221 posts The Joomla Guy
  • Power Elite Author: Sold more than $1M on Envato Market
  • Won a competition
  • Had an item featured on Envato Market
  • Made it to the Authors' Hall of Fame
+9 more
hogash says

Hey guys,

Due to the latest announcements regarding item support, i’m rethinking my overall form of providing support.

While i’ve always been a fan of support forums (currently i have a BBpress with Envato API) i’m thinking of reorienting and improving my support experience on a ticketing system like Zendesk or Freshdesk with powerful and constantly updated Knowledge Base.

I’d really love to hear what you are using (and why). Also if buyers are around, i’d like to hear their opinion too on what is their best experience.

So far i packed a few pros and cons and (unfortunately) still not decided which:

Support forums:

Pros:
- Buyers can find an already provided solution within the forums (this is the only thing that keeps me thinking about it )
- Open for others to join in and help each other
- Canned responses (bbpress plugins), but strangely it’s hardly being used.
- Private reply’s (bbpress plugin)
Cons:
- Hardly some use the search and instead, just ask
- Buyers might find older solution of a different version and could actually get things worst by applying them.
- A thread might get too crowded to follow it, others might join in post their question too or offer wrong solutions and so on
- A bit hard to maintain, sometimes there are downtimes, db is getting huge.
- It’s good to have “search” but it would’ve been good to actually work properly.

Ticketing Support + Community Forum + Knowledge Base

Pros:
- Support oriented
- It intregrates with email
- Turn ticket into an item on the Knowledge base
- Canned responses
- Metrics (all sorts of them) + response ratings + overall time tracking
- Focused responses for buyers
- Assignation
- Auto reply
- Automatic solution suggestion
- Mobile apps
- Self service – Knowledge base & Community support
- Satisfaction Surveys and Feedback
- Custom forms upon ticketing (admin credentials, url, etc.)
- all in all professional solutions
- probably many others, these are some that i’ve read about and seem really interesting.
Cons:
- tickets are hidden and lost
- a professional solution costs

Thanks for your opinions!!

265 posts JoomFX.com
  • Elite Author: Sold more than $75,000 on Envato Market
  • Has sold $75,000+ on Envato Market and is now an Elite Author
  • Sells items exclusively on Envato Market
  • Has referred 200+ members
+3 more
joomfx says

Hey Marius,

Thank you for opening this discussion :)
Yesterday I spent 5 hours in rethinking my “Support Solution” and looking into other solutions. So I’m more than interested in what the other authors are using and why.

Basically, I’m a fan of the Forums. I’m currently using Vanilla Forums (2.0.18) with the Envato API to check the Purchase Code upon registration.
I’m very happy with this solution, it works perfectly fine for me and for my customers, but if I have to be honest, it is far from perfect. I mean, the Vanilla Forums (with the Envato API) gives me all I need in order to manage the Support but if, for some reason, Envato proceeds with the “Mandatory Support” thing, I will not be able to track if a particular user is eligible for Support or not since the Purchase Code is not stored in the Database. Also, managing users in Vanilla does not give much options, meaning even if I modify the Forum and start storing the Purchase Code together with the other user information, I will not be able to automatically suspend the users account once the “6 months” pass.

Anyway, yesterday I digged into different solutions, checked the Support Solutions of different authors, etc. I still think that Forums is good enough option and somehow better than a ticketing system. As you know I’m a Joomla guy, so I’m looking at what the big players in our industry are doing. Gavick, Rockettheme and Joomlart are all on Forums. Yeah, some of them also offer Premium Support via email/ticket but I don’t think it is a good option for exclusive TF authors :)

So basically, I’m for the Forum solutions.

