Improving //42 Support
Let’s start with a little background info…we are a team of 2, Keven & Edson. We conceptualize, plan, build, project-manage, QA, market, and release Parallel 42 products. One would think that’s the end of the cycle, but not so much. With the number of unique systems globally, every release, update, or patch generates its share of support tickets. You guessed it; we do the support too! (Shout out to Raul of FSReborn that dives in to help with tickets for products he has worked on!) This background info isn’t meant to be an excuse, just setting the stage.
You are a customer of ours, and it’s our job to get your product running correctly, and if we’re unable to fix it, to learn as much as we can from your experience for additional development in the future. These parallel interactions can quickly become an ongoing conversation of troubleshooting or discovery. Naturally, it’s easy for the 2 of us to get saturated and run out of available bandwidth to treat each of you with the singular attention you deserve. Over the past few weeks, we’ve realized that we may have “dropped a few calls.” We are sorry, and it’s time for solutions to be put in place.
Disclaimer: This is not us saying we will make everyone happy. That’s impossible; I’m looking at you that’s about to ask for a free upgrade of ChasePlane to MSFS 2020 because you bought it 3yrs ago and want it that way!
A Better Funnel
We once thought it would be good to have user-to-user support forums in flight sim communities with high activity; these forums still claim there is a benefit. However, we noticed that it gave the impression that we actively checked these forums, no matter how many times or ways we explained it was purely for user-to-user support, we often found threads of people raging at us. Of course, by that point, it’s too late even to begin to make things right; the first impression is ruined.
We will be shutting down all user-to-user support forums on 3rd party sites that are not ours or actively monitored. This change includes AVSIM and ORBX forums.
As you saw in our previous blog post, we recently created a public //42 Discord Server. We’ve already seen the community blossom and help each other; it’s been a beautiful sight. Everyone there knows to help others into the official support portal if stumped. This will be our official user-to-user support community; it creates a better funnel for //42 customers requiring technical assistance to find us with ease. User-to-User communities like ours can often provide you a MUCH FASTER answer. It also serves as a staging area for Release Candidate (RC) builds and our public testers to help test new updates & features. Well worth joining!
Airports can handle a large number of inbound and outbound flights, thanks to the work of Air Traffic Controllers. These individuals are responsible for getting planes on the ground or in the air and handing them off. They are capable of managing many simultaneous requests prioritizing urgency, and balancing the overall load. We’re excited to expand our team with a new member; he will be responsible for monitoring our Discord, escalating requests into the Official Support Portal, and keeping an eye out for aging interactions. Many of the questions we receive have documented knowledgebase articles that solve the issue; over time, he’ll be more comfortable identifying when to send those out for even quicker resolutions.
Our team will hold weekly meetings where we will “touch” all requests, whether it requires input from our customers or from us. This process will ensure no request for approach goes unnoticed.
A growing company is really exciting, but with that growth comes a strain on resources, and that’s where things get a bit scary. I hope that these changes help to ease the pain a little bit on all of us. Imagine a day spent doing support, that’s a day spent not developing, or testing, or releasing. We thank you for your patience as we expand and refine our customer support options. Never forget, we WANT to help you, it’s our job to do so, and when you need us, we’re ready with two great options.
PS: Go easy on the new guy…