As all of our community team members and deputies will be aware, we are currently using SupportPress to power our support desk and handle all of the emails sent to support [at] wordcamp [dot] org. This includes any custom emails, as well as organiser applications (for meetups & WordCamps), meetup venue requests, budget submissions, and absolutely everything else that involves direct communication between the community team and our organisers.
As everyone who uses this platform will also be aware, SupportPress has some limitations in terms of what it is capable of, and it requires fairly regular maintenance in order for it to continue running as we need it to. All this to say that, while it works for our needs, it could definitely be a lot better and make our community management a lot more efficient.
There have been a number of reasons why we have remained with SupportPress for so long, but suffice it to say that the time has now come to move on to something more suited to the needs of our ever-growing community. With more organisers coming on board every month, which brings along with it a much higher volume of communications coming through SupportPress, we need to switch to something that will help us serve the broader community more effectively and more efficiently.
With that in mind, I have been looking into some options for an alternative support desk for the team to use. I’m not going to go into all the details of each platform that I looked at (as that would make for a very long post and I’m sure many of you are already familiar with most of the options), but I will list them all here to show that I have done the due diligence before coming to any kind of conclusions.
What all of these options do have in common, however, are a number of incredibly useful features that will make all of our lives a lot easier:
- Tickets can be assigned to individuals
- Notes appear in chronological order with the rest of the ticket replies
- We can reply to tickets via email
- Ticket search is much more robust
- Full-featured macros are much more effective then simple predefs
- Notifications from tickets are far more helpful
- Much easier ticket management
- Good-looking UI
- Numerous service integrations (like Slack, for example)
- Straight forward custom developer integration (for linking tickets up with WordCamp.org data)
- The ability to scale with us without costing us more
- A feature set that we will make full use of
If you’ve ever used any kind of support desk then I’m sure you will have some form of familiarity with most of those concepts.
So, with all of this in mind, here are the options that I looked at as a replacement for SupportPress (in no particular order):
- Help Scout
Based on the above list of criteria, the best options for the needs of the community team seem to be: Help Scout and Zendesk, with the strong front runner being Help Scout. One of the big reasons being that we can use the free plan for Help Scout (and it will scale for our needs), while Zendesk would cost us $5/user/month.
Deputies, we want to hear from you! If you have any other options for help desk platforms or any other thoughts on what we should be looking for in terms of features, then please comment on here so the entire team can discuss it.
Pinging a few deputies who are active in SupportPress and thus probably have a stronger opinion than most: