Customer-powered support DOES. NOT. WORK.
Uservoice has nailed it with their post Customer-powered support doesn’t work. Here’s a gem I want to tattoo on my forehead in Olde English script:
If you called a customer support line and they transferred you to another customer, would you be happy?
Having been in the web app support business for years and years, I have seen this issue pop up multiple times. Usually, there’s great intentions in creating a forum for your customers to help and educate each other. But there’s also some intentions that are not so great: Complacency. Laziness. Disinterest.
Maybe you don’t think your product needs that much support. Maybe you just don’t want to do the support so you farm it off to your “power users”. Or maybe you really don’t have the mental energy to answer customer emails for 2 hours every day after you’ve just spent 8 hours coding. You think, “Ah, I can just get everyone using the product to help people for me!”
Are you paying those people to help you? Have you sat down with them and educated them about your product? Are your “power users” really in touch with the quirks of your code and the stuff you’re actively working on resolving? Can one of those customers tell you when you’re going to submit your update to the app store?
No, they can’t. Stop relying on them to be the sole source of information and education on your product because they. Can’t. Be. That is your job!
Actually, it’s OUR job. That’s what WE should be doing for you! This is one of the reasons CoSupport exists – because we do customer support better than you can right now. We’ll keep your customers in the conversation, but we’re going to steer it to shore.