Is buggy support of a feature or even an entire application better than no support at all?
I’d argue that the minute you release your software to anyone other than the developers that actually have a hand in it’s development, you have an obligation to your target audience to provide bug-free functionality. Barring only perhaps, an Open source project that anyone could bugfix.
If I understood correctly, this was a question whether little (or poor) support is better than no support at all.
I think one of the key strengths of indies is the fact that we are “close to players”. That’s why I think the application should be provided bug free, and the customer support should be handled properly, rather than “doing something sometimes”. If you give an image about yourself as a game producer who listens to customers, fixes bugs and deals with problem it shows.
When we were launching Geom I remember one delighted customer who told us (after receiving an email reply from us) how impressed he was about how fast he got the reply. He actually was amazed that he even got a reply. Big companies never bothered answering him.
Naturally answering emails can take time, so some form of automatic replies, FAQ lists and such are recommended. I’ve chosen to reply “ask game producer emails” using the blog. I read every email I get, and handle every single one in some way and found this blog to be quite efficient way to deal with emails. Rather than dealing with just one person at time, I can write my answers here on the blog where several people can see them.
Bottom line: I think bad support and no support at all are both poor options and I really think support is one key areas that need to be taken care of. It’s great feeling to heard good words from satisfied players, and that alone is a reason to provide not just good but great customer and software support. From marketing point-of-view, good support gets people to recommend your product to other people.