MozillaZine

Full Article Attached Mozilla Foundation Soliciting Proposals for Support Services

Saturday March 27th, 2004

The Mozilla Foundation is exploring offering additional end user support options, in addition or instead of the existing telephone support provided by DecisionOne. To this end, the Foundation is soliciting proposals from companies or community members who wish to be awarded contracts to provide these services. Submissions must be well thought out and shown to be viable. Read the full article for complete details from the Foundation's Bart Decrem.


#1 DecisionOne

by dave532

Saturday March 27th, 2004 3:52 PM

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I think for bidders to be able to get a feel for the sort of demand such services will have could you say approximately how many calls DecisionOne gets a month and how many of them have been resolved satisfactorily

#2 Re: DecisionOne

by Waldo_2

Saturday March 27th, 2004 6:30 PM

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DecisionOne's prohibitively high pricing makes it a reasonable option only for businesses. This proposed support mechanism is for everyone - businesses, power users, AOL-convert newbies, &c. I really don't think you can make any sort of reasonable correlation between the two.

#6 Re: Re: DecisionOne

by dave532

Sunday March 28th, 2004 2:14 AM

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But if someone is going to include phone support in the deal it's not going to get much cheaper than DecisionOne so the current numbers calling that service will be a good estimate for bidding on the phone aspect of the service.

However, other paid support options, such as email will be cheaper than DecisionOne's phone support so may attract more users.

#10 support volume

by Gunnar

Sunday March 28th, 2004 12:54 PM

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I can only speak for myself, but I have so far handled 1100 emails from people looking for Mozilla support through my website. The majority (by far) of this arrived in the last year.

Not all messages are from different senders - some cases require several emails to resolve. If ecplained correctly (many novice users do need background information), resolving a case can take some time. Others, OTOH, are very easy and quick to answer.

One last comment: I do not explicitely mention on my site that people can contact me for their support needs (I just have a generic 'contact' page), so I guess that if I did this, volume would be considerably higher.

If support were free and prominently linked to from Mozilla.org's support page, I would guess the volume for whomever decides to offer official email support at around 500 messages per year (this is a very rough educated guess) . Peak times are usually when a new version is released, they are especially high when a new stable release comes out.

#3 unhappy

by jgl

Saturday March 27th, 2004 6:33 PM

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Without my knowledge, one of my users called Decisionone for help with Mozilla. I really don't know exactly what my user said but Decisionone ended up telling him that his 128MB wasn't enough and not to run version 1.6 because only 1.5 was stable.

#5 Re: unhappy

by schapel

Saturday March 27th, 2004 11:23 PM

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Wow. If that really happened it's understandable that the Foundation might be looking for someone to replace DecisionOne.

What I'd like to see is the Mozilla developers work on bugs that will cut down on the need for support. In browsing through the forums, I see a few bugs that account for a significant percentage of the support questions asked. One biggie is how to import IE Favorites.

#7 Re: unhappy

by mcsmurf

Sunday March 28th, 2004 5:05 AM

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decisionone just have lists of questions they go through and if they don't find any answer on this list, they just tell you some crap.

#4 Time frame?

by tniem

Saturday March 27th, 2004 8:03 PM

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That seems like a pretty short timeframe. I mean, I am sure help companies may be able to just whip a proposal up but it seems that some Mozilla users may be interested in helping create a company with this thing and that would take a little bit of time. Even existing companies need a bit of time to create a proposal, realize who they are going to hire, etc. Two weeks just doesn't seem quite long enough for this type of thing.

#8 phone support "stupid"

by amr

Sunday March 28th, 2004 6:04 AM

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I have an email from a Mozilla user who says when he called the phone support about a problem with one of his Mozilla 1.6 CDs, the phone support tech told him he was "stupid" for buying the CD, when you can download it for free.

#9 Mozilla support volume

by Gunnar

Sunday March 28th, 2004 12:53 PM

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I can only speak for myself, but I have so far handled 1100 emails from people looking for Mozilla support through my website. The majority (by far) of this arrived in the last year.

