Paid Support

We just launched the Automattic Support Network which is a place for companies to purchase paid support for WordPress and MU. Originally I didn't think we'd need to do this, simply because the WordPress.org support forums are so amazing and there is such a good community around it. That hasn't changed, but some big companies and enterprise folks are uncomfortable with volunteer support, and want (and insist) on paying someone before deploying a product. Based on that feedback and a lot of input from Podz, we put together this new product, which is basically VIP support with a guaranteed response time. Toni has some more thoughts here. We also rolled out new pricing for commercial Akismet use a few days ago, and the response has been great so far.

14 thoughts on “Paid Support

  1. “Response time Basic: 1 business day Premium: 6 hours”

    This confuses me. Would you be literally waiting for the 6 hours to go past before serving any basic customers?

  2. After reading further down, I see it is sort of guaranteed response time rather than actual response time. Please excuse :)

  3. I think there’s definately a place for paid support of WordPress and probably most somewhat popular open source CMS/blogging platforms.

    I was doing some temp/contract work for the local paper on doing some mantience and configuring of a blogging community project based on Drupal (which was an interesting experience… wouldn’t have been what I would have chose to do what they’re doing) and one of the things that struck me was how different it is to go onto support forums when you’re in a situation where you have people higher up on the food chain lording over you because you haven’t gotten an immediate responce to the questions and problems you’re currently having from trying to make a toaster oven behave like a oven.

    From what I’ve noticed about support forums in various projects in the open source world is that A. you may not get an instaneous responce. and B. a responce isn’t guarenteed.

    I’ve also noticed that how people phrase questions often dictate what kind of responce they get… If you’re frusterated and come off as rude or overly demanding, people are more likely to ignore your question, even if valid…. From what I’ve seen, the businses world prefers to pay for support because they’re frusterated, need an answer now because the boss is breathing down their neck rather than to swallow their frusteration, write a nice and polite post and wait for two days for a responce.

    And some people just don’t have the knack for support forums and irc support….

    The guy I worked with on the blogging project at the paper is one of those people who comes off frusterated and rude and thus doesn’t end up getting very much help. He was literally amazed how fast I could get information from off of the Drupal forum when he couldn’t get anyone to respond to him.

    My fiance Matt is the same way with IRC support… He goes into a support room and asks a question, and everyone ignores him…. I go into the same support room and five minutes later I emerge triumphant with an answer.

  4. I think that nikkiana may underestimate the value of breasts in influencing support response times. Sometimes getting an answer really is as simple as changing your IRC nick from “Chris” to “Christine”.

  5. Good move on your part. Paid, professional support is what an open source project like WordPress needs to pass at the enterprise level.

  6. I’m not surprised. We categorically refuse to implement any product without confirmed vendor support. The issue (perceived or real) with a volunteer community is that it is, at best, a best-efforts endeavour. If I have a guaranteed service level for support, then I know two things: 1. I know how long it will take to get attention to my problem, and 2. I can contractually beat my supplier upside the head if things break. It’s risk mitigation.

    I’m curious to know what enterprises consider this to be that critical to their daily life, but I’ve been embedded in very traditional corporations for a while now.

  7. Smart move there!! :)

    “Response time Basic: 1 business day Premium: 6 hours”

    This confuses me. Would you be literally waiting for the 6 hours to go past before serving any basic customers?

    After reading further down, I see it is sort of guaranteed response time rather than actual response time.

    I guess that it might also mean that Basic users will not be answered after-hours while Premium users will be, no? ;)

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