What do you think about these forums?
Open Discussion - General Issues and comments
Product Functionality - Help and comments on agile platform functionality
Components & Extensions - Develop extensions or components
User Experience - GUI design, usability and visual design discussion
Guides & How-tos
News & Articles
Questions - Open questions for all
One thing, I think, is that the OutSystems support is EXCELLENT. Realistically, most users have little need for the forum, most of these questions can be answered by support, will be answered by support, and I bet most paying customers just have support answer their questions instead of coming here, which is a LOT more work than emailing support! I've gotten to know some people here, but only because they post a lot too. Most of the questions you see here are quite obviously someone who just did a download of Community Edition, didn't get any training, didn't watch the tutorials, etc. But it's hard to get to know someone if they only post one item a year, or all they do is ask questions instead of provide answers, you don't really know who they are and what they do.
I also think that allowing fake names is not a great idea. If someone has a question that they don't want shown in public (why? does it show that they have no clue what they are doing and they don't want their boss finding out?) then they can contact the aforementioned excellent support team. :)
EDIT: Kept it short!
Apart of the problem is....Potential customers do not understand the product
Most of your users sign up and not return; Maybe they are interested in the product at first but over all they just dont know how to use it, don't understand it, too hard to understand this product?
Someone at outsystems needs to talk to all these new potential customers signing up, rather than let them slip away, send them an email hey I am your personal account manager i am here to answer all your questions, or hey we are running a webinar, join us and we will answer all your questions and give you a overview on how our product works,etc...etc. ?
Will keep it detailed if you like :)
What I mentioned early was...maybe your customer just don't understand what on earth is the agile platform all about and/or how it benefits his business.
First time user, would visit the homepage, watches the introduction video, reads about the agile platform, maybe registers on the forum and download the product. If lucky he/she discovers that there are training video available.
You have many potential customers leave, and never come back because they don't really know what the product is all about or how to use it.
Why not send each new registered user an email to see if they are doing ok and not lost somewhere?
Just wanted to check in to see how everything is going!
I wanted to make sure that Outsystems has been a good experience for you so far. Let me know if you need any help with anything or if you have any questions. I'm always in the office, so send me an email or give me a call anytime! :)"
In addition to this welcome email, run a weekly webinar, invite every agile network community member to join your webinar. In your webinar, outsystems will build real life applications, demonstrating the capability of the agile platform and answer any questions from the agile network community.
Do this every week, to build your community base/customer base...yes its tough but its necessary! Your competitive www.ironspeed.com has been doing this for a number of years now and its proven to be effective!
Partnering with vendors around the world and setting up local outsystems distribution centers around the world; providing local local support to local businesses, will indeed convert potential customers into paying customers.
But what about all that web traffic? all those registered potential customers that register on your site? these potential customers are not being converted into paying customers, they are all lost.
Outsystems customer support is excellent but it needs to extend its hand and become more proactive with newly register users/potential customers.
That is the honest truth.
Summary: Case reported by community users:
-Some users prefer not to ask silly questions on a public forum.
-New users find agile network community forum intimidating, no forum for new users (forum discussion maybe too technical for non technical people?).
-Forum is too slow, forum search feature is broken
-New users, visit website once, new user may not understand purpose of product; user may require additional guidance (ie welcome email from personal account manager, real life application development tutorial and Q&A via weekly webinar etc)
-Outsystems product and support is excellent
-Forum used as Q&A, improvement on UX by designing Q&A section similar to stackoverflow.
1. proper Q&A styled site
2. Able to choose the right answer
3. Tags for products, example Agile Platform 5.0, Agile Platform 5.1, Agile Platform 6.0, integration, service studio etc.
4. Voting system
-Hard for expert to support new users, due to visual development nature of the agile platform. Much easier for expert to support other experts and leave new user support to outsystems.
-Paid customers are less likely to contribute to community disccussion as community support will not be needed, since phone and email support is provided by outsystems.
-Outsystems customer base is small, and as a result the outsystems community base/agile network community is also small.