What sets your community apart from the rest of your support stack?
Your community is basically a dynamically growing self-service content hub as your customers will continuously add questions and answers. Your customers help you to build a knowledge base that is always up to date. The content of your community is not only based on what you
think is important to your customers, but also on what they
actually need. What’s more? All content is transparent and available for all users. Looking at service channels, this one-to-many way of communicating, and the publicly visible interactions, could be compared to support via social channels like Twitter or Facebook.
That being said, the benefits of using a community over social media channels for support are threefold:
1. The SEO power of a community is much stronger and you can easily lead visitors to your own secure domain.
2. You can highlight the most helpful and relevant content that you want to be readily accessible for your customers
3. You can customize the look and feel of your community to make it look exactly how you want
Have smart channel management in place
Nowadays customers demand self-service, they don’t want to have to wait for a response from you. Research from Forrester shows that 73% of customers say that their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer service. Of course, you want to provide service in the best possible way and make sure your customers are satisfied. Therefore they should have the freedom to choose the contact channel that fits them best. That said, you should think about the way you present your channels to your customers, in order to help them be the most effective and happy as possible. A great example of this comes from the Swedish Telco Hallon. On their website, they refer to their Community as the main entrance point for support
. Customers can easily search all content and use the Quick Links to navigate to their subject of interest. If they can’t find their info they can easily ask a question or look into the contact details.
You can also check out a couple of other great examples of channel management on the Simyo
websites. On their service page, they mention their different channels and SLA’s. The community is presented as the first contact channel (as it contains a lot of valuable information and new questions and answers will help others) while the customer still has the freedom to choose the channel they prefer. iD Mobile mentions the community only
on their service page after showing their FAQ’s and Koodo has a combined search
for all their helpful content from their help pages as well as their community. You could also recommend the community as a service channel to your customers when they call you for support, specifically if there is a waiting line
and present the community in automatic replies on emails, for example.
Easily escalate tricky tickets to your support desk if needed
Customers want to be helped in the smoothest way possible. Therefore it could be handy to directly escalate a community question into a ticket (for instance in Zendesk with our out of the box integration
) in case one of your support agents needs to answer the question. What’s more? This allows you to have insights into previous support tickets as well. If you also make use of SSO or have an integration with your CRM system like Salesforce, you can have all of your customer information in one place. This way your customer service will feel more personal, customers will have a smoother experience, and your support employees will have all of the background information they need easily at hand.
Refer customers to the community when there is a disturbance or a large audience looking for updates
When there is, for instance, an outage, people want to know what’s going on and where they can find updates on the situation as quickly as possible. Since a community is the perfect place for one-to-many communication and customer follow-up questions can be managed in one central place, it tends to be the most important support channel for customers in the event of a technical disruption. T-Mobile Netherlands, for instance, points people via their social channels to the community to read about important updates, while KPN uses their community to keep people updated in one central place. Tele2 has integrated community content on their status page
so that all information about outings or disturbances can easily be found by customers while all Tele2 need to do is create a topic and push it to this page. Just one month ago, there was a major disturbance in the Netherlands. The community updates about this topic got ten thousands of views and less than a hundred replies. Imagine you had to inform all these people via one-on-one contact channels, not only would that have been impossible, it would have caused serious customer dissatisfaction.
Leverage the power of the community to boost your other channels
As mentioned, your customers demand self-service and want to get their answer as quickly as possible. Given that your community is a wealth of knowledge as it contains help content from both you and your users, it's hugely important to tie it into your other support channels. o2 Germany, for instance, shows important community topics on their service page
and lets people search the community if they can’t find what they were looking for. You could also think about integrations in other tools like virtual assistants and your internal knowledge base. Simyo has integrated all their community content within their search and they also show related community topics when people visit their FAQ’s. Another example of this great practice is shown by Tuenti
Next to the search integration, Tuenti also expands their support reach by using the embeddable widget
on their support pages. See for instance this example
, in which customers can click on the button in the right corner to get more information in case they need more than is available in the help article. Are there possibilities for you to get more out of your community and serve your customers better? We hope this has helped!