More users = More support requests

Onno Ekker o.e.ekker at gmail.com
Tue Mar 28 07:35:29 UTC 2017


On Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 8:19 PM, BA <ba at pep-project.org> wrote:

> Dear all,
>
> I think that then one of the first to dos should be to identify who are
> our supporters. Do our contributions come from individuals, SMEs or larger
> companies? This should be an important element of the strategy going
> forward. Do we know how the different segments (individuals vs SME vs large
> company vs government,…) contribute to our monthly or yearly funding - I do
> know that we have a geographic breakdown but I have not seen any
> communication as to the donors’ profiles. If we do not know, we need to
> find a way to collect that information.
>
> I think that is critical to know who is funding TB and then we should plan
> our actions based on that. This also should influence our way of thinking
> about support. Clearly the SME or larger organizations' needs for support
> are different from those of the individual users. I think it is critical
> that we know who is providing our financial support and make sure that we
> serve them well.
>
> Furthermore, keep in mind that if support is subpar, we will lose more and
> more users. In my humble opinion, stability, features and support will be
> the key elements that will define the future for TB.
>
> Kind regards,
> -BA
>

I don't think that the people that are funding TB have too much influence
on how we should handle our support. I hope a large part of the funding
comes from users that want Thunderbird to prosper and also from companies
that want to help to keep Thunderbird available as an open source project.
Also if you want to let (company) users pay for support, you will also have
to train people giving support and possibly pay them too.

On my previous job, we used Pegasus Mail, which was at that time a very
good mail client for company environments, because it supported access
direct to your mail on Novell Netware, without having to download it via
POP3 or IMAP. Pegasus Mail was a free client, but companies could buy
manuals or support, if I recall correctly. This business model was hardly
working though, to support one single developer.

I think the best way to go forward, is to find out where we see
opportunities to grow and to see what needs to be done to achieve this. The
needs for company users will differ from the needs of private users.
Company users might for example often want to write messages on behalf of
someone else or redirect messages to a  co-worker. Also companies might
want to lock down certain preferences and add-ons and use the ESR version.
Easy to find documentation for these things is a must.

It would also help a lot if support questions that are being asked could be
classified much like bugs in bugzilla, for a certain component or function.
This way it will be easier to see where users have problems and we can
better act on it, by adding documentation or by changing the functionality
to make it more clear for the end user.

Onno
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