We've been using product demos as part of our support channel for years. It's become such an integral part of how we do support that we can't imagine doing it any other way.
Having preconfigured, disposable WordPress installs at hand reduces our costs by helping us provide answers to our customers faster. It's also a lot easier to close sales in support, when people ask if their import file will work with WP All Import we can just run their import for them in their own WordPress install.
Our support page asks users to reproduce their problem on a demo install. It's hard to overstate just how helpful this is.
Customers always have questions about a product before they buy. Your website should do a good job answering a lot of them, but you can only show and explain so much. We used to be inundated with users asking questions that could be easily answered if they spent two minutes with WP All Import.
Now that we have product demos, users can just try WP All Import for themselves rather than email us to ask if it can do whatever they need to do. While many customers take us up on this and answer their own questions for themselves, we obviously still do get people asking questions best answered by trying the product.
And product demos make those answers easier for us as well:
Telling potential customers that they can try WP All Import is effective when they've asked a rather generic question with an obvious answer. When users have a specific question with a not-so-obvious answer, we love to set the demo up for them:
This only takes a few minutes and goes a long way to show the customer that our product does what they need to do, and it shows them that we take customer support seriously. And then they can move on and explore the rest of our product.
Product demos do wonders for presale questions and drive more sales. What happens after those potential customers become real customers? Sometimes they'll run in to a problem and need our help again. And again we rely on product demos to help them through their problems as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Before we used our product demos in support, we almost always had to ask our users for a WordPress login to their site. Everyone who does this has a story about breaking a customer's site. We've been there too, so we won't log in to anyone's site unless they can also provide us FTP access so that we can fix any problems that we may cause.
I don't need to tell you how annoying it is on both ends of the equation - sending a support request is already annoying, it becomes infinitely more annoying having to provide a WordPress and FTP login and then wait again for them to get back to you. And for us, even just getting the credentials was a pain, let alone having to tiptoe through someone's live website trying not to break anything or ruin important data.
These days we have users reproduce their problem on a demo install. Sometimes just doing this will help them solve the problem on their own without even contacting us. If they are able to reproduce the problem, right there in their first email to us we have everything we need to see the problem, try solutions, test them, and then send them back to the customer without ever logging in to their WordPress site.
There's no way we would've wanted to run a bunch of tests on a customer's live site, adding custom code, running a bunch of imports to see why the images aren't working.
Instead we can run them in a controlled environment where we have SSH, SFTP, and everything else we need, without worrying about breaking anything. If necessary, we can even use Sandbox to duplicate their demo install so we don't risk ruining the bug the reproduced.
There's no way we can go back to running our support channel without product demos. We rely on them to reduce support requests, answer pre-sale questions, increase sales, and of course to make easier the actual job of supporting our customers.
And our customers love it too: