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helpspot in the wild textdrive

I’ve been wanting to formalize my posts that are about customized HelpSpot portals, so this will be the first of hopefully many HelpSpot in the Wild posts.

This first formal post has a fantastic example of how customizable HelpSpots portal is. The great guys over at TextDrive (Web 2.0 hosting company, Ruby on Rails, merged with Joyent, etc) have just went live with their HelpSpot installation ( I have to say they’ve pushed HelpSpots portal even farther than I thought it could go! Here’s a few screenshots, but there’s alot more than just the look, which I’ll talk about below.

While the above is very impressive, what’s really impressed me is how they’ve leveraged the HelpSpot forums into a tool for real time issue tracking with their customers. In the bottom of the right nav there’s three links for “current issues”, “ongoing issues”, and “software updates”. What they’ve done is modify the portal forum templates so that the forums are essentially read only. Hence, their server team can post updates on outages, server down time and other customer issues which their customers can access in one convenient location. Also, since each forum comes with an RSS feed, they can offer their customers an RSS feed to keep track of downtime and other issues which may affect their servers right from their RSS readers. Brilliant guys!!!

BTW TextDrive guys, starting next week with the release of version 1.1 you’ll be able to use the mobile interface to the forums to post updates directly from the server floor without even having to go back to a computer to post.

Here you can see the list of current issues (forum topics):

Clicking on an issue brings up the details (topic posts):