How do you encourage employee engagement in a customer support community when employees are SMEs?

(Gina Tyree) #1

Okay, here’s the setup:
We’re building a customer support community for a SaaS app
We started with internal employees, currently about 20
We want to build the number of active members internally before launching to customers

And here’s the question:
How do we build activity in the community with internal employees when they are SMEs and don’t have questions about the app?

Granted, we’ve pulled out as much content as we can from these founding members, but at some point there’s just not much more to say… how, at that point, do we encourage more internal folks to participate when there’s nothing left to comment on? :confused:

Looking for creative ideas :slight_smile:

(Sarah Hawk) #2

Interesting question! I have one in response – why do you want to do this? Wouldn’t it make more sense to find a group of founding members that do have questions?

(Gina Tyree) #3

@HAWK- Good question! Yes, you’re right, it would make sense that our founding members actually have questions to ask, and for us, those are our customers. But for a variety of very legitimate reasons, we do not want to put our very young community in front of customers, even those that love the product.

Our plan is to build employee activity first, then reach out to some of our partners, then to our customers.

(Sarah Hawk) #4

Ok, that makes for quite a tricky situation! A founding group that isn’t your target audience isn’t going to have the same motivations. Is the goal here just to seed content?

(Gina Tyree) #5

Yes, pretty much the goal is to build up content so that when we do get customers into the community, there’s already stuff there and an active group of people available to immediately answer questions.

(Jess Burnham) #6

Hey Gina,

Would you ever consider releasing the Community to small amount of “Beta” customers? Perhaps some who have already built a rapport with your company?

Community’s are a great way of alleviating pressure on your Support team, so if you lay out “these are questions designated for Support” and “these are conversations we encourage in our Community”, that might point the conversations in the direction you’re hoping to see unfold in your Community.

This way, when you’re ready to launch your Community to the general public, there will already be a bit of back-and-forth from customer and company representative that they’ll see the benefit of chiming in.

(Nick Emmett) #7

When we “launched” a couple of years ago, we ran a 6 month beta program with a select group of customers, that helped us figure out what worked and didn’t work but also helped to seed the content. The problem with completely seeding it with internal content is going to make things appear at first glance as not being very customer centric, potentially looking as though not many customers participate (if any). For me, the best way is to get it in front of a small group of customers who are maybe already engaged with the business on some level, maybe referenceable, and look at maybe getting some new customers in there too.

If you need people to ask questions, and your internal people aren’t the right people to ask questions, then I can only see one route through!

(Katie Paffhouse Bussey) #8

I’m assuming they need to be positioned as SMEs. Can the account reps list their favorite question to answer? Or maybe what question surprised them the most? And then others answer?