We have 12 products and some of them are pretty old, but still have sales. We hire a support manager to provide support, because we can’t do this all day. We use Vbulletin forums (Best forums so far) and Zendesk ticketing system. Yes, I know it not so cheap but eventually it’s worth it.
No offence for anybody but when you buy an item you don’t get a monkey-proof assistant to explain everything you’re supposed to know already.
LOL , I guess the authors discussing here are mostly considering ThemeForest files and buyers. I do feel the same way you think and to be honest, I would like to reduce the possibilities of support wherever possible. But grrr… some items definitely needs deep level of support.
We are working on some better tools to help you support your items, but they’re a little way off yet. If you’re big enough to think about setting up your own forums, I wouldn’t wait around.We also don’t expect that what we build will be perfect for everyone, so we’re still going to allow people to run their own support systems if they prefer.
BTW could you guys put that “Get Support” button on all item pages in the mean time? Then let us choose between 4 options:
- no support
- upcoming item forums (disabled for now)
- current comments section
- our very own support forum, i.e. editable URL
VF saidSupport is a pain, but also a nice source for future business. I’m working for 2 US agencies for design projects not related with my files, just because of a support request done some time ago.
... But grrr… some items definitely needs deep level of support.
+1 but when business dealings are not needed (if you are about to focus on microstock), those offers / denial of offers is not helpful for anybody. I have to avoid all of such offers to avoid commitment overloads.
In fact I am sure one of the good thing about making microstock is relieving from “custom” priorities and dedicate on introducing new solutions in the form of stock item. But nowadays the trend is not promising that way. If we look at many of the threads, people are discussing about extending the ways of support channel (with dedicated support staff etc) and maximizing transactions from that way too.
I mean at certain point, microstock authors should think about reducing possibilities of support request and focus on fitness of products towards mass needs. This may not be applicable for TF but other marketplaces.
Agree with @freshface idea for the future support items, but currently we are working with buddypress (general & collaboration) then integrate as long as it goes through within our site. But also we want provide ticketing system for better to track items problem (exclusive)
It’s possible that I was the person you are remembering asking about the updates for customer support, wishing I had pulled the trigger on setting up a support forum instead of waiting on an Envato based solution.
I decided to setup a support site using my Salutation theme and BuddyPress. The way it’s structured, I create a private Group for each theme with its own forum. Once a user registers and attempts to join the group, a plugin I wrote requires the user enter the License Code for the purchase. That is checked against the Envato API and if it is authenticated they can join the group. The plugin is aware of the link between each Group and a specific ThemeForest item so it is only granting access to the support for the specific item the user purchased.
This system is working REALLY well and my customers are for the most part very happy with it. I would say the number one request for improvement is the search, which anyone who knows about BuddyPress search is aware it might as well not exist. I added a PHP search indexing engine to the mix to create a custom search (capable of indexing the private groups) and that does well. I hope to improve that area more so the search results are a little better and easier to target specific issues.
A small minority of customers get frustrated with needing to register on our forum for support. In these cases I try and use email instead, but overall we now have a very active community for lots of involvement from customers helping each other, sharing tips, even writing add-on code for the theme which they share with the community. I’m really happy with the overall result and encourage anyone thinking of starting a forum to do so. I don’t even like to check the TF comments area for pre-sales questions no that I’m so comfortable with our forum.
If you’re interested in seeing the result: http://para.llel.us/support/
Also, if anyone has our theme already and would like a copy of the plugins we built to do the License verification just shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to share it with you.
We are working on some better tools to help you support your items
That’s great. Please bear in mind that support is mostly done by support staff that should not have access to our main envato account. Support system that will not work properly for most authors will only increase issues and customer frustration if I tell them to move away from themeforest and register to our own dedicated support forum.