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-   -   Using a Forum as a support (http://www.hostingdiscussion.com/customer-service-support-issues/32897-using-forum-support.html)


GCSolutions 04-22-2013 04:39 PM

Using a Forum as a support
 
How many of you use a forum for a support channel?

We have one yet we do not make it public since most support goes through the helpdesk so the forum looks dead at times. It is nice for a backup to the main helpdesk though.

handsonhosting 04-22-2013 06:10 PM

Forums were great back in the day, but the reality of things is that user information is private. Generally, you'd need to obtain their password information to troubleshoot exact steps - as a result, forums are not really the best option.

A dead looking forum is never good, either for search engines or for the general public. We used to have one for years, we ended up killing it off a few years ago and swapped to a blog system instead for providing information and some general comments. A dead forum just looks bad all the way around.

GCSolutions 04-22-2013 08:39 PM

I was thinkong about going to a blog. Then decided to created a facebook page and twitter accounts. to pass gemeral information.

shockym 04-23-2013 08:17 AM

The other issue besides security is that some people become overwhelmed with rage if someone is not on their issue right away. We have never went the forum route as we prefer to keep things organized and not cluttered. The last thing you want is a past customer (and I have seen this bunches of times) coming into someone's support thread to bash the company while you are trying to help the original person with the problem.

bunnykins 04-23-2013 08:58 AM

As a customer I do not mind using a forum for support but most times I need something that requires me to open a ticket. If it is a general question then a forum is fine. If it is like downgrading my account or upgradding my account or related to my account then a ticket is better.

Also as a customer, specially a potential customer. If I am looking at your site to maybe host with you and see that the forum is dead I might think the host it self is dead or dieing and more then likely will not be setting up an account.

GCSolutions 04-23-2013 01:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bunnykins (Post 166384)

Also as a customer, specially a potential customer. If I am looking at your site to maybe host with you and see that the forum is dead I might think the host it self is dead or dieing and more then likely will not be setting up an account.

Cannot agree more. Which is why we took ours privite vs public. (after being public for a bit)

mikho 04-24-2013 12:12 PM

Using a forum as a support channel is a nice addon to your company, but it requires a lot of hard work to keep going.

Like many others have said, a dead forum is bad publicity for your company. On the other hand, a working, active forum is one of the best ways to make a company "famous" along its customers and even potential customers.

So it goes both ways. If you decide to keep it, make it look active. Post offers or giveaways so that your customers comes back, even if they don't have a problem.

Also make sure that the forum is NOT a replacement for your helpdesk/ticket system. Only a place to get general help from people who also like what they are doing, being a customer of you :)

storminternet 04-24-2013 01:00 PM

Forum is place where you can share your views, ideas or opinions. It is useful to gain knowledge, help other users to solve their queries.

As far as support is concerned it is always not an ideal place for seeking support.

Ticketing system, Live chat or Phone support are the recommended and best ways for the support issues.

You may need to provide support people, your account details, server details or some other information related to your technical issues which you can not provide on public forum.

Additionally some of the issues are time consuming and requires more investigation. In such cases you can not ask update every time on forum.

hostsurfuk 04-25-2013 05:17 AM

We have a forum for support but is rarly used. Most of our clients tend to submit a ticket even for a general question.

easyhostmedia 04-25-2013 10:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hostsurfuk (Post 166447)
We have a forum for support but is rarly used. Most of our clients tend to submit a ticket even for a general question.

same here, we have a WHMCS integrated forum, but as this is hardly used then i removed the links from our website

SenseiSteve 04-26-2013 10:06 AM

A lot of forums will surprise you. They'll have thousands of threads and posts, but only 3 or 4 new ones in the past week. I can think of one right now that I visited yesterday that's been online for years (very active), but several new members had 20+ spam threads - telling me that it's no longer being actively moderated. From a corporate standpoint, I think blogs and knowledgebases fare better.

Silk 04-26-2013 09:43 PM

We use a support ticket system via email, or else over the phone. A forum doesn't seem to be the best way to handle support, usually, although it could be helpful for things that involve basics that other users might be able to help with.

Alex HubRocket 04-27-2013 02:15 AM

Our forum is fairly active and works for us. We have a small support section for basic queries which we respond to (though the community can also which is great) though anything which would require a login would be taken to a ticket or other support channel.

If you have the forum users and activity then it really is a great tool to have, allows your customers to engage with each other and help each other out as well as get involved in discussions yourselves.

hostechsupport 04-27-2013 12:25 PM

We used to have our forum & our techies use to post general info as well as linux commands etc to help clients as well as visitors/members. Being mostly assisted by live chat & email support, forums loose their charm. It was getting extra garbage every now & then by the ever-visiting Spammers & virus, coz of which one day we had to kill our much-loved forum :(
But, nostalgically, we want to start afresh with them again...we hope we'll get it a new face all over again..

Artashes 04-27-2013 02:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hostechsupport (Post 166544)
We used to have our forum & our techies use to post general info as well as linux commands etc to help clients as well as visitors/members. Being mostly assisted by live chat & email support, forums loose their charm. It was getting extra garbage every now & then by the ever-visiting Spammers & virus, coz of which one day we had to kill our much-loved forum :(
But, nostalgically, we want to start afresh with them again...we hope we\'ll get it a new face all over again..

That is why keeping the company forums locked is a good idea. Let only your customers register for an account. That can always be verified by the same email address used when signing up for service.

The things to consider is that when customers leave, what do you do? Do you still permit them to access the forum? Do you delete their account and posts? What if they left because they were unhappy with the service and come back from time to time to discourage others from signing up? What if they post a negative review? How do you deal with it?


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