Since we launched Ultimate Member over two months ago we have been providing a high level of support for every user of the plugin. This has included: debugging individual sites, making the plugin compatible with premium themes/plugins and providing code customizations.
In the vast majority of cases we have replied within just a few hours and we have even provided support over the weekends. Comparing this to many other free plugins who will either offer no support whatsoever or can take up to a week to respond, we feel that we have tried our hardest to provide the best possible support.
Whilst we would love to be able to provide this level of support forever, Ultimate Member has grown a lot over the last two months which has resulted in the number of support requests increasing dramatically (Over 1100 topics since 21st Jan 2015).
Because of this we are having to implement some changes to our support in order for us to continue developing the plugin and making it better. Without these changes it would become very difficult for us to continue developing the plugin at a decent rate.
We are making two main changes to the way support is handled for Ultimate Member. The first is the introduction of paid priority ticketed support which will allow users of the plugin to pay for support if they need more in-depth support including: help with setup; css and minor code customizations, theme/plugin compatibility testing and us logging into their site to help debug issues.
As well as more in-depth support the other main benefit of priority support is that response times will be very fast. We are committed to providing fantastic support to users who sign-up to priority support and we will respond to tickets before any other tasks.
The second change being made is the introduction of our ambassador programme which is aimed at encouraging more of a community spirit in the forums. The purpose of the ambassador programme is to recognise special users of the community who are contributing to the success of the plugin.
We are introducing this programme because for any open-source software to be successful it requires community involvement. Take WordPress itself as an example. Support for WordPress is handled 100% by volunteers and without the massive community behind WordPress it would not be as good as it is today.
We will still be providing help and assistance on the forum but our hope is the ambassador programme will result in more users helping each other out on the forum which will ease our support burden.
What to expect
Over the coming days and weeks you should start to see more community involvement on the forums. This will primarily be from Ultimate Member ambassadors who are passionate about the plugin and what to contribute to the success of the plugin by helping out on the forums.
Ambassadors will usually be the first people to respond to topics. If an ambassador is unable to help then we will come onto the forum and see if we can give you an answer. Depending on the support request we may be able to provide you with an answer or if your request is beyond the scope of free support then we will ask you to sign-up for priority support if you want us to help.
Why we are making these changes
We are implementing these changes as the level of support we are currently providing is simply not sustainable and is now having a significant impact on our development progress.
Without making these changes we would be spending the majority of our time on the forums instead of building new features. Our hope is by making these changes we will see more users helping each other out but with us still being there to help out when ambassadors are unable to answer a question.
We feel that a community support forum driven by the ambassadors and backed up by us will provide the right balance between you getting answers to the questions you have and allowing us to spend more time developing the plugin and its extensions so we can make Ultimate Member the best community/membership plugin available.
Got a question?
We hope you will see these changes as being the best solution for the continued success of Ultimate Member and we are more than happy to answer any questions you have about these changes or the ambassador programmes in the comments below or via the forum.