Mozilla End User Telephone Support Available Soon
Friday September 26th, 2003
In a message to the Mozilla marketing mailing list, Bart Decrem has announced that the Mozilla Foundation will soon begin offering telephone support to end users of Mozilla. The service, which will cost $39.95 per incident, will be provided by DecisionOne, who currently offer telephone and email support for Netscape. The Mozilla Foundation hopes to offer email support soon and is actively looking for an appropriate vendor to partner with.
#31 Re: look for support on Newsgroups or Compuserve F
Monday September 29th, 2003 11:27 PM
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As I said, I don't think $40 for a support call is unreasonable - it can often take quite a bit of time to play 20 questions with a clueless user and figure out what's happening (and most likely what they're doing wrong). You could also meter it by time rather than by call but that complicates things slightly. For many paid products, the reason that some limited amount of support appears cheaper than that is either because it isn't telephone support (much more expensive than email support for example) or because the price is predicated on most users never needing the service, so that it appears much like an insurance policy (most people who buy it never actually use it).
As to who would use such a service, probably rather few technical users. As you say, there are other alternatives available if you have a lot of technical contacts or a bit of time and technical resourcefulness. Those are precisely what a lot of end-users don't have - they may not be stupid, but their specialty is not in computers and they just don't have a lot of contacts and resources. Perhaps their time is limited.
I don't know if such a service could make a go of it or not - the biggest problem would be that many of the people who would need it the most would have no easy way to find out about it. I don't think it's absurd on its face though. Probably the main way the service providers could make money would be with support contracts from businesses; however many of the larger businesses have in-house support personnel who might be able to handle many of those kinds of questions. (It's hard for any service bureau to support every piece of software that's out there however - so some businesses with internal service desks might still find such a contract worthwhile).
We shall see. However I think the people who think this is an absurd idea are showing their ignorance of the general user population and of business in general.