Getting members to use a community for support


(Jebby Joseph) #1

I work as an operations manager in South Africa, and I manage a specific
web based product.

Recently we launched a community to provide our users with a full knowledge
base that consists of webinars, FAQ, guides, videos etc.

We are struggling to get our users to visit and utilize the material that
is provided. Instead we are finding that users are still calling into our
call centre for support.

I have just started reading the buzzing communities book, and i have
realised that one major difference between our community and the ones
described in the book is that we don’t allow members to communicate with
each other.

I am trying to research possible methods to encourage our users to utilize
our community more - and this is what brought me to FeverBee.


(Sarah Hawk) #2

Hi Jebby,
Great to hear from you.

That’s interesting. What is the rationale behind the decision? When members can’t communicate with each other we tend to think of them as an audience, rather than a community. The motivations for belonging are different.


(Jebby Joseph) #3

Hi Sarah

Our customers use our product to request third party information from
different institutions across the country.

The response time varies from 5 to 15 days from the different institutions.

The reason we didn’t want our users to communicate with each other on the
Community is because we didn’t want users to post their response times on
the Community.

Our fear was that there would be discord if users realised that some users
may be receiving information quicker than other users.

Our product pricing was also initially an issue for the South African
market,so we didn’t want users to discuss the pricing in case there were
any negative sentiments.


(Richard Millington) #4

Honestly, it’s really easy to develop a list of all the possible things that might happen when you build a community. The reality is these things rarely occur and even if they did it’s relatively easy to correct once they do. It’s always better to let members communicate with each other.

My guess (and I haven’t researched your community in particular) is users aren’t visiting your site because it’s easy to call a customer service line. They could trawl through the site looking for the precise answer they need, or they could ask a customer service rep and get the answer immediately. It’s logical that they would do that. The customer support sites that work best enable people to connect with with another (look at any of the lithium sites for example). This is where people can ask specific questions and get quicker, better, and more responses than they would from customer support.

At the moment it sounds like you’re seeing the project mostly from your perspective instead of the perspective of your audience.


(Nick Emmett) #5

Hi @JJoseph - welcome to the Community here, it’s great to hear from you.

I guess a good parallel for your quandry is the fact that you were able to come here and reach out to the members of this community with your question. I think opening up your platform and giving the members somewhere to engage with each other will help your organisation in all manner of ways. What sort of questions do you think might get if you did open it up, aside from the pricing and response times (which as @richard_millington suggests probably won’t happen anyway)? What sort of value would they get from being able to engage with each other?

My community is used by members to get support, rather than calling or emailing in to our support team. Often the response times they get are quicker than going through the official channel, and there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing your customers help each other solve their challenges.

Perhaps you could reach out to some of your members to see what they think?