Heading says it all…is anyone using a StackOverflow style (same as this site uses) Q&A format for tech support for any of their products? Anyone have links to share so I can see how you’re doing it?
If you are expecting community to help answer questions stackoverflow style then you would need a lot of users for it to work, at least 10,000 I would expect.
Webfaction does, where I host my sites. Most answers can be found there (though their support is still awesome)
I would still answer the questions, I am just wondering if it would be an improvement over the traditional FAQ type system.
We considered it and went so far as buying a script that gave us the functionality to do so - the longer term goal was that it would allow the frequently asked and most voted questions to rise to the top whilst giving the usual ability to search etc which any knowledgebase does. We also would have liked other users to have answered as well over time - that community feel is great for us as it removes some of our support burden but it is also a reassurance for prospects as they see and active and engaged userbase.
In the end we deployed Zendesk for support and used their knowledgebase (which looks awful IMO) but the ticketing is pretty good and this was always our main priority - we didn’t want to have different support systems so went with what met our main needs first and foremost.
I did something similar to this on my last product, since I’m not the owner anymore, I will not directly link to the support section, but you may have a look here: https:\goo.gl\1CiPcV [can’t post link, I changed the / with \ ;)]
It’s was more a blend between User Voice feedback and a ticketing / question system on the right. Now the current owner does not seems to archive completed questions, so the list is very long.
The user or public visitor could open a public or private question. The feedback / suggestion section was for customers only.
Once you are on the support section, remove the /list on the URL to see the support section with FAQ, Knowledge base articles, videos and the feedback / question top 5 or 10 items.
It was working pretty well, and customers did not have to leave the web app to get support / FAQ etc.
I use Discourse to support our cloud accounting application and it works very well.
Pure QA like Stack Overflow is not always conducive for good tech support, particularly if your users are not very tech savvy. QA requires rigorous moderation and discipline to work effectively. It also becomes increasingly effective the more participants you have. In my experience there’s not a great deal to motivate people to get involved in the tech support for a private company, if it’s an open-source project that’s a bit different.
Yes, public Q/A is a great addition to your support but usually can’t replace a private support channel. How do people ask for account help, help that may involve their customers data or private data, etc. Some people just don’t like signing up for sites, enterprise users just want to send an email and don’t give a hoot about your Q/A site. It’s very dependent on your customers base, but you want to give that a lot of thought before just moving all support to a public forum style.
I second @ian on that. B2B customer won’t post anyway. With a B2C product - doesn’t work either, because you need a “critical mass” to make it work (huge userbase). Otherwise your public support forum/q&a site will look dead, empty, sad and abandoned, this will do more harm than good.
PS. oh yeah we tried both w/ b2b & b2c. Didn’t work. Don’t bother.
I use a product called install4j. The company that makes it directs customers to use Stack Overflow itself for technical support questions, using the [install4j] tag. The company answers publicly on the Stack Overflow site. But the company also answers my private direct emails. In my opinion this dual system works pretty well. Privacy when I need it, and a public knowledge base (in the form of SO) to help others find answers to similar questions.