Your users reside in 24 different time zones. I'm a bit skeptical about the usefulness of any type of live chat or message system. It may only add to a customers frustration if they don't get an immediate response from something they perceive as a real time system.

You guys have never implemented a plain old ticket system.Why is that? It's something a lot of internet users are accustomed to. Why try to reinvent support systems when you have your hands full with development chores? A lot of see more people think the ticket system in Trac is for support, so they are already familiar with ticket systems. What you guys were thinking when you put Trac under the 'Help' menu, is beyond my comprehension.... it wasn't a smart thing to do.

If it were me, I'd implement a ticket system that a group of 'Ticket Agents' could access, and tickets could be 'claimed' by an agent in that group. Once the ticket is claimed, no one else can interact with the customer unless the ticket is released by the ticket agent that claimed it. A problem I often see in the forums, is that a question can receive a perfectly good answer, then several more people come along and give not so good answers. There are many cases where more is not better... more sometimes creates a fog. I'm sure there are ready made ticket systems that can be used. If the agent that claimed the ticket can not resolve it, then they have the option of kicking it up to a higher support level, ie, you guys at Boonex. It would give you guys at Boonex a front line of defense, so you wouldn't have to tend to a lot of minor problems, most of which are because of a users inexperience with Dolphin.

For this to work, you'll have to have some sort of incentive program for 'Ticket Agents'. Award points for each ticket successfully resolved. Perhaps points could be redeemed for special products in the market available only to Ticket Agents. If there were some really cool products, it would incentivize people to become ticket agents, and then to put in more work on tickets.
Now that is the best suggestion yet! This is how most respectable internet sites do it. My hosting companies do it this way and also have a way to "escalate" a ticket if it is too complex. Great idea HL.
Andrew Boon
Thank you! Great suggestions!

We are in fact using a ticket system, but only for direct communication. Used to run our own, but switched to "Groove" help-desk platform (just need to focus our development on Dolphin, instead of all the "infrastructure" tools). And so far it's been great - users don't need to know it's a ticket system - they just exchange emails with us, but we see them as a group, assigning, prioritising, tagging, etc.

So, I do agree that we may not be very see more effective with the "online chat" thing due to time-zones and the nature of most requests. Today or tomorrow we will likely change the "offline" chat badge to a little Knowledge Base popup with direct email button. This should filter out good 70-80% of common questions.

Now, your idea about connecting with forum as a first line of defence is really attractive! First, as AlexT suggested we should improve the forums a bit - add the "best answer" labels, add "resolved" topics. Then, perhaps add a new group like "Experts" which would include the most helpful members and knowledgeable developers, and allow them to nominate Best answers. These things could be useful for general Dolphin forum as well.

And next step, just for Boonex.com would be to integrate an "Ask BoonEx Team" button to topics that can't be resolved. This would send us a ticket to support@boonex.com and we'd publish the answer in the topic.

How does that sound?
Andrew Boon
And I guess we can still keep the online chat running for the times when we are online, but no mention of it when we're not online.
Below is the legacy version of the Boonex site, maintained for Dolphin.Pro 7.x support.
The new Dolphin solution is powered by UNA Community Management System.