Implement a support level differentiation


We are planning to implement multi-tier pricing. Each package will have different terms of support. So we need to make it convenient on the forum for customers and the support team. Let’s say we have 3 tiers:

  1. Free. Answer on the forum is not guaranteed.
  2. $100. Forum reply is guaranteed within 2 days.
  3. $200. Forum reply is guaranteed within 1 day.

So, we need the support team to easily identify which tier has a user and act accordingly. I came up with the following requirements on the forum’s side.

  1. The tier should be easily found on the topic page. Preferably in a single click on a user.
  2. The tier should be assigned and unassigned by API.
  3. The tier should be visible only to the staff members.

I tried to experiment with custom badges, which look like a perfect fit at the first glance.

  1. Badge is displayed just by clicking on the user avatar. In the worst-case scenario, if the user has lots of badges you should click one more time to check all the badges.

  2. Badges could be assigned and unassigned by API.

  3. However, I have an issue with the 3rd point. Looks like I can’t make a private badge, which only staff members can find. Please let me know if I’m wrong here. It will solve the problem and we will go with badges.

I checked if we can implement that using the Groups as well.

  1. I was able to create a group that is visible only to staff members. But the group can be found only on the profile page, which is not 100% convenient. Then I decided to make a group a primary one and set an icon for it. It worked, but everyone see the icon on the user’s avatar.
    I was logged in as a user without any admin or moderator rights on the picture.

  2. We can assign and unassign groups by API.

  3. Group can be visible only to staff members, but the icon is visible to everyone.

Groups functionality again almost meets the requirements but is not perfect. Is it possible that the icon is visible according to the security settings of the group?

Please advise if there is any other functionality that can help implement support tiers.

You can have 3 different support categories and restrict the groups in seeing only one while support staff can see all 3

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A problem I see with that approach is what happens when a user changes tier. Do they lose access to their previous topics? Do you move all their topics?

It sounds like he’s using public topics rather than group messages, i.e. topics that all customers can see, so presumably it’s also desirable for everyone to be able to see everything - such that customers can find answers from other customers’ questions as well as answer each other’s questions regardless of paid tier.

We already have private support implemented like that. Users can share sensitive data about their projects in private categories.

Now we are looking for a solution to another approach when all the topics are public gathered in one category visible to everyone.

All the topics are visible to everyone regardless of a tier. If user moves from a commercial tier to the free one, he can still read and write in the topics. Also, all the other users can see those topics.
The only difference is that the higher the tier, the faster user gets an answer.

The easy solution is the categories that are read by (and maybe reply by) all. Then everyone can see everything, and it’ll be obvious to those who aren’t premium members what they are missing.

I don’t see the problem with letting people know who is in the premium groups, but I think that you could use css to major those members not obvious to staff. I think that the group membership is in the json load, so you could target it, though it would be available to those who look at the json.

Thank you for the reply. We’ll think about showing the tier status publicly.
Alternatively, I bumped into custom user fields. Will check if it fits our requirements.

I believe you should consider applying the same security settings of the group to the group icon. Showing an icon according to the security settings of the group looks more consistent.