Helping in Google Forums: Finding Product Answers

Many of you know that I am a Google Top Contributor and Mentor supporting many of Google's products. Specifically I am a TC for Gmail, Inbox by Gmail, Calendar, Play, Project Fi, Pixel, Duo, Android Auto, and Google Home. 

Most of those products I became a TC in because I used the products extensively and proved myself to the Community Managers through my help in the Forums and on Twitter via Help on Social. However, a couple of these products I either do not use at all or I do not even have the device. That begs the question, how can you support a product for Google if you dont even use the product? Simple. Its how and where you find the answers that counts.

What most users don't realize is that the majority of the issues they encounter have answers already available to them in the corresponding Google Help Center. These are the pages that I use to learn everything I can about a product so I can answer user questions even if I don't have or use the product. Anything I can't learn from the help center I learn from reading other posts and answers provided by users of the products. Over time, I can easily discern what users are providing the best responses based on the follow up posts of the original poster. 

Often users are asking how to do something that cannot be done. Learning the capabilities of the product from the Help Center allow me to confidently respond to the user and request they provide direct feedback through the program or app.  Reading other posts and answers, as well as knowing how to search the forums, help me provide answers to other questions by providing links to other posts or formulating accurate answers based on those other posts. 

It sounds like an impossible task, but just understanding the process (which takes time) and knowing where to find information makes it pretty easy to provide accurate, reliable support even without having or using the product in question.