Not all messages are from different senders - some cases require several emails to resolve. If ecplained correctly (many novice users do need background information), resolving a case can take some time. Others, OTOH, are very easy and quick to answer.

One last comment: I do not explicitely mention on my site that people can contact me for their support needs (I just have a generic 'contact' page), so I guess that if I did this, volume would be considerably higher.

If support were free and prominently linked to from Mozilla.org's support page, I would guess the volume for whomever decides to offer official email support at around 500 messages per year (this is a very rough educated guess) . Peak times are usually when a new version is released, they are especially high when a new stable release comes out.

#11 I think..

by smkatz

Sunday March 28th, 2004 5:38 PM

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DecisionOne has plenty right to tell customers that 1.5 is more stable than 1.6. These are individual techs, who have the right to say whatever they please.

I am actually using 1.5 now and haven't bothered to upgrade. I am an end-user.

--Sam

#12 at least two blog replies

by Pike2

Monday March 29th, 2004 4:32 AM

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#13 Something new like Bugzilla ?

by Luttappi

Tuesday March 30th, 2004 4:26 AM

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Where volunteers can submit telephone numbers, email addresses, expertise,availabilty etc.

#14 How about some Live Chat system?

by Lev_Arris

Tuesday March 30th, 2004 4:47 AM

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Just an idea: Couldn't they just get this system <http://www.helpcenterlive.com> (it's GPL) and install it with a Support Link everywhere on their pages? Then all they'd need would be volunteers that would log onto it and handle support (either by live chat or by handling the trouble tickets that the users enter). You could even take it further and have for-pay 'agents' log in and work off the tickets/chat calls.

#15 Phone Support

by qreply

Thursday April 1st, 2004 12:29 AM

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I have not been keeping up much with DecisionOne and their phone support for Mozilla. I was the manager for the team up until a week before we took on the support for Mozilla (the same team that did Netscape support). If you get bad advice from a tech it's probably not their fault, they got 0 (zero) hours of training in preparation for taking on Mozilla. Though they had a good base to start from by supporting Netscape prior to this. I really feel sorry for anyone trying to get support using Linux though and hope you got a refund if you requested one. That decision was made by the account manager at the time. Also when I left there was much talk (like in all technology sectors) of outsourcing much of the call volume and all of the email to India which I imagine has happened by now. I left the place over ethical issues dealing with that same account manager in relation to the Netscape contract and I have to say I am much happier now. (I got away from call centers and doing hands on full PC tech support now)

"I have an email from a Mozilla user who says when he called the phone support about a problem with one of his Mozilla 1.6 CDs, the phone support tech told him he was "stupid" for buying the CD, when you can download it for free." ---- I wish I had the name of that technician, I would call them up and ask them what the heck they were thinking even saying that to an end user. When I was there this kind of poor service was dealt with in a swift manner. Most of the techs try their best to relly help out the caller and do what they can.

"Without my knowledge, one of my users called Decisionone for help with Mozilla. I really don't know exactly what my user said but Decisionone ended up telling him that his 128MB wasn't enough and not to run version 1.6 because only 1.5 was stable." -----Again I hate to hear stuff like this, I don't want to bash anyone I used to work with but these kinds of answers are not what customers should be getting for paid support. I expected alot more out of my old team.

"decisionone just have lists of questions they go through and if they don't find any answer on this list, they just tell you some crap." -----Pretty close to the truth, the support documentation is and always has been sadly lacking, it is merely a compilation of information already available online to anyone willing to research it themselves.

I hate to leave names here, and honestly I don't know what he is up to these days but one of the best people I worked with in relation to Netscape (he also was a wealth of information about Mozilla) is a guy that worked Netscape support for years at DecisionOne prior to me working on the contract - Brian Jenkins. If I were ever going to get back to browser support I would definitely talk to him. He really took pride in the kind of service and information he gave. I wish he was still there now, it sound like DecisionOne could really use his help from what I have seen here.