As WordPress grows its features, so does its user base and their needs. Naturally, the people making it run are not far behind in numbers. There are literally thousands if not hundreds of thousands of plugins out there. It’s essentially a positive feedback loop, where more users need more developers, who in turn entice more users.
And all that growth is good and all, but one main issue sticks out. How do we, as plugin developers stand out amongst the competition? How do we make our plugin be THE plugin to use for its intended purpose.
We know that one part of it is making a plugin that actually works, and works well, but issues are inevitable. There is no possible way that we can predict all the possible setups, hostings, configurations, and incompatibilities with other plugins that our users are putting our products against.
With that being said, one of the main considerations that come to mind when these things happen is support. Being able to provide documentation and a forum for your plugin is one thing, but actual human-to-human support and communication may be the difference between just another plugin and being the plugin for your niche.
Providing good and responsive free support for plugins hosted on the wordress.org plugin repository can also make all the difference in getting your plugins ranking higher in WordPress search results.
The question now is How? Who? And Where?
“How do I set this system up?” We may be good developers but customer service is a whole new ballpark that few have the patience for.
“If not me, then who should I hire for this?” Finding people isn’t the easiest thing to do. We can’t just post an ad and get random submissions.
“Where do I get them then?” The internet is everything, but in this everything finding the right thing might not be the easiest thing to do.
The good news is that as with most things nowadays, you can actually outsource your WordPress plugin support. Yes, you provide the training if needed, you pay other people instead of doing it yourself (we know how developers are to their own creations), but ultimately it might turn out to be the most economical and practical thing to do.
In this article, I’ll be discussing everything you need to know about outsourcing your WordPress plugin support. I also list the best options out there, their pros, cons, and pricing if this is the route that you’re set on.
I also include a few of my own thoughts on each of them to guide you.
Let’s get started!
How to Outsource WordPress Plugin Support
There are three common ways to outsource our plugin support:
- Outsource specific portions of the plugin support to competent individuals;
- Hire freelancers for occasional support functions; or
- Partner with outsourcing service providers on a contract basis.
Outsource One-off Tasks
We can choose to outsource simple specific tasks that are part of our plugin support like responding to emails, calls, and chat, or monitoring our plugin performance, and providing feedback on how we can improve our plugins.
This is the cheapest option for outsourcing our plugin support, and can select specific tasks that need to be outsourced.
We can also use multiple service providers to test which of them provides the best solution.
If we want more dedicated and regular support services we can hire freelancers to perform occasional support tasks for our plugin. This is also another cheaper option to outsource our WordPress plugin support.
Partner With an Agency
But if we want a more comprehensive plugin support, we can partner with an outsourcing agency to cater the entire support requirements for our WordPress plugin.
This is a more expensive investment yet the most secured option as we will be signing a contract based on agreed support requirements.
This option gives us bigger chances of getting more dedicated and quality plugin support, and in turn relieving our development resources of the support burden allowing them to focus more on the development of the product.
What to Look for in an Outsourcing Services
Outsourcing our plugin support comes with both advantages and disadvantages. There are important aspects that we need to consider in choosing an outsourcing service provider.
An outsourced support provider must have the following qualities:
- Exhibits Passion for Our Product
Remember that we can only outsource the task but not the passion for our products. Only our team knows the amount of hard work and investments we have poured in to develop our plugin.
There is a risk in letting people other than our team to provide plugin support. That is why we need to make sure that our support provider exhibits a sense of ownership and shares the same level of passion to provide a quality support service to our customers the same way we will do for our plugins.
- Provides Data on Our Customer
Customer support is another way of knowing our plugin users, and outsourcing plugin support may limit our interaction with our users.
Knowing who our users are and what their needs are gives us important information that we can use to further improve your products and services based on your customers’ needs.
We need to choose a support service provider that provides us essential data about our users profile, feedback, and needs.
- Supports the Reduction of Feedback Loops
As mentioned above, customer feedback is important not just to know our customers but also as an input to our development process to improve our products and services.
Answering our customers’ concerns directly and improving our products based on their feedback will lessen the number of recurring complaints and improve customer satisfaction with our support services and the plugin itself.
But having a third-party provider to handle customer feedback may bring a gap and create more feedback loops.
We need to choose a support provider that understands the feedback loops and aims to reduce recurring concerns by providing us the essential data to further improve our plugin.
One way this can be reduced is by giving full access to the outsourced team. Not just to your support system, but to your issue tracker or project management software. This allows them to raise bugs and feature requests directly in your workflow, which can be triaged and prioritized by your team.
5 Best Options for WordPress Plugin Support Outsourcing
First of all, as mentioned earlier, our ultimate goal is to have an outsourced WordPress plugin support that will help our plugin grow and be more competitive in the plugin market, especially the WordPress plugin directory.