Marius, since we are on the topic, may I ask you why you decided to switch from Vanilla Forums to Supportte (bbPress)? What do you think are the pros and cons of these two solutions? And also, why are you considering to change the Forum-based solution with a Ticketing one? Do you think it will improve your Support and how? Thanks :)

221 posts The Joomla Guy
  • Power Elite Author: Sold more than $1M on Envato Market
  • Won a competition
  • Had an item featured on Envato Market
  • Made it to the Authors' Hall of Fame
+9 more
hogash says

Basically, I’m a fan of the Forums. I’m currently using Vanilla Forums (2.0.18) with the Envato API to check the Purchase Code upon registration.
I’m very happy with this solution, it works perfectly fine for me and for my customers, but if I have to be honest, it is far from perfect. I mean, the Vanilla Forums (with the Envato API) gives me all I need in order to manage the Support but if, for some reason, Envato proceeds with the “Mandatory Support” thing, I will not be able to track if a particular user is eligible for Support or not since the Purchase Code is not stored in the Database. Also, managing users in Vanilla does not give much options, meaning even if I modify the Forum and start storing the Purchase Code together with the other user information, I will not be able to automatically suspend the users account once the “6 months” pass.

Hey Ivo, i’m sure official Envato toolkits & unofficial solutions will be developed to fully integrate with open source solutions like BBpress for WP. Unfortunately can’t say the same for Vanilla as it isn’t that popular, but, probably a skilled author here will develop something useful.


Marius, since we are on the topic, may I ask you why you decided to switch from Vanilla Forums to Supportte (bbPress)? What do you think are the pros and cons of these two solutions?

Well for Vanilla forums, my biggest problem was the search, which is out of this world, hardly gave proper results. The move was actually because BBpress offers much more customizability, it’s easier to work on, there’s plenty of plugins & resources, and the search function is better IMO. I don’t regret at all moving on BBpress and i think i was a good move that improved my overall support experience for buyers. As extra plugins im using Private Replies, Canned responses, but Stefan developed some great extra features to help us work easily with it. If i’d recommend, i think it’s the best solution so far for a support forum.


And also, why are you considering to change the Forum-based solution with a Ticketing one? Do you think it will improve your Support and how? Thanks :)

Ticketing system are much more support oriented. If you look onto these pages https://www.zendesk.com/product/pricing#compare-table and http://freshdesk.com/helpdesk-features you will see how support oriented is all this. I mean the fact support forums are searchable (which like i said is the only reason why i’m still considering it) is equal with a powerful and updated Knowledge Base which is self-service.

Many of my concerns are because having a support team is not easy and i must measure the results of the team, but also buyers experience and satisfaction. A support forum (which is hardly customized already) does not offer any of these. My first thought now is to leave my support forums public and restrict any new thread and future involvement and immediatly move to a professional solution – still deciding which to choose, both seem awesome.

265 posts JoomFX.com
  • Elite Author: Sold more than $75,000 on Envato Market
  • Has sold $75,000+ on Envato Market and is now an Elite Author
  • Sells items exclusively on Envato Market
  • Has referred 200+ members
+3 more
joomfx says

Thanks a lot for the detailed answer Marius (as usual) ;)

I was actually considering to move from Vanilla to bbPress, as you did. So all this information is very helpful for me (and I suppose for other authors in this situation).

I was planning to do the same, meaning make my current Vanilla Forum read-only and then start a brand new bbPress Forum. But for now I think I’ll put everything on hold and wait for the new Support changes to be implemented and see if Envato will release their own Support Platform :)

So once the Support changes are implemented I’ll decide how to proceed and what will be best for me and my customers.

Wow, I just had a closer look at the links you posted above (Zendesk and Freshdesk). They both look a really good Support Solution, really professional (I really like what you get with the Zendesk Plus plan :D ). So, I’m now considering those two solutions as well ;)

One last question Marius… how would you manage/implement the Purchase Code verification with Zendesk or Freshdesk. I know you cannot implement it, so how would you check if a given ticket is from a real customer or from a guy who has downloaded your item from a Warez site (or from a guy who is no longer eligible for support – there are more than 6 month since he has purchased your item)?

741 posts
  • Power Elite Author: Sold more than $1M on Envato Market
  • Has been part of the Envato Community for over 4 years
  • Has sold $1M+ on Envato Market and is now a Power Elite Author
  • Made it to the Authors' Hall of Fame
+5 more
Dream-Theme says

Hey,
Tickets + KB works best for us. “People helping one another on forums” is myth IMO. At least if you have lots of different products and not the one and only bestseller.

221 posts The Joomla Guy
  • Power Elite Author: Sold more than $1M on Envato Market
  • Won a competition
  • Had an item featured on Envato Market
  • Made it to the Authors' Hall of Fame
+9 more
hogash says

One last question Marius… how would you manage/implement the Purchase Code verification with Zendesk or Freshdesk. I know you cannot implement it, so how would you check if a given ticket is from a real customer or from a guy who has downloaded your item from a Warez site (or from a guy who is no longer eligible for support – there are more than 6 month since he has purchased your item)?

