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Old 13 Feb 2008, 20:02
FlyBoy73 FlyBoy73 is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Using a help desk for member support in large communities

In my larger forum, which today has 3.3 million posts and about 130k members, keeping up with members requests in the admin email alone can be daunting, not to mention keeping up with staff requests in our private staff forums.

I decided it was time to look into a real help desk system to both share the load across a number of staff members, keep track and easily find historical data, and speed up the process of helping members and potential members. I can only guess at the number of potential members we have lost because they had problems with their accounts, registering, etc. While I/we have tried to keep up with all the emails, it has been a challenge..

I researched a number of them and decided on using Kayako eSupport. I have a friend that owns a data center and this is what they use along with a number of other DC's I am aware of. One of the larger pluses is that they have a bridge called membershare (I think) that will utilize vB's user db so that forum members won't have to use a second login.

Members can submit tickets via a web interface or by sending an email to our support email account and a new ticket is created. I won't go into all the features since you can see them for yourself here: http://www.kayako.com/esupport.php?page=detail

Currently we are "beta" testing out the system and training certain staff members how to use the system. As soon as vB 3.7 goes gold I we are going to implement a major upgrade of the forums and then integrate the help desk system into the forums, etc.

So far, it has worked out great even with a limited number of staff. I am planning to route all requests through the help desk system ranging from abuse complaints, copyright complaints, account changes.. You name it, it will be done here, and handled by multiple staff rather than one or two. Of course, admin only requests will be assigned to the admin group... Super Mods will handle issues that only super mod or above can handle..

We have around 100 staff members so spreading it out will also speed up response time greatly..

Once everything is fully upgrade / integrated with the site, I'll let everyone know how it shakes out... I think it will be a huge plus to any large / active forum..

Of course, that's just my opinion...
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  #2  
Old 17 Feb 2008, 16:29
davide101 davide101 is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
FlyBoy, can you tell me more about your integration? I'm curious how you plan on linking your existing vbulletin contact form with Kayako. Will it replace your contact forms altogether or will support requests originate with the contact form or some sort of hybrid?

I have a small forum by Big Board standards, but we still receive a few thousand support requests a year. I would love to have auto-responders set up based on the content of the message. This would enormously, especially when I'm on vacation and need to delegate the handling of email support requests. If it can save just five minutes a day, it's worth the expense. For all it does, the software is pretty cheap.
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Diabetes Forum
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  #3  
Old 20 Feb 2008, 08:49
FlyBoy73 FlyBoy73 is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Hi Davide101,

To be honest, I am not sure how far we will go with the integration. I don't want to leave anyone out, so I do and probably will continue to monitor th admin email messages(especially since it won't be so flooded - already has cut down tremendously), but we will have a few pages that are completely integrated with the Help Desk, such as the contact us page going directly to a help desk page with departments listed..

The software also allows for a variety of email addresses to parse directly to the proper department, and I believe it will attempt to handle this on its own as well.

The nicest feature is the one where once you populate the knowledge base, it tries to direct people filling out trouble tickets in the web interface to the information they need. If it isn't useful, they can ignore it and still submit the ticket, but as you build up the knowledge base, the chances of them finding the information they need while filling out their ticket grows..

We have created a staff familiarization and training forum (private) to work on building up our knowledge base, as well as training staff members how to use the system, etc..

Hopefully in the near future I will have a fully working model to exhibit.. I'm confident that it will be a great success, but if it isn't for any reason, I will definitely explain what problems we ran into..

So far, in "beta" testing with only a few staff and limited knowledge to our members, it has worked great.. It's completely alien to our staff and members so I am not trying to force feed it...

David



Originally Posted by davide101 View Post
FlyBoy, can you tell me more about your integration? I'm curious how you plan on linking your existing vbulletin contact form with Kayako. Will it replace your contact forms altogether or will support requests originate with the contact form or some sort of hybrid?

I have a small forum by Big Board standards, but we still receive a few thousand support requests a year. I would love to have auto-responders set up based on the content of the message. This would enormously, especially when I'm on vacation and need to delegate the handling of email support requests. If it can save just five minutes a day, it's worth the expense. For all it does, the software is pretty cheap.
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Old 20 Feb 2008, 15:47
COUPONSAREMYGAM COUPONSAREMYGAM is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
interesting post. Thanks for the link!
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Old 20 Feb 2008, 22:19
davide101 davide101 is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
David, thanks for the detailed post. I've been weighing whether or not it's worth the cost and effort to install right now. Part of me thinks it's easier just to do it and grow into it. Even if it saves 365 support requests a year, it would probably be worth it. The auto-suggest as you type feature could probably take care of 90% of our support requests. We get a lot of the same ones over and over again.

Plus, it would be nice to have auto-responders for when people respond to system-generated emails. No matter how big and bold I make the DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE! text, inevitably someone replies every single day.

Please keep us posted on your progress and let us know how it works out.
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Diabetes Forum
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  #6  
Old 10 Mar 2008, 21:11
wtrk wtrk is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
we use h2desk for our support system. i turned off vbulletins contact us feature and manually replaced the contact us links with links to the support system. we made no attempt to integrate the tickets into the forums. you dont need a separate account to submit a ticket but you can create one if you want. it works good, it makes managing users problems much easier. i highly recomend using some kind of advanced support system if you have more than 10 emails a day related to support matters.
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  #7  
Old 19 Mar 2008, 02:59
COBRAws's Avatar
COBRAws COBRAws is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Real name: Jack
Hey David, I just bought a copy of kayako a few weeks ago, I have the same scenario as you have.

We are still loading up the knowledge base and will be soon routing all questions to the helpdesk.

Right now I have a problem with smods, I dont really know how to give them "staff" access to kayako, anyway, I will get through that in a few days when I finish all the configuration
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Old 19 Mar 2008, 21:13
kontrabass kontrabass is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
FlyBoy, have you tried out Kayako's "LoginShare" plugin, that accesses vB's user list?
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Old 19 Mar 2008, 21:53
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COBRAws COBRAws is offline
 
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Real name: Jack
Originally Posted by kontrabass View Post
FlyBoy, have you tried out Kayako's "LoginShare" plugin, that accesses vB's user list?
It works great. But I dont know how to setup mods like actual helpdesk staff.
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  #10  
Old 20 Mar 2008, 00:47
FlyBoy73 FlyBoy73 is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Originally Posted by kontrabass View Post
FlyBoy, have you tried out Kayako's "LoginShare" plugin, that accesses vB's user list?
I have not yet. I was waiting for v3.7 rc-1 to hit before I did. Not that they just released it, we will probably upgrade within a week or so and then I will work on the loginshare. I hope I don't have to nuke all the tickets we have already handled.

--------------- Added 20 Mar 2008 at 00:50 ---------------

Originally Posted by COBRAws View Post
Hey David, I just bought a copy of kayako a few weeks ago, I have the same scenario as you have.

We are still loading up the knowledge base and will be soon routing all questions to the helpdesk.

Right now I have a problem with smods, I dont really know how to give them "staff" access to kayako, anyway, I will get through that in a few days when I finish all the configuration
Can you manually give them access through the Kayako admin control panel, or does LoginShare remove the ability to do this? I sure hope not. Please let me know what you find out..

I'm loving what we have already and it is just stock...

Last edited by FlyBoy73; 20 Mar 2008 at 00:50. Reason: Auto-Merged DoublePost
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