Listed below are the five best options for outsourcing our WordPress plugin support. This is a curated list of the best outsourcing providers that are worth trying.
So let us begin.
1 – LevelUp
LevelUp is one of the most popular customer support providers for WordPress plugins. This service provider handles the laborious task of providing customer support allowing us to focus on growing our plugin and other aspects of our business such as innovation and marketing.
LevelUp is a team of dedicated WordPress experts that handles support from technical problems, jQuery conflicts, CloudFlare issues, cURL hosting restrictions, Cache plugin issues, plugin theme conflicts, CSS conflict, and more.
LevelUp is composed of competent people with vast experience in handling more complicated plugins.
LevelUp is also very flexible for us to choose our desired communication channels, time zones, and more.
They also ensure one-call away responses.
LevelUp pricing plan varies depending on your support requirements.
It offers a 21-day free trial, and after the trial, a contract for flexible support services and their prices based on our requirements will be signed.
LevelUp is a support service provider that understands the value of high-quality customer support services. It is focussed on WordPress businesses, so you won’t get generalist IT support agents from them. I’ve experienced LevelUp first hand – they have a comprehensive training and quality assurance process, as well as a training period using and understanding your product.
Its flexible solutions give us more opportunity to outsource only the needed services and cater to specific requirements from our customers.
2 – Influx
Influx is another popular WordPress plugin support services provider that delivers high-quality customer support services available 24/7.
It resolves issues using multiple channels such as email, chat, social media, and voice support.
Influx’ support services cover a wide range of tasks from setting up the standards, recruiting specialized support agents, providing weekly reviews, development support, and more.
Influx also offers a month-to-month contract to give us the flexibility to change our plan, add more plugins or support services, try a different platform, and more.
If there are support requirements that need more manpower support, Influx can provide 30+ trained support agents to accomplish our goal.
Influx pricing plan starts at $999 for shared teams that work 8 hours a day for seven days.
Influx is a go-to option for support requirements that requires a large number of support agents. It is very flexible and takes less commitment as charges will only apply when they are able to close a conversation with our client based on the agreed criteria.
3 – UpWork
UpWork is one of the most popular outsourcing sites of multiple options for freelancers that are capable of performing specific support tasks including plugin support.
UpWork gives us free access to thousands of freelancers who are capable and willing to take customer support tasks. It offers choices from the highly recommended freelancers to the cheapest and most flexible price rate.
UpWork gives you the flexibility to negotiate with freelancers on the price for the support services based on your requirements.
UpWork is the best option to hire freelancers for specific or major support tasks for our plugin. However, unlike using a full service agency like LevelUp or Influx, you have much more responsibility in finding, hiring and training the freelancer you hire from UpWork.
4 – Codeable
Codeable is an exclusive marketplace for WordPress freelancers that is known for its strict policies for accepting only highly competent freelancers.
Codeable provides only the highly competent pre-screened freelancers to do WordPress jobs including plugin support. All their freelancers passed a strict application and vetting process.
Codeable ensures high quality freelance services and offers a full refund if clients are not satisfied with the outputs of their freelancers.
The pricing for Codeable freelancers varied depending on the client’s requirements.
Codeable is best for more delicate WordPress works that require only the best and highly competent individuals. Generally used for development services, the price per hour for a Codeable developer to help with plugin support might be prohibitive.
5 – Guru
Guru is another best marketplace to outsource competent freelancers to cater your plugin support needs. It offers a dedicated support team that is available 24/7.
Guru freelancers are verified and time-tested professionals. Guru published their feedback scores and transaction data for reference.
Guru also provides flexibility in terms of payment method and terms, and work arrangements.
Guru charges a handling fee of 2.9% for each payment, but it gives you the flexibility to negotiate with freelancers on the payment price based on your requirements.
Guru is a top pick for competent yet cheaper freelancers that can cater a wide range of jobs including plugin support.
Outsourcing competent and reliable individuals to handle plugin support for our company allows us to focus on growing and improving our products and help us grow our plugins.
If we need freelancers to handle specific support requirements, UpWork, Codeable, and Guru are the best options.
And we want to partner with an outsourcing agency to respond to customer support needs, Influx and LevelUp are among the best options.
My personal choice is LevelUp.
If you want to monitor the performance of your plugin and have better insights on how to improve and grow your plugin, a highly recommended solution is Plugin Rank. Plugin Rankracks data about your plugins’ ranking including keywords and provides regular updates to keep track of the plugin’s performance.
Have you tried outsourcing your plugin support? Which option did you choose? Do you have any suggestions? Comment below and let me know your experience.