Thanks for the input Ivo and hope you will move to BBpress as in my opinion it’s much better, there are plenty free resources ( http://aquagraphite.com/2013/04/supportte-free-bbpress-support-forum-theme/ ) and also lots of plugins too. Also we’ve migrated the old vanilla posts into this new one, however Stefan did it (he’s a dev. wizard) and if you want i will ask him how he did it. As for a slight downside just had a look at the database being used by it and it loots to have almost 200mb and i’m afraid that i won’t be able to maintain it.

Now in regards to your question, both Zendesk and Freshdesk have app library. I searched for Zendesk integration and didn’t found nothing yet (found one but it’s not really useful for our needs) while Freshdesk already has an Envato API integration developed by KBRMedia here https://github.com/kbrmedia/FreshDesk-Envato . If i’ll choose Zendesk we will probably develop a custom solution or simply hire/post a project on freelancer.com to do it.


Hey,
Tickets + KB works best for us. “People helping one another on forums” is myth IMO. At least if you have lots of different products and not the one and only bestseller.

Thanks for the input Miroslav, interesting to know this and i’m a bit surprised because i thought you guys were on forums too, at least at the moment i had a look over your profile. I’m glad to hear it works best for you, it’s really an encouragement for me to hear this.
Indeed that’s a myth and it’s definitely not something that should be considered if you choose a support forum. I just liked the idea of having it publicly searchable for buyers. I looked at my own psychology when searching for a solution and indeed i’m a forum searching guy too but this could easily apply to KB too.

308 posts Mad Dog
  • Has referred 500+ members
  • Has sold $750,000+ on Envato Market
  • Has collected 10+ items on Envato Market
  • Elite Author: Sold more than $75,000 on Envato Market
+6 more
mad_dog says

Hi! I’m using Forums, Zendesk and KB. The forums are really helpful, there are a lot of answered questions, simply putting the link to the resolved issue if the customer did not find the answer, usually they even do not search ;) Zendesk is really powerful, using it for about 6 months + I’m always sure that the customer will get a reply via email, had no problems with spam, all the emails get into Inbox. I use it as an alternative for the ticket system, used Kayako ticket system before. Its also great software, but it is a little bit expensive and complicated to customize.

221 posts The Joomla Guy
  • Power Elite Author: Sold more than $1M on Envato Market
  • Won a competition
  • Had an item featured on Envato Market
  • Made it to the Authors' Hall of Fame
+9 more
hogash says

Hi! I’m using Forums, Zendesk and KB. The forums are really helpful, there are a lot of answered questions, simply putting the link to the resolved issue if the customer did not find the answer, usually they even do not search ;) Zendesk is really powerful, using it for about 6 months + I’m always sure that the customer will get a reply via email, had no problems with spam, all the emails get into Inbox. I use it as an alternative for the ticket system, used Kayako ticket system before. Its also great software, but it is a little bit expensive and complicated to customize.

Hey @mad_dog thanks so much for sharing, great info! As we speak i’m stalking your profile to get more insights :D , hope you won’t mind. :)

308 posts Mad Dog
  • Has referred 500+ members
  • Has sold $750,000+ on Envato Market
  • Has collected 10+ items on Envato Market
  • Elite Author: Sold more than $75,000 on Envato Market
+6 more
mad_dog says

Hey @mad_dog thanks so much for sharing, great info! As we speak i’m stalking your profile to get more insights :D , hope you won’t mind. :)

Sure, if it helps all of us ;)

265 posts JoomFX.com
  • Elite Author: Sold more than $75,000 on Envato Market
  • Has sold $75,000+ on Envato Market and is now an Elite Author
  • Sells items exclusively on Envato Market
  • Has referred 200+ members
+3 more
joomfx says

Perfect! Thanks a lot Marius for the information and for oferring your/Stefans’ help in migrating Vanilla to bbPress! I will wait until December and then I’ll decide how to proceed.

But Zendesk and Freshdesk are becoming more and more tempting ;)

by
by
by
by
by
by