my question. It seems apparent that the responder did not understand or care about my question. At least with phone support I can determine whether the person on the other end of the line gets the question and can escalate quickly to someone else if they dont know the answer. With email responses only you are stuck with whoever gets around to looking at your request. If anyone from Xero checks these pages I am still in Limbo and would like to be contacted ASAP.
[Xero Support Ticket 1626155]

November 11, 2014 at 10.01 pm

I totally agree with all the above commentary above – especially when trying to get the account started. We are still trying to get everything sorted and it takes forever – I would prefer to be onhold for 30odd minutes – at least there is some knowledge that an outcome will be resolved as opposed to waiting indefinately. There really needs to be phone support for the first few weeks/months to ensure that everything, especially payroll, are set up properly as this is very stressful and frustrating!

David Harris
November 12, 2014 at 9.00 am

@Anita – agree that with payroll (more than anything) you need good and prompt assistance. The other option is to use a Xero partner – sure it probably costs, but means you can get your query dealt with quickly. When compared with the competition, I’ve dealt with another widely used software vendor in NZ (not Xero). My experience with the competitors’ support is that I spend 30 odd minutes + some on hold, then when I get to the end the person at the other end isn’t proficient enough to help, or like @Scott says, doesn’t understand or care about the question. My experience with Xero support is, if it isn’t resolved in the first two or three emails, they call through to help – and are always proficient when they do. It’s really the delay factor that is frustrating in this scenario.

Nigel Piper
November 12, 2014 at 2.21 pm

@Scott Thanks for the feedback. Apologies for what was a poor response from the team. I see Mitch has reached out to you and we’re seeing what we can do to help.

@Anita I’m sorry that your first experience with us wasn’t great. We absolutely understand getting started may take a little bit of help. We try to make a call to everybody who starts Payroll to make sure you’re set up right and good to go. For other questions just let us know on the ticket what you are stuck with and you need a call. We’re happy to call you if you’re really stuck.

@David. Thanks for the feedback. We are looking at new tools to make the delay factor less frustrating. We absolutely understand payroll is special and when people need urgent help they need it NOW. The team get that. Just let us know that it’s urgent and we’ll call straight back.

Michael Weiss
February 4, 2015 at 1.55 pm

Hi there – our small business just switched over to Xero from QB. I have made good use of the email support so far, and it has mostly been helpful. However, I must agree with what the others are saying about Payroll support. I have recently run into a problem processing an employee’s payroll, resulting in a delayed paycheck. The email support is not cutting it in this instance. It is too slow, given the circumstance, and it takes multiple emails stretched across multiple hours to communicate something that could be shared much more easily in a 10 minute phone conversation. I have no sense of when and whether the issue will be resolved as I wait for a response from the representative; meanwhile, an employee’s paycheck is getting held up. Xero, please introduce phone support. Thanks for listening.

March 4, 2015 at 7.28 pm

XERO is a waste of time. problems can resolved within a minute but its takes hours to get it resolved via e mail. i can understand that is the cheapest method to save xero’s costing but its clear enough to prove that xero got bad quality of service. there is no live chat or contact number to get it done instantly . i personally would not recommend to any of my clients , friends and family members.

i got a client who is using core plus system. each time they update their invoices in core plus it fails to update in xero. all these while i couldn’t match the payment they received with the invoiced they have raised. in order to match those invoices , my client had to credit note for every single invoices with any changes of amount. its a mess.

i found more discrepancies about xero. more to come

Nigel Piper
March 6, 2015 at 5.38 pm

Hi Joshua. Thanks for the feedback. Probably not the feedback I wanted to hear but I appreciate it anyway.

We are sorry to hear things haven’t gone well. We have Xero support people available all over the globe so we can get back to people straight away. We want to delight customers, not the opposite.

I’d love to have a chat to find out what went wrong and I would love to fix things. I’ll drop you an e-mail if that’s OK.

John Taylor
March 10, 2015 at 1.38 pm

We have been using Xero for almost four years now and on the whole I love it and always recommend it to anyone I meet in a new business situation. The lack of phone support is my only gripe. As we are in a small business I quite often end up doing accounts and GST etc at night or over the weekend. When I strike a problem I want it fixed NOW. Waiting until Monday morning when I am off doing my day job is not optimal. If you must insist on email support how about having a facility where you can call for an instant call back to sort out a problem. Any problems I have sometimes go unreported as I can’t be bothered with the time delay in getting a solution. I bet I’m not alone in this.

Alex F
April 1, 2015 at 1.07 pm

I strongly dislike the lack of phone support, especially for the ongoing subscription to the service.

I just contacted Xero through the customer support — I didn’t even get an automatic “message received” email.

I’d be happy to pay $10-$15 to talk with someone. This is extremely frustrating.

Sandra Hunter
April 3, 2015 at 8.23 am

I am perfectly happy with email support. I get an automatic response with a ticket number straight away and usually get a full reply within a couple of hours. I like being able to lodge my question then get on with other work while I wait for that to be resolved.

If you are the type of person to leave your wages or GST until the last possible hour then I can see you might have an issue but I don’t operate like that.

