One of the measures of success of Windows 7 is that call volume to Microsoft's help desk is down. According to Barbara Gordon, Vice President of Customer Support for Microsoft: "Overall we are finding our call center volume is down significantly more than we expected." Most Microsoft watchers would say this is because Windows 7 is a big improvement over Vista (definitely true!), but Microsoft also points out that two new support channels (worth checking out!) are also making a difference: Microsoft Answers and MicrosoftHelps on Twitter.
With Microsoft Answers, users can submit questions to the help community, and Microsoft employees validate answers. So far, Microsoft has validated about 60,000 inquiries.
The Microsoft Twitter help site went live in October. Users can post a tweet with "@microsofthelps" in the message and Microsoft will respond. Seven employees work full time on creating responses by either providing a simple answer (hard to do in 140 characters!) or pointing to a place where people can get a more detailed answer. The goal is to answer a question that 1000s of users may have with one response. "It's really like a customer megaphone," Gordon said.