Wednesday, July 09, 2008

User forums are state-of-the-art tech support

I wrote on this topic last year, but it is truer now than it was then.

Earlier today I had a question on something I was trying to do with Excel (exchange rows and columns on a spreadsheet). Several queries into the Excel help file did no good. So I went to the "Post a question or search for an answer in the user community" section and entered my question.

Within an hour I had the answer. (Turns out there's an easy way to do it, just not very well-publicized.) That simple.

It's remarkable that communities of users are providing support far superior to that provided by companies themselves (try getting answers to any email query to tech support in an hour). But as it turns out, for most hi-tech products, tapping (for free) the collective wisdom of the user base is the best technical support you'll find.