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  1. #1

    using public forums

    I know that a few well known hosting companies include publicly accessible forums on their sites. I can see the advantages of this, but I can also see the disadvantages.

    Anybody have any comments about this subject?
    Is it a good idea?
    Joel Moss
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  2. #2
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    I think forums are a great thing. It can help take the load off of your support team also, as the user would post on the forums and even a regular visitor could help answer his question for him. The only disadvantage i see is if a customer gets angry, yet that can turn into a great thing if you publicly are able to fix it right away and make things right. Also, showing honesty and that you have nothing to hide goes a long ways with the customers.

  3. #3
    I think its a good way to reduce the volume of queries coming in via email, nothing worse than getting 10 emails a day all asking the same thing

    With forums the knowledge grows and every post contributes to someone else's understanding of your services, so I'm all for it personally.
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  4. #4
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    It's all about building .COMmunities. This builds loyaly and you create a collective where information is shared for the good of the many. We're kind of going along that track.
    AussieHost.com Aussie Bob, host since 2001
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  5. #5
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    It also allows customers to submit support requests, and ask other peopel for help. In the end, it because somewhat of a Knowledge Base.
    Kaumil P.

  6. #6
    But I can see that it would only become useful if people used it. For example Dialtone recently introduced its own customer forums, but they are hadly ever used. But they aren't public - they are only accessible to customers. Is that why they aren't used as much?

    Should your forums be publicly accessible so prospective customers can see all good and bad

    - or -

    should they be restricted to customers only, thus safeguarding against prospective customers seeing any bad comments?
    Joel Moss
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  7. #7
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    Well, maybe Dialtone hasn't done a good job of keeping their clients close together, etc. Who knows, there could be many reasons to why their clients hardly use the forums.

    Maybe allowing non-dialtone members onto the boards, might help them. Take a look at RackShack for example, their forums are used heavily, I think its due to the fact that Robert creates a personal touch with his clients.

    That's a key
    Kaumil P.

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by joelmoss
    But I can see that it would only become useful if people used it. For example Dialtone recently introduced its own customer forums, but they are hadly ever used. But they aren't public - they are only accessible to customers. Is that why they aren't used as much?
    Hard to tell if the .COMmunity concept can work for a huge company like Dialtone. That's a tricky one.
    Should your forums be publicly accessible so prospective customers can see all good and bad
    IMO, yes. It's a great sales tool. I get emails all the time about how folks love the way our site/forum is out in the open and they can access all parts [except the staff forum ]. It presents an image of confidence and transparency. Folks like that very much.
    should they be restricted to customers only, thus safeguarding against prospective customers seeing any bad comments?
    That's the downside and that's the major reason why most hosts don't provide public access to parts of their forum. It's just one of those tough choices you have to make.
    AussieHost.com Aussie Bob, host since 2001
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  9. #9
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    Hard to tell if the .COMmunity concept can work for a huge company like Dialtone. That's a tricky one.
    1) RS towers over Dialtone, and it works fine. Not to mention our admins have been known to stop buy and do some searches for fixes at RS.

    2) Pair is the godfather of .COMmunity as you call it. They are the first company I can remember to do this. They are huge in terms of customers.

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by UmBillyCord
    [B] 1) RS towers over Dialtone, and it works fine. Not to mention our admins have been known to stop buy and do some searches for fixes at RS.
    Yes, I've dropped by there once or twice.
    2) Pair is the godfather of .COMmunity as you call it. They are the first company I can remember to do this. They are huge in terms of customers.
    Where is their .COMmunity?
    AussieHost.com Aussie Bob, host since 2001
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  11. #11
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  12. #12
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    Originally posted by UmBillyCord
    http://pair.com/pair/support/community/
    Interesting how they take the newsgroup approach rather than web based forums. Newsgroups were the original communities I guess.

    Does your company use forums or newsgroups in any way??
    AussieHost.com Aussie Bob, host since 2001
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  13. #13
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    aussiebob has the right idea. the support is easier because people have another place to go for information, but the community aspect has a great marketing potential. You get to fish from your own private pond, and it keeps people coming to your site.
    Learn survival/prepper information from a combat veteran at Graywolf Survival

  14. #14
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    Originally posted by joelmoss
    For example Dialtone recently introduced its own customer forums, but they are hadly ever used. But they aren't public - they are only accessible to customers. Is that why they aren't used as much?
    Yes, I've been a bit disappointed at the turn out, which is something which will be brought up. I think the sales agents need to 'push' it a bit more, and encourage use of it. I'm not certain as to what types of notice customers get (if any) and any newletters (again if any) to remind them, etc.

    Originally posted by hostingplex
    Well, maybe Dialtone hasn't done a good job of keeping their clients close together, etc. Who knows, there could be many reasons to why their clients hardly use the forums.

    Maybe allowing non-dialtone members onto the boards, might help them.
    Well, clients weren't kept close together before this, as errrrmmmm.. well there wasn't a way for them to be together. I cannot really say why posting has been slow, could be many things. I know a couple of suggestions posted, however I'm not certian that these suggestions alone would suddenly increase posting. So many possible reasons, I'd hate to speculate. A poll sent to customers would be better than me guessing.

    Although the forums might, one day, be opened up to non-dialtone members, currently it is an extension of the mymanagedhosting (which combined support services for customers into one site).
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    Chicken

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