Client Support Evolving
We’ve been huge fans of GetSatisfaction.com over the years so when we launched myBookingWizard.com last year we immediately adopted GetSatisfaction for client-side support. It does, however, lack a number of critical features including different security and access layers and also a proper knowledge base so we’ve been on the hunt for a system to replace GetSatisfaction. We’ve been pretty exhaustive so I thought I’d share the process and the products we looked at.
Before I start I thought I’d explain what we were wanting from our new Client Support System.
- Create new support tickets
- Record / document activity on tickets
- Assign, share and collaborate on resolving tickets
- A good escalation process to easily and quickly deal with mega-urgent problems and show-stoppers
- External (internet) publishing of How-to guides and Reference documentation
- Integrated with both our myBookingWizard.com and Connected-uk.com web sites
- Support HTML code/snippets
- A good search engine
- A simple system that didn’t involve a steep, long or difficult learning curve
- Something that fits with our Agile development and management philosophy
Doesn’t sound that hard and also feels like a pretty common requirement but when we really got into reviewing and trialling solutions it became a hunt for the holy grail. We tried over 20 products and, generally, found them either too complex (=restrictive + steep learning curve) or too comprehensive (=stepping on toes of existing systems).
The short list ended up as Tender, Interspire, Knowledgebase Manager and as an outside bet Lighthouse. A few notable ones (RallyDev, for example) never made the list as our focus is HELPING CLIENTS and not micro-managing big teams of faceless developers. Sadly, although great products in their own right they really didn’t cut the mustard so we stepped back and looked at what we really need to do to support our client base.
We’ve used Basecamp (the classic version) heavily since the end of 2007 so we carried out a quick needs analysis and found that with some slight changes we could manage all the ticket aspects of client support and therefore we were looking for a good knowledge base system with web-site integration. We found this in the oddest corner. WordPress. Well, SofaQ&A Knowledge Base to be exact. We’re huge advocates of the WordPress Platform and use it extensively in combination with NetDNA excellent CDN. The combination of the two gives us a lot of grunt, great speed and as we host the platform on the cloud it’s simpler to manage, more scaleable and has almost zero support cost.
So welcome to our new Client Support Network, a dedicated place for clients to access support and for the outside world to look under the hood of the world’s simplest and fastest online booking system. Clients have been issued usernames and passwords to access restricted content so if you’re a valued customer and not got your yet then drop us a line.