We are planning to implement a new support system for all our WordImpress.com customers. It’s called Help Scout and we think you’re going to love it.
We launched Help Scout on GiveWP.com several months ago. Since then we’ve noticed that our support is much more responsive, users are happier, and we have really good reporting that gives us an overview of performance. All of these things are major benefits that we feel we’re missing out on with our current bbPress system on WordImpress.com.
Forums vs Support Dashboard
There’s been quite a few different WordPress professionals who have various things to say about whether public forums are better than Support ticketing systems or vice versa. Syed Balkhi has a very detailed overview of why they switched to Help Scout. FooPlugins wrote on why they recently switched from HelpScout to bbPress (the system we’re now leaving). Pippin Williamson also expressed his reasons for moving away from bbPress to Help Scout. So which is right? Which is better?
There are great reasons to use bbPress. It’s a great plugin that many, many, MANY WordPress developers have earned their coding stripes working on. It’s a great way to start to get to know the broader WordPress community. Having public pages generated about your plugin for every single issue creates lots of SEO juice for your website. Users get to interact with each other, and if you moderate well you can really garner strong customer loyalty. The public aspect of bbPress is a big strength and one I personally will miss in this move.
But Help Scout really shines in giving you a strong Dashboard for seeing the whole state of your support in one glance. Being able to navigate between tickets very easily. Reporting is really critical. Customers get to reply to everything just by email and don’t have to login to your site every time they want to update a ticket.
At the end of the day, bbPress is simply a different method of support than a ticketing system like Help Scout. It’s up to you to decide what is best for your workflow and your users. We’d love to see folks in the community take bbPress more seriously and perhaps fork it to a more dedicated support ticket system; or extend what Pippin Williamson started with his bbPress Support extension. Honestly, we have championed that ourselves throughout all of 2015 but have come to the point at which we feel like spending that time — while fun and interesting — is actually a distraction from doing actual Support, which is our job.
Why We’re Excited about HelpScout
For us, we noticed that we were spending a lot of time adding additional functionality to our bbPress forum in order to do things we wanted to do that Help Scout did out of the box. We found that finding the latest tickets that were open and waiting was often difficult, or that new replies were easily missed just because of how hard it is to navigate through the forums.
It’s also difficult to customize the “New Ticket” form, particularly per plugin that we sell. For example, we want to see the problem and need to add a field to the form to ask our users for the website URL where the problem exists. That’s super easy with Help Scout, but not so much with bbPress. Customized input forms means we help you provide us the necessary information so your ticket has all the things we need to understand your problem right away and give you an actionable response rather than saying “Can you give me a link to your site so I can see the problem?” That turnaround time really slows down our ability to help you solve the issue as quickly as possible.
We also would get contacted occasionally by a user who couldn’t login to our website to update their support ticket — which meant we were doing support for our support system. Ug!
These things and others are what make us look forward to these great features of Help Scout on WordImpress.com:
- One single intake form that asks the customer for all the information we need to understand their issue fully
- Automatically tagging new tickets based on form keywords
- Simple overview of all open tickets
- Really easy navigation throughout all tickets
- Customers will have to login to submit a ticket, but after that all interaction is done via email only.
We feel strongly that these features will improve our ability to help our customers greatly.
What to Expect this Week
What this means is that this week we’ll be slowly transitioning to Help Scout. Our Forums will be closing down and new tickets will not be able to be opened any longer. All the tickets will continue to be accessible for reading, but no new tickets will be able to be created. You can see exactly what that looks like on our Give Forums here.
If you have any thoughts or concerns, we’d love to hear them in the comments below. Thanks!