We get a lot of requests from product teams about how they can use Open Source Stack Exchange to support their communities. Open Source Stack Exchange works really well for technical support and we welcome this, within limits. If you follow a few simple guidelines then you, your users, and Open Source Stack Exchange can all benefit.
Open Source Stack Exchange is a community where users help users. Your customers are part of this mix. In fact, unless your product is brand new, we probably already have some questions about it, and possibly even a tag. In addition, search the site for your product name or other key words. Answer the existing questions, or if they already have good answers, vote those up. While you're here, look around for other questions you can help with (not just ones about your product). Participate in the site, learn the ropes, and build the reputation you'll need to gain important privileges like commenting, editing, and others.
Open Source Stack Exchange can help support your product but it can't be the only support. There are issues that only you can address, and if you send your users to Open Source Stack Exchange for them they'll just get frustrated. Guide your users in where to ask what -- something along the lines of the following:
Types of questions and where to ask:
- How do I? -- ask on Open Source Stack Exchange (tell them what tags to use -- your product tag at minimum)
- I got this error, why? -- ask on Open Source Stack Exchange
- I got this error and I'm sure it's a bug -- report it on your own site
- I have an idea/request -- report it on your own site
- Why do you? -- ask in your own community (support forum, etc)
- When will you? -- ask in your own community
Finally, monitor the site. Some Stack Exchange sites get thousands of questions every day and they are often answered within minutes. Be responsive: monitor the tags related to your product, search for questions that might not be tagged correctly and improve them, and review and improve answers.
Remember, like all of our sites, Open Source Stack Exchange is moderated by the community. If you want your customers to have a good experience on the site, you need to be there to guide them if they aren't familiar with how things work.
We welcome questions and answers about your product here on Open Source Stack Exchange where they can be found, vetted, and improved by Stack Exchange’s communities. If you have questions about these guidelines or need help creating and managing your tags, contact us and we'll give you a hand.