Customer support is one of the most commons scenarios Zoho Discussions is used (and designed!) for. There are many types of customer support - Zoho Discussions is oriented towards the self-service/community-driven one: customers themselves helping each other through customer support forums. This of course makes sense for a number of reasons. Not only it is more economical for companies to provide support this way, but it also provides a better support experience for customers, who get better answers from real customers in similar situations.
We recently introduced a few new features that make Zoho Discussions-powered online customer support forums even better. As with other things Zoho, we've been using them for our own internal forums (which we use quite extensively!) as well as using them silently in our customer-facing forums.zoho.com. We like them! So it's time we share them with you.
A topic status basically indicates what "state" a particular conversation is in. For example, when someone posts a Problem, the possible topic status are: Solved, Not a Problem, Need more Info, Working on It, Work-around Suggested. In contrast, when someone submits a Question, the topic status can be: Working on It, Answered or Need more Info.
Of course, being able to set the status is only half the story. Topic statuses become more useful when you can search for them. And that's why we have now enabled Filters. Filters allow visitors to the forum to quickly identify those topics that are more relevant for them. For example - see only the announcements that have been posted in the forums or only see those ideas that are in-progress:
One recent change we also introduce are nice, SEO-friendly URL for topics.
Lots of valuable content can be stored in your discussion forums. And it's important for our customers to make sure that content is easily discoverable by their users through search engines. So to aid in that, conversation now also support user- and seo-friendly URLs. For example,
For example, what used to have the cryptic URL:
A-ha! That sound more like it, and should give you a couple of brownie points with the search engines.
And a bonus: Activity Graphs
And lastly, even though this is not specific only for customer support forums, I thought of mentioning this here, since well, it is new too! We've made a new widget available that you can add to your support forums - an activity graph that shows forum activity, including posts and replies, with daily and weekly view.
We hope you'll find these features useful for running your online support forums. And, as a friendly reminder for our open source friends - we have something good for you too!