Through my work with Automattic, I’ve had the privilege of working with the guys over at Intense Debate. I’ve been helping them improve their WordPress plugin and get it ready for some new features. Along the way I made the blunder of releasing a version that had a pretty serious bug in it, and that triggered a lot of customer support issues/cases.
In the “old days” (or in a lot of big corporates today), those support cases would have been handled behind a corporate “veil of secrecy”, tucked in a back end system somewhere, responded to by anonymous “Customer Service Representatives” via a generic email account like “firstname.lastname@example.org”. While we’re also making use of a generic email address, the similarities between our approach and that of big corporates ends there. End to end, the differences are pretty stark.