It’s a well known fact that Chinese laser engravers come with little to no support so much of the help that is available is from the laser engraver community. There are many great groups on Facebook, Google+, and other forums where you can get the information you need. There are also a number of vendors whose products are centered around, or at least compatible with, chinese lasers.
As a member of around 40 of these groups I do my very best to help answer questions and provide solutions as quickly and as often as I can. There are many others who share my passion for these machines and provide equally responsive assistance.
Most of the third party vendors also monitor these groups and forums and spend a great deal of time, above and beyond their “regular hours” to provide help to those who need it. This is in addition to the barrage of emails and messages they already receive through their direct support systems.
The people offering free community support receive little praise for going the extra mile yet, if there is any delay in response or a hiccup that takes longer to resolve, they are relentlessly berated in all of these channels even though they freely give hours and hours of their time to help others.
Here are the best practices for getting effective support:
Reference The Official Documentation
This is ALWAYS the first place to start. Over 75% of the questions posed are already answered in the OEM support materials. Documentation is provided and then, usually, updated to reflect issues that come up. An active developer will continuously expand their documentation to address issues as they arise because this should be the first place to look for solutions. If you cannot find what you are looking for proceed to the next step.
Do Your Due Diligence
Don’t be lazy, be proactive! Learn to solve problems on your own. Google your issue and use the search features in the groups to find a solution. There is a good chance someone already had your issue and was provided a solution already. Not only do you learn about the problem(s) you face instead of being spoon fed the answers but you reduce the load on the community by eliminating repeated queries which simply waste everyone’s time.
Don’t ask your question in multiple places
As I said before many of the people providing ths free support monitor many different groups, forums, and emails. Pick the most logical place to post your question and give people time to formulate their responses and provide them. If the problem is specific to one component find the OEM’s support groups and start there. Sometimes there are delays because they are researching and finding the best solution for you. Sometimes they are busy answering redundant questions (see above). Posting the same question in multiple places sounds like a great idea to get the widest range of responses in the shortest amount of time. Well… IT’S NOT! To the ones who will know the right answers it a waste of time and it is distracting.
Sometimes they are driving, attending a birthday or a funeral, or asleep. We are regular everyday people with lives outside of these groups. The third party vendors maintain regular business hours but still respond outside those hours because they truly do want to offer you the best experience possible. Give ’em a break or get premium support (see below).
Pay for premium support
Most vendors will give you the support you need if you are a customer as expected. There comes a time, however, when a line must be drawn. If your solutions cannot be provided in a reasonable amount of time expending a reasonable amount of energy then you need specialized support. This support is time and resource intensive so it is not out of the question for people to expect reimbursement. If you need your hand to be held and be spoon fed answers this is the option for you!