eCommerce - Self-help and Community


(Chris Detzel) #1

My company has over 150 different webshops (websites) across the world. We are looking at integrating our electrician community into each webshop as a support model. The community allows our customer to talk to peers and get help from our experts. Right now we have live chat within some webshops, but that’s it. We really don’t have anything in place that would allow customers to go for self-help. I’m trying to build a case that basically says, If a customer needs help, and couldn’t get help then they would leave the site and not come back. But if you have some kind of self-help, the customer would have a good experience and will keep coming back to the webshops. If they don’t then you have a good chance of losing them because they didn’t get what they needed and their questions were not answered from the site. Below are some things I would like to see:

  1. Is there data showing how important it is to have a place for the customer to go and ask question and get an answer quickly on an eCommerce site? Is there a dollar amount to say, you will lose X number of dollars if you don’t have a good self-help in place? Is there any data showing, you will gain X number of dollars if you build a good support / self-help model in place?
  2. Is there screen shots, data or best practices to show, from an integration standpoint, on where community and or self-help should show up on eCommerce sites?

(Sarah Hawk) #2

@andrewyouderian (ecommercefuel.com) is probably the guy to talk to here. I’ll ping him for you.
@jessicamalnik will likely have some insight too – she used to be with BigCommerce.


(Andrew Youderian) #3

Sorry for being late to the party!

I’m sure you could dig up studies on this, but the hard #s will vary from niche to niche, industry to industry. The answer is that, yes, it’s definitely important and you’ll lose money if you don’t have this. Quantifying it harder, but I think we all can think of many times we couldn’t get support and/or questions answered from a business and went elsewhere.

So first, the bigger question: should community be involved with customer support? In my experience with a lot of independent merchants I haven’t seen this done very often, if at all. And also from the community manager’s role, I don’t think I’d want my potential customers pinging my community (which I worked really hard to build and foster a sense of connection with) for answers on commercial issues. Obviously, I don’t know your model well. But anytime I’ve seen companies try to integrate community into support - or, heck, even use forum software for their help desk (ugh!) - I’m never impressed.

Potentially the closest thing to community for what you’re trying to do would be some kind of knowledge base you can start building and let customers access / review. As to where to put it, I think just linking it to a Help or Contact tag in the header and footer of your site would be fine and fairly standard. You could use software like Zendesk or Helpscout to set this up - they are both good ticketing / CS tools that allow knowledge base creation I believe.

Not sure if this is the kind of advice you’re looking for, but hope it helps a bit!


(Nick Emmett) #4

I guess this depends largely on the type of community and what level of support you want to offer.
We very much see our Community as a part of our customer support ecosystem, people are getting answers to questions, often in minutes, rather than via our support channel. The caveat is that, being a SaaS vendor, some (not all) issues and errors can’t be handled in the community without digging in and for that we need people to raise a ticket. There’s often an attempt but when the boundary markers appear that suggest the forum is not the appropriate place then we make the suggestion. Salesforce’s Community Cloud platform, which we are on, also has a button that users with an appropriate permission to can click to raise a ticket directly from a post in the forum.

Knowledge Base’s are also awesome for much of the self-help style information gathering that people tend to join communities for. We’re about to launch our own, opening up the database of knowledge our Support team have been putting together, to our customers. the articles will come up in search results and during case deflection.


Supplier / Manufacture Strategy