I wanted to take a few minutes today to say a few words to our about our support policy for the benefit of our customers.
When I first launched the Storefront Original theme on ThemeForest (then called "WPA Storefront"), it quickly took off and the comment thread for that item was quickly filled up with various support requests. I knew that I needed to find a more efficient way of doing support since I was answering the same questions a lot. That's why I chose to go the route of forums.
At Storefront Themes, we clearly explain in our terms and conditions that support is not guaranteed in any way. Having said that, we understand that our customers see value in knowing that they can get support for the products they bought and our track record of great support has been the reason for people staying with us and continually buying our new products.
For this reason, in spite of what our terms and conditions say, our internal policy is to try to achieve the following goals on the forums...
- We (meaning a member of the Storefront Themes team) will personally respond to every single support forum request, and...
- We will try to achieve a 24-48 hour response policy from Monday to Friday and a 48-72 hour response on the weekend.
While we still meet our #1 goal and answer each forum topic ourselves, recently it has been a little difficult to achieve consistency on the timeframe in which some of our customers can expect to receive support. While we often do answer most questions within a day, we sometimes have weeks like we did the last 2 weeks, in which George and I had to really lock down and get some undistracted work done on some outstanding projects that we have had in the Storefront Themes pipeline. For that reason, there have been SOME requests (like requests in the Boutique forum) that went unanswered in the last couple of weeks.
I want to assure everyone that we don't think this is acceptable and we apologize for it. In the end, as much as it hurts you as our customer, it hurts us more because our success is based on the value that people feel they receive when they buy from us. We want people to have confidence that if nothing else, when they buy a product from us, they will have access to over-the-top outstanding support from the guys who actually develop the products.
To that end, we recently hired a 3rd member of our team in March (Hi Phil!). We'll tell you more about him another time, but his primary focus will be handling support requests and the technical side of running our servers. He is doing a great job so far at answering the majority of our support requests...however, he is very much only part-time and the learning curve for both the WP-e-Commerce plugin and our themes is quite steep when it comes to troubleshooting...it really takes a lot of experience to get to the point where you even know where to begin when solving a problem. Because of this, it will take a little more time for him to get up to speed on a few of the many issues that can arise when running ecommerce on WordPress. In the meantime, George and I will still be logging in as much as possible to make sure that every request gets a good answer. For the most part, we will answer support topics in a timely manner. When we don't, rest assured that this will not always be the case as this migration period shouldn't repeat itself anytime soon with future versions of the plugin.
I want you to know that our focus isn't just on generating new business...in fact, in the last month we released 2 new projects (the showcase and our affiliate program) which benefit our existing community every bit as much as they benefit us...if not more so :-). They are long overdue and both have been requests of our customers for some time so we were determined to make them a priority.
I hope that helps to explain things a bit...we really want to develop an open culture about these things so that you know what to expect. Here's to much brighter days ahead!