The SaaS support model

Wednesday Jun 30

I get a lot of questions from people over different channels. Some users write me emails with technical questions, other use skype or slack or github issues. And most of the time I write the following answer:

Dear User, Please understand that we only give support over the community forum. Please open a support ticket there and it will be answered as soon as possible.

In this blog post I want to explain the reasons behind that.

Everything has to do with money and in this case the answer is as simple as that. If you only pay 20€ / month you get the support you paid for. The average rate for freelance developer in Germany is about 80€ / hour, perhaps a little bit lower. If we want to be a sustainable business model we have to take this into account. So if you pay 20€ / month we can only give you 15 min support and then we would loose a lot of money because we also have to pay for other services such as compute and traffic costs and of course we want to earn some money. But it is not very likely that we can give good support in such a short time because some questions are more complicated.

Therefore we have to find a way how to make support cheaper. The first goal is of course to make the product as easy as possible so that you have less questions. A good documentation also helps. Both are areas where improvements could and should be made.

But you cannot make a product good enough that nobody has questions and you also have to support people in case of downtimes. Therefore the forum is essential because it provides a lot of advantages:

  1. In the best case you only have to answer a question once because other people can join a conversion and find solutions in the forum.
  2. The community can also help with answering questions. It does not happen very often and you cannot expect it for a paid solution, but it helps.

Therefore the community forum is our choice for support requests.

Sometimes people also ask for exceptions and why I cannot just answer their email right now. I have done that before and where often the same people continue to ask questions over email (or any other channel) because it has been worked before. Honestly, I would very likely do the same, because it is great to have a direct and exclusive contact with another person, also in a professional environment.

Of course there are exceptions, for example when some people have very complicated cases and the discussion becomes too complicated when all confident information are removed from code samples or logs. And sometimes a cases is very interesting, for example when a user wants to import a few million records and we work toghether to make this happen.

But in general I kindly ask everybody just use the forum.