Question about lightning fast response time in minutes

Hi. I'm a new member here and got interested because of the Subscribers plug-in.

I have a couple questions about it, which I submitted. I noticed the site advertises "lightning fast support" with answers within minutes. I posted my question 5 hours ago and there hasn't been a response yet.

I guess I really just want to know what kind of support to expect going forward should I continue. It all looks very interesting and nice. But I wanted to know what the real support policy is.



  • aristath

    Hello again Doug,
    We do try to respond ASAP.
    This post for example is getting an answer 3 minutes after you posted it.
    However, we all live in different timezones.
    I for example live in Greece.
    The post you're referring to is one that I answered to yesterday, and 5 hours ago you replied there. At that time I was sleeping like a baby. Now that I'm working I'll get on it. :slight_smile:
    We have people all around the globe working 24/7 to ensure you get the support you deserve.
    BUT timezone differences sometimes make immediate replies simply impossible to achieve.


  • Doug

    Thank you for your reply. I just wanted to get a realistic idea of what support turn-around time is like so I understand. I'm in Tokyo, so my own work day is different from the U.S. Some places (e.g. Linode) seem to have really fast support ticket response times 24/7. Other places can take a day or two to respond.

    I wouldn't not stay a member if I knew the realistic response time was, say, half a day or so. I just wouldn't hang around waiting for an answer. :slight_smile:

    I think your advertising should be realistic about this I guess.



  • Dev4

    To give you an idea of what to expect, from a fellow members perspective.
    By my experience your question will usually get a response in minutes when you first post it. Then whichever staff member has answered it is usually the person who will respond to any further questions on that thread. So that can be a while if they are not working at the moment.

    Because of how that works, if i am wanting a quick answer, i try to anticpate (the best that I can) what they will ask me, and i try to give all of e info i can in my first post.
    This reduces the time for back and forth on clarifying the issue.

    I am hoping that they willl at some point share tickets more than they do now(between staff), so that an urgent ticket with a back and forth dialog can be responded to by another support person when the first responder is off duty

    I think understanding how it works should help you know how more of what to expect.

  • Doug

    I think your impression seems to be correct. There are quick initial responses. Then if the original responder is gone there can be 5+ (I don't know the limit yet) hours between subsequent responses.

    These WPMU DEV people seem like pretty nice folks. They should just be more accurate in their advertising I think. For example, "Initial responses within minutes. Followups, as needed could take more time depending on the support people assigned to your question."

    That would still be fair to say. And not give the impression of 24/7 "always there" support, which it really isn't. Linode is a case of real 24/7 support. The ticket gets passed off to whomever is there.



  • Dev4

    I understand. I know they are always working on improvements to the system and i am hoping the handoff aspect is something they pick up as well.

    You are right about them being good folks though. I don't think i have ever experienced an on line support team that is this willing to help and even at times go beyond the expected level of support.

    The community also jumps in at times to lend a hand, so all in all it has been a great experience for me.

  • Dev4

    Here is a tip that can help at times.
    If you have more than one peeson who has been active on a thread, and you want to call their attention to the thread, use the @Doug type address to them in your post...
    Using the @ symbol with thier complete name pings them by email, (members too)

    It can be useful when you can spot a subject matter expert based on other threads as well.
    It is not something we would want to abuse, but in the right context it can be helpful.

  • aristath

    @Dev4 is right about the way this works. But let me just provide some more details:

    Each staff member has a couple of hours/day where we pick-up every new thread that comes in through the forums. These are tailored according to our timezones, so for example I get the posts that get posted between 11am and 1pm my time. the following 2 hours someone else from a different timezone gets the next threads and so on.

    During that time we get a number of posts... let's say we each get 30 new posts. These posts are "assigned" to us and we are responsible for them and their followups.
    This way a staff member that is familiar with the post deals with it and we are able to provide faster support. Now before you say that we should change this and we should each answer to whatever post we want so that posts don't stay unanswered for hours, keep in mind that though this might seem like a good idea for simple posts, there are threads that are pages long and we are each familiar with them, we've spent more than an hour reading, analysing and responding to that thread and as a result if someone else tries to reply there they will have to spend an extra hour just to catch up.

    After that's done, we start our followups.
    Starting from the oldest post that requires an answer from us, we start replying to old posts and move our way up to newer posts.

    This way posts don't stay unanswered for more than a day.

    a delay of a few hours is to be expected because we also have to deal with posts that have been written before your reply and need our attention too.

    It's as effective as a support system can get!
    Sure there's always room for improvement and we keep improving day after day.

    I hope that makes sense... :slight_smile:


  • aristath

    Well, the most important thing that you should do when posting a new question is post all the relevant information.
    For example if you have a presentation issue, be sure to include a link to your site so that we may see it in action and be able to help. Otherwise my answer will be simply to request a link to that website.
    We get a ton of requests like "it don't work, why you no make it work" with no additional info on them. Naturally these take more time to resolve until we actually understand what is going on and fix it.

    In order to fix a problem the first step is understanding that. Once we fully understand the issue then resolving it is most times a simple task. :slight_smile:


  • Timothy Bowers

    Hey guys.

    Just to add, traditionally we tracked threads by RSS feed. It was solid and effective a few years back. But we grew, and we grew, and we continue to grow. Unfortunately this led to some dropped threads, longer delays, etc.

    Just this month (although this has been work in progress for maybe a year) we've introduced a new support system for followups. It's similar to how our initial response system works. It will feed the staff member all of his posts, oldest first where anyone other than a staff member was the last responder. When staff take vacation we can also take their feed to ensure no threads are delayed.

    It's not full automated yet like our first response, it's still experimental, but we're getting there. This is improving response times 10 fold.

    It's still not perfect and we'll continually work at improving it to provide you the best support we possibly can.

    Some companies hide their support forums, some companies use just support desks (so no one sees how long it really takes), some let it all show. I spend time looking around other companies and I often see tickets not even getting a response for after a few days, weeks, and sometimes months. I even occasionally open a ticket just to get a feel for the kind of support other companies give, and from what I've seen I reckon we're the quickest (or at least right up there with the quickest) and most willing to help.

    2014 will bring some cool releases, and continually improved support! :slight_smile:

    Take care.

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