Oh yes- it’s been huge and it’s ongoing.
Our company created a community as a sort of knowledge base/a place to get product ideas from clients when we were young. It became a vibrant community and was pretty much self sufficient. We would check out the feature request area and throw them a bone once in a while (content wise) but otherwise, things pretty much ran themselves.
We outgrew our community platform and decided to switch. It was handled poorly. At the same time, we moved from a one product company to a two product company- and our feature releases were fewer and further between.
Our community became a place where long-time clients came to complain, and new clients got scared and often felt insecure in their purchase.
Sales and customer success stopped sending people to the Community because they were afraid it would stop them from buying or staying on with us.
In February, they hired me I came from another community management job (although I didn’t know that what I was doing had a name) and jumped right into fixing this one.
I decided to hold off on recruitment (we only have about 50% of our accounts on the Community, and out of those, most only have 1 person online) until the place was less hostile. I went to work calling and talking to current clients and to my internal team to see where they thought the problems were. I found metrics to track and created SLAs for answering questions and feature requests. I got to know our clients on a personal level and opened up my inbox to them- I wanted all the feedback I could get.
Meanwhile, I worked to identify internal stakeholders (this was much harder than I thought it would be- because the Community is cross-functional, everyone wants their fingers in it- at the end, I figured out that, really, the clients are the main point of the Community and instead of asking “how would you like to be involved” or “how were you involved in the past” or the worst one “what would you like to see the Community doing”, I started asking “what problems can you solve for our clients VIA the Community.”) I can now separate sections into domains, if you will, Customer Success has one area, Implementation has another, Support is mostly in one area, Sales usually only goes to one place, Product deals with product stuff. That’s that.
I don’t know what I would tell someone if they were in the same spot as me, other than- remember who you are working for. And stand up for yourself- Community managers may be nice, but we aren’t doormats.
I think that’s it- if anyone has a specific question or wants more details, I’ll be happy to share.