REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
Caty Kobe – Community Lead at Square
The intro for Caty’s talk was explore different ideas for driving more engagement, and increasing member satisfaction in the context of great customer support.
As someone that has never managed a customer support community, Caty’s presentation interested me greatly. I’ve always been curious about the roles that relationships play in that type of environment (addressed under Customer Engagement, Issue 3). Caty’s slides were brilliant and pretty much speak for themselves, so I’ll post a link to them on SlideShare as soon as she gets them up.
How do we ensure our customers get as much value from the community as we do?
- Customer satisfaction
- Customer engagement
- Satisfied customers spend more, thus attributing revenue to your program
- Attributing revenue is key for future program support
Issue 1: It is often hard to find relevant information in support communities. If people can’t find the answer that they need in the timeframe that they need it, they will go somewhere else. There are a few key things you can do to get it right:
- Make sure your relevancy is good by finding out what content works. Use Google to see what people are looking for. Get rid of irrelevant content (archive or unlist) that gets in the way of finding the good stuff. If it’s not going to help more than 10 people in your community then it’s probably not worth keeping. Be careful to archive, not delete.
- Optimise titles for search and ungate useful content. People are busy and won’t log in. If you can’t do that, make sure you include a CTA (“make sure you log in because there is more!”)
Issue 2: Correct answers aren’t always easily identifiable. Waiting for customers to come back and mark a thread as solved causes pain for visitors in the mean time.
- Mark threads as answered on behalf of users (set a time limit for them to do it themselves).
Tip: Set a reminder to do a cleanup of these. Bad data is worse than no data.
Make sure you have a ‘relief valve’ for people in case they can’t find help and become frustrated. This could be a phone number, a contact form, an email address etc
Tip: Proactive support is rare. Block out part of your week to focus on proactive actions.
Issue 1: Irritation leads to hostility
- It is important to over-emphasise your tone. Use exclamations marks and emoticons so that people can understand your intention.
- Provide clear and consistent moderation
- Move escalations offline quickly
Issue 2: Low company presence in the community
- Set clear expectations of when your team participates
Begin to show the community as a revenue driver instead of just a cost centre, as driving revenue will offset and justify the cost of active participation.
e.g: Integrate a BuyNow button throughout your community, as Element14 do.
Issue 3: Relationships are hard to nurture.
The transactional nature of support communities does not lend itself well to relationship building.
Tip: Create an off-topic area and encourage self-disclosure threads
Issue 4: Rewards don’t match advocate time investments
If you are trying to leverage advocates and super users, you need more than badges and virtual points. Figure out what they would appreciate. Provide training to ensure answers meet your standards and remember that time is money. Look at GiffGaff’s payback model.
The money you spend rewarding advocates is always going to be less than it would cost to get a full time employee, so you can afford to be more generous than you might think.
Issue 1: We don’t optimise for lurkers
Visitors are a primary audience of a support community - don’t write them off.
Tip: Audit your community for distracting elements and enable features that enhance the reading experience
Issue 2: We don’t prioritise customer preferences
Most decisions are made based on what works best within our existing infrastructure.
Tip: Audit member behaviour, look at device use, survey members, ask for preferences.
Caty and I were colleagues at FeverBee for several months before she left to work at Square, but we’d never met in the flesh, so this was a great opportunity for us. Because Caty’s talk was nothing to do with the community she manages, rather than a screen shot I thought it might be more appropriate to share this photo of us sightseeing on the ferry over to Manly beach.