I agree that the support model need to be tighter. Here are my thoughts, and thanks for passing these on as I'm on leave next Monday until the new year, so would have missed this chance.
1) Define a central point where users with support issues can get information. Maybe the proposed Recorder web site?
2) That information to act as a filter to steer a user to the right level of support .
End user with "how to" questions - Post to user forum, read support pages or buy in support from reseller/expert.
LRC IT staff or technical user - Post to a tech forum (Dorset on same channel)
Bug Report - Enter bug in bug tracker. Write/Read by commuinity, Modify/Nofity by Dorset. Put bugs in the open as it may help people decide if it's a local systems problem or a global one.
Development - usability issues, feature suggestions, addins, announcments etc supported via consultation on a seperate channel with Dorset, but community read only to help build up the "big picture". Users could be encouraged to provide feedback of what they need by a simple voting system. In turn this could help form priorities.
3) Community generated support documentation - wiki? e.g. Howtos, FAQ, experiences, workarounds. Maybe compile the knowledge already on the smartgroup into howto form. (I'd be happy to compile that next year). Extract the most common problems from the help system and put in onto the support section of the (proposed) website.