Archive for the ‘Support’ Category

Shouldn’t a company’s web site be the first place you look for product support? Why isn’t it? At least for me, I’ve been to enough support sites to know that you are going to find much better information elsewhere on the web.

Yesterday, when I wanted to find out if I can run my D-Link NAS (DNS-323), which is a great product by the way, as a web server, I went straight to the web and found this forum. There is a lot of useful information here that you would never find at the D-Link site. Now I don’t want to pick on D-Link as most companies do the same thing. What I want to show is that companies need to embrace these communities and tie them into their own site. These are some of your best product evangelists. Companies should be looking to these communities to build conversations about their products.

Unfortunately, there seems to be too much fear. Companies fear backlash from people who use the knowledge on these sites to brick their system. I’d argue that there is much more to gain by working with and supporting such communities than there is in possible losses due to a few people who run into problems. There is also the potential for a huge savings in support costs just with the customers who have their questions answered by people you’re not even paying. Plus, if you add a D-Link voice to the community, you can foster a relationship with people which will build respect for your brand and continued success for future products.

If you want to find an example of this, check out DBSTalk.com. The DirecTv HR20 forum has an admin (Earl) who receives first hand knowledge from DirecTv on bug fixes, product updates, and service questions. Earl doesn’t work for DirecTv but the knowledge comes from them with a complete understanding of how it will be used. The value of this is amazing. Not only has it helped with all of the complaints about the product, but I’m sure it has saved the company thousands in service calls. DirecTv is also leveraging this community to beta test releases before it rolls out the final software. Although, there continues to be problems, this lone voice is invaluable to DirecTv. It’s just too bad that that they haven’t jumped into the conversation first hand. Or better yet, linked to DBSTalk.com from their support site.

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