It can’t be said enough – if you design products for a living spend some time in your support queues. Ask the founders of companies you admire for customer service. I guarantee you that to a person, they’ve all spent time answering the phones or emails of their confused, irate and sometimes even happy customers. Don’t duck your users. Overheard from an entrepreneur: ironic you spend all these dollars trying to reach your customers (marketing) and then even more trying to avoid them (lack of phone support, etc).
This is top of mind for me because i recently found a few YouTubers taking it unto themselves to answer random questions at our page on Get Satisfaction. Awesome! So i joined them. We’ve got our own official support channels but we also know that you need to go to your users instead of always dragging them to you (while setting expectations that there are other places they can go to get scalable support). Besides Get Satisfaction we also look at Twitter feeds and blog search to detect questions or trends that we might otherwise not hear about. We’re definitely not perfect and have our own scale issues in communicating with hundreds of millions of people worldwide, but we want to improve each day.
If you don’t care enough to try and solve your user’s problems don’t be surprised if they go away one day.