273 posts Mad Dog
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mad_dog says

Frankly speaking it is really important question, there are pluses and minuses in all the systems, tried different ones (emails, tickets, forums).
My choice, at the moment, is a forum. Very easy to manage, users help each other. The only problem I can’t get how to have a knowledge base in vBulletin .

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justinfrench Envato team says

Hi everyone, this thread has been really informative! Item support is still something we really want to provide for as part of the marketplaces, and something I’m currently looking at closely, so this is great timing.

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justinfrench Envato team says

tl;dr PEOPLE WANT THEIR SUPPORT FORUM BACK !

When you take something away, people always want it back. We hate change of almost any kind :)

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justinfrench Envato team says

I use ticket system currently, but I’m planing to switch to forum

What’s your reasons for switching over?

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justinfrench Envato team says

Well the issue with a ticketing system is that the answers are not public…

I’ve used some great ticket-based systems that are open rather than private, like GitHub’s issues system, for example. It’s pretty open like a forum (anyone can see the open (and closed) issues, search, comment, answer, etc), but it behaves more like a ticket — it can be marked as resolved, it can be assigned, etc.


…but since the powers that be decided that a search function is not necessary for a 120-page comments section on an item, then a forum, for me, is the next best thing.

If we wanted to turn the comments into a great way of handling item support, a search function is definitely needed, as is permalinks and a bunch of other stuff the community is asking for. It’s not that we don’t think search is necessary, it’s that the way comments have been structured makes this far from easy. I promise, we’re not ignoring requests like this :)

We could invest the time to make comments work better for item support, but we’d still be cramming item support into a comment system designed for a completely different job.

So, we need to balance that up against the time required to deliver something more appropriate for item support (for as many authors as possible), which is what I’m looking into right now.


…then adding nothing to the FAQs. That gives me Envato-rage >:|

I think half the problem is that our FAQ system is lacking as well. There’s no way for authors to edit or re-order the questions, which must give the authors plenty to “rage” about as well. The good news is this is easy to fix, and I hope we can get to that really soon.

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infuse01 says

Probably the most important question is: Where are we heading (regarding support)?

Goals: I would say the goals of a new solution, lets call it “Awesome Support Solution (ASS)” should not only have features but should also have some various other goals

  • ASS should be useful on all marketplaces and shouldn’t vary to much. An author from graphicriver should be able to handle it so as a themeforest author.
  • ASS should have a purchase verification implemented.
  • ASS should have an integrated search, which just works
  • ASS should have a notification system which sends notifications by e-mail or feed (w. API )
  • ASS shouldn’t be used for pre-sale questions or other kind of conversation (“Good Luck with Sales”...)
  • ASS should put the author in more control
  • ASS should be based on the Envato API
  • ASS should offer the option to turn support requests into customization requests, enabling authors to get also paid for support.
  • some things more which other authors already mentioned or mention after my post

Sidenote: Of course I know that the “comments” are already streamlined over all marketplaces and have already a purchase verification included, as well as other solutions have also some features from the above mentioned. The list above should be more of a list where all needed features are collected together.

Another important aspect is to offer more than just “sometimes support, sometimes not”. I mean at the moment there is no line between authors which offer free support and authors who don’t give any support since it isn’t mandatory. Personally I can understand all the authors who are investing so much time into their documentations and even in their FAQ and still having some clients who prefer to just ask. It’s annoying. So why not say, with the purchase of an item support isn’t included, but offering the option to buy “support packs”. Maybe in form as tickets? And authors have the option to opt-out if they don’t want to give support (but be honest, who really wants to say no to some bucks?).

On the other hand envato also gets a cut from that – Win / Win / Win, even for the customer since they can expect a better support with better response times.

Authors can even hire staff for support since it would be really easy to determine what income comes through the item itself and what from the “support packs”. That goes hand in hand with customization (which is probably the next big thing in this branch > see tweaky for example)

In the end I come to the conclusion that the best solution would be to have a custom stand-alone script (or webapp, you name it) which includes all the features mentioned above, is partly customizeable and fully extensible. It also integrates perfectly with the Envato API (which probably needs also an overhaul as well).

Assuming the above, customers would be able to buy an item with the included documentation and source files. To get some support they simply need to buy a support-pack, with N tickets, which they can spend for their requests.

Pro’s

  • Customers can expect a better working support system since it’s not only a part of business for authors but instead IT IS their business.
  • Authors get some additional money
  • Envato gets a cut
  • Prices for the items can be lowered again
  • Customers who know what they’re doing don’t need to buy more without the need of support in opposite to a customer who needs support. (“Pay what you get”)

Con’s

  • Lots of work for the dev’s
  • You name it

I think half the problem is that our FAQ system is lacking as well. There’s no way for authors to edit or re-order the questions, which must give the authors plenty to “rage” about as well. The good news is this is easy to fix, and I hope we can get to that really soon.

Personally I think that the majority of customers just give a sh** on FAQ . For some parts it is ok to use FAQ but as soon as it comes to theme-specific FAQ ’s it is just useless. Basic Question like how to edit the file can anyway be found in the documentation which is mandatory for every item uploaded.

Re-Ordering would be probably a nice little feature but it wouldn’t be hard to “edit” a FAQ . It’s just a matter of copy and pasting the whole thing in the editor below and then it can be modified. The old FAQ can be deleted.

To keep it short: If the support forum/ticket solution is good enough there is no need for FAQ at all.

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gljivec says

We use a portal based on a theme that was for sale on Themeforest (but is not anymore). It combines a support forum, FAQ and knowledgebase. If anyone wants to see how it looks, you can take a look here.

We also use a support ticket system (Zendesk) which has turned out to be pretty great.

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Dream-Theme says

Goals: [...] I would say the goals of a new solution, lets call it “Awesome Support Solution (ASS)” [...]

That sounds more like a verdict than an abbreviation.

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purethemes says


I use ticket system currently, but I’m planing to switch to forum
What’s your reasons for switching over?

I’m using http://ticksy.com/ for support, and there are couple things missing (like advanced search engine – it’s not very good for users who want to find solution for problem solved 10x before) so I wanted to build my own support forum to have more view on data and more customization options. I decided it’s too big task right now and it’s not worth it, ticksy is overall great system and for now it’s enough for me – it’s worth much more than 5$ you have to pay per month to use it. But as all this solution it has one drawback – the verification process. If Envato would bought Ticsky and integrate it with marketplace it would be best thing ever ;)

Anyway, no matter what and when you’ll do – the one single most important feature in my opinion is to allow users to reply to other users comments/tickets – many of top elite authors have support teams and now it’s impossible for them to use comment section on ThemeForest as only author can reply to comments.

Thanks for taking interest in that matter

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Dream-Theme says

Hi everyone, this thread has been really informative! Item support is still something we really want to provide for as part of the marketplaces, and something I’m currently looking at closely, so this is great timing.

Hi justinfrench,

It’s goor to read that Envato is paying attention to it. Improved comments system will be a great help for authors with moderate sales!

However, please don’t make support via it compulsory for every author. For those with bigger number of sales it is much more convenient to use their own solutions to provide support. E.g.: we have dedicated support staffs. And we should not give them accesses to TF account to provide support, right? Also authors can have their own support system integrated to knowledge base with dynamical tips and troubleshooter. I’m not sure that Envato can/should develop that.

What wold be a real help – is a dedicated “support” tab on Item page. That will redirect users to authors support system. Or “Item Support” button underneath the item preview right to “Live Preview” and “Screenshots” buttons.

And please please please please bring that * comment paginator back to the top of author dashboard!!! :D

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