oDesk - Customer Service and Support
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oDesk has a community forum for contractors and employers to ask questions, share information, and even let off steam. It is easily accessed by clicking on the very visible “Community” link that appears at the top of each page, right next to the “? Help” menu.
The oDesk forum is pretty active; I’ve read the forum many times over the last couple of years, but have not participated in it myself. As with other marketplace sites, postings lean heavily towards contractors as opposed to clients. However, most of the forum seems to be dominated with requests for help, complaints and general chit-chat; there’s not a lot of actual peer-to-peer assistance and advice being provided here. It’s possible to get some help from other users when you post on the forum, but it’s not something you can rely upon.
The forum is moderated to ensure that its rules are followed, such as ensuring that posters don’t spam, post contact information, or make accusations against other users. oDesk itself is active on the forum, with several support personnel regularly replying with advice and assistance on threads that are help requests, even if to suggest to the person posting the request that he or she should contact customer support. Of course, not all threads get replies.
Like most custom forums on marketplace sites, oDesk’s forum software is rather crude when compared to full-featured boardware. It has very few of the features you’re probably accustomed to when using a forum, and I personally find that the formatting makes longer threads rather difficult to read. It also has an anonymous voting scheme for postings that I consider disruptive and counterproductive; I routinely see postings get a “1 star out of 10” rating for no obvious reason.
oDesk includes a prominent “Feedback” link in the footer that appears across the entire site. Clicking this takes you to the appropriately-named Feedback forum of the oDesk community forums described just above. This forum is fairly active, with several new threads posted daily.
It is clear that oDesk employees do monitor the Feedback forum, because some threads here have replies from oDesk customer support agents. However, these responses seem to be limited to threads reporting problems or issues such as typos. Most of the genuine suggestion threads have no replies from oDesk, and many have no replies from anyone else at all. This is unfortunate, because people who take the time to make suggestions like to at least get some acknowledgment of their efforts.
Also disappointing is the lack of any other method of submitting feedback or suggestions. Most sites provide an option for doing this directly via email or some other means, but oDesk does not. Providing a “Suggestion or Feedback” option as one of the first-level topics for the ticket system would be a nice improvement.
I have no information on how frequently oDesk implements suggestions that it has received.
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