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sevenspark
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I think this would be a good idea if we had the following control:

1. Ability (optionally) to show the contact form only on items that the customer has not yet purchased

2. The ability to label this box as we see fit, for example “Pre-Purchase Questions”

The problem is that for those of us that use external support forums, this is just going to confuse customers even more unless we can customize its purpose. Sounds great for pre-purchase questions, but once the user has purchased I would want this box to disappear (and optimally be replaced by my own custom button linking to a support forum)

By the way, the other great thing about this idea is that the email could include a reference to the page it was sent from – I can’t tell you how many requests I get where the customer does not identify which product they’re referring to :)

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ZoomIt
says

I think this would be a good idea if we had the following control:

1. Ability (optionally) to show the contact form only on items that the customer has not yet purchased

2. The ability to label this box as we see fit, for example “Pre-Purchase Questions”

The problem is that for those of us that use external support forums, this is just going to confuse customers even more unless we can customize its purpose. Sounds great for pre-purchase questions, but once the user has purchased I would want this box to disappear (and optimally be replaced by my own custom button linking to a support forum)

By the way, the other great thing about this idea is that the email could include a reference to the page it was sent from – I can’t tell you how many requests I get where the customer does not identify which product they’re referring to :)

+1

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liviu_cerchez
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I think this would be a good idea if we had the following control:

1. Ability (optionally) to show the contact form only on items that the customer has not yet purchased

2. The ability to label this box as we see fit, for example “Pre-Purchase Questions”

The problem is that for those of us that use external support forums, this is just going to confuse customers even more unless we can customize its purpose. Sounds great for pre-purchase questions, but once the user has purchased I would want this box to disappear (and optimally be replaced by my own custom button linking to a support forum)

By the way, the other great thing about this idea is that the email could include a reference to the page it was sent from – I can’t tell you how many requests I get where the customer does not identify which product they’re referring to :)

Sure, I agree. For authors with external support forums, the form could be replaced with a direct link/button I think. One other great thing would be to receive the purchase status directly in the email – currently the email only contains a link with an encoded key to validate the purchase in the user’s profile. Why not add an inline information in the email with the purchase status – I don’t know the implications of such an update, I’m just throwing it out there.

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tommusrhodus
says

I think this would be a good idea if we had the following control:

1. Ability (optionally) to show the contact form only on items that the customer has not yet purchased

2. The ability to label this box as we see fit, for example “Pre-Purchase Questions”

The problem is that for those of us that use external support forums, this is just going to confuse customers even more unless we can customize its purpose. Sounds great for pre-purchase questions, but once the user has purchased I would want this box to disappear (and optimally be replaced by my own custom button linking to a support forum)

By the way, the other great thing about this idea is that the email could include a reference to the page it was sent from – I can’t tell you how many requests I get where the customer does not identify which product they’re referring to :)

Exactly this +1

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quickandeasy
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I think this would make commenting redundant, which would then result in the author answering the same questions over and over rather than having public info in comments for buyers to read through.

Also, you have a contact box on your profile page, most of those with advanced questions will know how to find this anyway.

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sevenspark
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I think this would make commenting redundant, which would then result in the author answering the same questions over and over rather than having public info in comments for buyers to read through.

I wish there was some way to actually measure this (percentage of customers who read comments), but in my experience there are a huge number of buyers that don’t read the comments at all, even when they post a comment of their own. Therefore it has been my policy that if there is a question that gets asked repeatedly, it should be published in an easily-accessible location (like the product description or a pre-purchase FAQ page – though a lot of them don’t even read the product description in full), rather than assuming customers will be reading comments – let’s be honest, they’re just not user-friendly to browse.

This is especially true with products with high sales volume, which in turn have huge numbers of comments.

Personally, I would prefer receiving pre-purchase questions solely as emails, so I don’t have any problem if this essentially killed the item comments section. But since different authors have different preferences, it’d be nice to just make these things configurable.

I suspect this varies from marketplace to marketplace as well: item comments probably work pretty well on GraphicRiver; I think they’re severely limiting on CodeCanyon & ThemeForest.

Another advantage to this would be that we could potentially tailor auto-responses to specific products, which would be helpful for authors with a lot of products, or for whom support requests need to be directed to a specific team member.

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quickandeasy
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Hmm, maybe I’m just being narrow-minded.

When I purchase a theme or CC file, I always check the comments to see what issues there are and what the Author has replied with.

Of course, I know that’s a good place to find those answers though.

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liviu_cerchez
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Hmm, maybe I’m just being narrow-minded.

When I purchase a theme or CC file, I always check the comments to see what issues there are and what the Author has replied with.

Of course, I know that’s a good place to find those answers though.

Hey Adam. You are an experienced buyer, but most of the users that purchase an item don’t bother to read all the comments (maybe just take a look at the last 2-3 or the last page of the comments). Imagine reading a list of 200+ comments on a popular theme…

My point was to create a form or add a checkbox (if duplicity of the UI is a problem) to allow users to send you a quick message (pre-sale or private URL, WP credentials, etc). This feature is built for buyers first, not authors. A lot of elite authors have separate support forums – so it’s redundant to always comment with “please submit your question on our forum” – a link/button to the forum would be a good starting point (but this can be achieved in the item description easily). Think about the big picture and about all the unexperienced users that browse the markets. There is no quick tour for them (that would be a wonderful idea also), so the interface must help them with their needs and problems.

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InfiniWeb
says

I think it could hurt sales.

Instead of just purchasing an item, customers may decide to ask questions first, by the time they receive a reply it’ll be too late and they wont need the item.

I may be wrong but its a possibility worth thinking about.

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sevenspark
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Hmm, maybe I’m just being narrow-minded.

When I purchase a theme or CC file, I always check the comments to see what issues there are and what the Author has replied with.

Of course, I know that’s a good place to find those answers though.

I suppose my perspective is a bit skewed, too ;) my main product has almost 1,400 comments on it, so you can understand why (1) I’m a bit sick of them and (2) how as the number of comments increases, their usefulness decreases as they become harder to find

That being said, your point about knowing where to look is very important. That’s why I’ve suggested in the past we have standardized links to support and documentation – I think the new Support Tab that was mentioned a few weeks ago is a step in the right direction. In other words, we need standardized access (easy to find) with the ability to customize content (tailored to individual products).

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