April 14, 2015 at 4.24 pm

All I need is a bit of reasonable support ahead of payroll tomorrow. Can’t get a batch payment file to export in ABA only in CSV. The result is no one is getting paid at this moment. First response was via email over 3 hours from first request and the advice was to simply rename the file extension…. Really??? course it didn’t work, and now we are seriously under the pump. 24 hours response time is entirely useless.

April 14, 2015 at 5.12 pm

So, now we have payroll sorted without Xero’s alleged support, but doing a Batch Payment for suppliers payments is still a major nightmare with the batch being exported in CSV only.

Matthew Mathis
April 15, 2015 at 3.54 am

We have had multiple problems with Xero, some are resolved through email and some are ongoing. Sometimes I feel helpless and it leads to a feeling of hatred towards Xero and their attitude on tech support. I have been unable to get my bank feeds working for months. My accountant and I are pulling our hair out trying to get this system to work correctly. I regret the decision to use Xero and I strongly request that Xero listens to the feedbak of their customers and opens a phone support line. Quickbooks has one and they were always able to resolve my issues efficiently. I was attracted to the “glitter” of Xero, but the glitter is gone and I miss the support that I used to have.

April 16, 2015 at 8.40 pm

The lack of phone support is particularly frustrating when it comes to problems like Matthew’s above, where the problem is with bank feeds.
It is possible the issue is at Xero’s end, possible it’s at the bank’s end, possible that it’s a user configurable issue (whether at user’s bank settings or at user’s Xero settings), or something entirely different.
These situations can then cause follow on issues, where workarounds make things worse, and then create extra work when these are identified and need to be fixed – and the original core issue may still not be resolved!

Julie Bernard
August 14, 2015 at 4.06 pm

Your software is terrible. No support at all. and all you get after all day tring to reach some is sorry for your inconvenience? you have got to be kidding me! I hired an accountant thru your system and 4 months and they cant get it together. my books are not the complicated. Excell is way quicker manual entry is faster that your click 47 times to change a transaction. Your suppliers come in as contacts with no way tom move to suppliers? Your Customers are also contacts not customers. There is no job costing so them you get told to buy another Xero product Workflow Max and you cant integrate because in xero they are all contacts and you bring them over now all of your suppliers are contacts and you cant get them out with out deleting all the information you just spent 10 days entering. Just try to get support you get an email address and a response that says some one will email you in 24 hours then they email you and ask what the problem after they just read an email that you sent telling them the exact problem now you must wait another 24 hours before they get back to you. You should not buy this product this company is a scam!!

November 15, 2015 at 10.09 am

We’ve been seriously considering Xero but it’s these types of issues that keep holding us back. We’ve just gone through a nightmare with another cloud company that gave the same lines verbatim. The email support worked fine until we had a significant issue and weeks later were still going back and forth via email on an issue that clearly required phone support.

Rod says the one guy is missing the point and phone is still a method of contact, but as a customer the issue I have with that is:

1. Xero is the one that decides is the issue is worthy of a call, the customer is powerless.
2. I don’t know how Xero deals handles it, but what that also usually means is the company (in this case Xero) gets to call and if you don’t answer your screwed and have to wait for the next call.

Other comments:

1. Many of us also *prefer* email, but there are times when it’s a horrible support mechanism and can cause an issue to drag on for days that could be solved in minutes. As a customer I’d like to have some say in making that determination.

2. For God’s sake, create a “platinum support” option where users who value access to phone support can pay for it, and Xero makes more money in the process. This is so common throughout the industry it blows my mind when companies try to present the false choice of “phone support creates all these issues”. Sure it does, if you provide it for free on a value priced product such as Xero. So create an “enterprise support” option for those of us who will pay for it. Heck, you could even tie a few more features to the enterprise product.

3. Does Xero offer a chat option? That can be almost as good as phone support, while eliminating some of the problems with it.


A. L.
July 19, 2016 at 11.27 am

Xero does offer a chat support, but I just tried it and only the most basic issues can be answered. Perhaps questions such as, “How much does Xero cost?”

July 23, 2016 at 2.30 pm

I honestly have not felt the lack of phone support, we have over 200 clients on xero. When client’s have an urgent issue they contact us, when it’s something we can’t help with, email is pretty prompt.

I client told me the other day he selected QBO because they had phone support, but hadn’t yet made use of it.

I probably send 2/5 emails to support per day on different issues (recent move to workflow max + other client queries) – I can’t remember when i’ve had to send a follow up prompt because i didn’t hear back.

I know MYOB and Quickbooks offer phone support, but i rarely use it – I’d rather fire off an email and then move on to something else while wait for a (usually) same day response. It beats 20-30m on hold which limits being able to do other things.

Seriously the best product tech support out there + they haven’t banned me for violating fair use policy which is good.

March 9, 2018 at 9.13 am

I demo’d Xero for a while, and I have to say trying to interact with the support team was a pretty bad experience, having to wait hours for a message that didn’t answer the question and having to then wait another hour for a response to that. Having to wait for a useful reply kills an entire day productivity. I would much rather pick up the phone and talk to someone and work through the issue than waste hours trying to dig through forums, chats asking other people for help with a service I’m paying support for. Until Xero has phone support they do not have me as a client.

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