Categories: Discussions

Why you should listen to Seth

Seth Bindernagel wrote an excellent post about his experiences when helping us out during last week’s SUMO Day. He chose to focus mostly on the Live Chat component of SUMO, and ended up spending quite a bit of his Friday afternoon helping Firefox users out. In his insightful blog post, he touches on some things I think is worth talking a little bit more about.

  • Without a healthy Knowledge Base acting as the backbone of our Firefox community support, our Live Chat and forum offerings would never be possible to maintain because of the incredible pressure it would put on the amazing people helping us out. This relationship between the Knowledge Base and the more direct user-to-user support alternatives is important to be aware of. Writing or improving an article in the Knowledge Base not only helps our users — it helps our helpers as well.
  • I’ve always maintained that Live Chat and the forum should be considered as the “last resort” support offering from a user’s perspective, simply because of it’s non-volatile and targeted nature compared to the more permanent and distributed resource that our Knowledge Base is. When a user chooses Live Chat or the forum to get help, it should be taken as a sign that the Knowledge Base didn’t contain the solution to the problem, or that the user simply couldn’t find it. With that in mind, you quickly realize how important this “last resort” option is — that’s where the most frustrated users will end up, because they couldn’t find the solution they were looking for.
  • Interestingly, many of our most respectable contributors started out by helping out with Live Chat, and later on progressed to become involved with the SUMO project as a whole. Maybe this is because when you help out with Live Chat, you quickly realize the importance of having the answers to the user’s questions available in the Knowledge Base?
  • SUMO is a community effort; the fact that many people start out with Live Chat might not be very surprising considering it’s the most social form of user-to-user support — if you exclude walking over to your friends to help them face to face. Maybe it’s the social part of the community that made Seth and many others start with the “last resort” end of SUMO? Maybe that’s a good thing?

In conclusion, I’m really excited to see our SUMO community grow. No matter what your interests are in the project, you’re always welcome to share your ideas with us (or bombard us with hard questions) in the #sumo channel on!