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Poor support channels?

Guest RichM

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I've been a vBulletin user for almost 6 years. In that time, I have had many experiences with them and have formed an understanding on how they operate. One thing which I think they excel on, is customer support.

If I had a problem with my vBulletin forum, most of the time I'd just search on their community forum, and usually I'd find a solution. If not, I'd just make a topic about it, and most of the time, a user would provide a solution to my problem. In contrast, users are often directed to the ticket system on this forum. I've found topics related to some problems I've had so far, but the staff just say "Please open a ticket" - So basically, there's no solution for me other than to open a ticket. (Which unfortunately, the response times so far haven't been great)

Forums have one major advantage over tickets, given that it allows customers and staff to:

1. Get support from other users
2. Search for a problem which they may be experiencing (under the assumption that others may have had the same problem in the past)
3. Reduce time and resources spent on providing support (If people can find a solution to their problem in a topic that someone else created, then they're not going to open a ticket or make a phone call)
4. Above all, forum support is perhaps more efficient and often more effective than ticket based support

Also, there is a lack of support forums. vBulletin has support forums for each of its vBulletin versions (except for non-supported versions) and then they're broken down even further, so that people can post and search in a forum which is relevant to their issue.

To improve support I think:

1. The forum should be a primary source for support
2. Staff should provide support on the forum
3. There should be more support related forums, perhaps:
- Installation & Upgrade Problems
- Troubleshooting
- Questions
- Conversion questions & problems
4. Ticket based support should be a secondary support option imo

Obviously these are just my suggestions, not demands.

Thank you for your time. :)


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While I agree support's presence on the forums should be increased, I don't think it should be to the extent that primary support is through the forums.

For one, the ticket system is more secure and acts a central hub for all your support requests. If support personnel started working in the P2P support forums here, how are they supposed to know which products a customer is using, their ACP location and login details, or other private information? They can't just ask them in the thread; other customers can view them. Even if we restricted it down to where only the topic owners could view the topic, you're just essentially creating a less efficient ticket system. Not to mention you have other customers pitching in where they may be mistaken, and then you'll have conflicting advice.

Like I said earlier, though, I do think there should be more presence in the P2P forums from the staff. Kind of like "unofficial", "casual" advice, something that I've seen Jason doing recently. Not only would it help alleviate some of the worries Rich has here, but it would give IPS a lot of quality feedback on what can be improved. There's a lot of things that happen in the P2P forums that could benefit IPS if they only knew about them. It gives them kind of an inside look into their customers' heads. As far as it increasing work load, sure it would, but don't you all have "down times"? I'm sure you do, or you should hire more people. There's bound to be times where there are no outstanding tickets that one or two people can flick through the posts, offering up a suggestion here and there.

And as far as your comments on the quality of the support... I'm really surprised you feel that way. I've found it to be the opposite, and I have found that most of the people who give feedback do as well. You also have to keep in mind that this past week was Christmas, so that undoubtedly slowed support down.

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I understand what you're saying. But the problem we face is a lot of the time, if someone has a complicated problem which isn't a simple solution, it quite often does require FTP/ACP access to fix. The other problem is a lot of the time people try to help without actually knowing what they're doing which messes things up, which we the support technicians have to fix.
And that is why, when someone has a complicated problem the response is often "submit a ticket".
Brandon is absolutely spot-on with the reasons the ticket system is preferred over the P2P support forums.

I'm not sure what the support topics at vBulletin are like, but beyond really basic questions the nature of technical support is that many problems can't have the solution searched for. We are however, working on a knowledgebase for IPB 3 which will hopefully deal with those problem with known solutions.

The problem with us going into the P2P forums is there is only so many hours in the day: I am a little confused by how you asked for us to be in the P2P forums more but also complained about ticket response times...
I did find your comments about the P2P forums though Brandon, very interesting and will personally take that on-board.

In regards to your comment about bad ticket response times, could you provide me with ticket ID numbers so I can look up what happened? Normally I feel our ticket response times are very good.

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I noticed you mentioned there were no P2P support forums, but there are. :)


You are certainly free to utilize them to the fullest. We only provide official support through the ticket system, however. We have only so many employees, or "hours in a day" as Mark put it, and we have to dedicate our employees to providing the best service and response times possible. As noted, if your experiences were over a weekend (holiday or not), the response times would likely have been skewed a little. :) Under normal circumstances, tickets receive a response within a day, often within an hour.

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  • Management

One other point I would like to mention is that the majority of our customers do not visit our company forums here. The majority far prefer the privacy and one-to-one nature of a support ticket to posting their problem on a public forum.

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One other point I would like to mention is that the majority of our customers do not visit our company forums here. The majority far prefer the privacy and one-to-one nature of a support ticket to posting their problem on a public forum.

That is very much true, at least for me. I feel more comfortable if I open a ticket about my problem (a serious one) in the comfort and privacy of the Client Center Panel rather than posting it in a public forum. And I think that that is the best way to follow if you have a somewhat complicated problem with your forum. Cause like that you know for sure that it will be dealt with accordingly by the pros of the ipb staff.

About the support level, I will have to say that it is the best. At least my experience with support has been very satisfactory. Anytime that I started a ticket with my problem, I have had quick response and the problem is fixed in a very professional and efficient way. And the staff is very pleasant and nice. So I will take this opportunity to thank them once again from the bottom of my heart for all the help that they have given me and wish them e very Happy New Year. :)
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