Paying It Forward To Champions

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Sunflower | Photo Credit: GollyGforce on Flickr

One of the things I love most about customer communities is the opportunity they prove to showcase the good in people. Many of these communities, especially those oriented towards customer support, exist simply because members want to help one another and build the collective knowledge base around a particular brand or product.

Customer champions, advocates, super fans, [insert your noun of choice here], etc. take the willingness to serve up a notch, and are truly the heart of a community. They’re some of the most vocal members, but they also tend to have the best behavior. They lead by example, and swoop in to help out another new member in need.

It’s very important to thank these special members in your community for their contributions. Remember, everybody has the same 24 hours in a day, and they’re choosing to spend their time in your community. Since we’re headed toward Community Manager Appreciation Day, I thought I’d share my favorite ways to show appreciation for the champions in my community.

  1. Send Snail Mail
    Who doesn’t love receiving a postcard or a small box of goodies in the mail? Bonus points if you send something that the champion is interested in (think dog treats for pet lovers, or cookies for those with a sweet tooth), and not just leftover schwag from your marketing closet.
  2. Give Special Insights
    Your champions love your product – that’s why they participate in the manner that they do. Recognize that by giving them early access to new features, or invite them to participate in beta programs. Take their earnest feedback into consideration, act on it, and be sure to share the credit!
  3. Promote Them
    If your champion is ok with it, feature him or her in your newsletter or on your blog, and talk them up to your whole community and company! You could even take it a step further and actually hire a local champion to join your team, like Prezi has done.

We’ll be talking more about champions, and a few other things in next Monday’s #CMAD panel – Taking Customer Support Communities to the Next Level. I’m thrilled to be joined by the following community managers who each bring their own unique perspective on support communities:

  • Lisa Barnett
  • David “Historian” DeWald
  • Kristen Gastaldo
  • Jordan Sanders
  • Berrak Sarikaya

Be sure to click to the panel page to read their bios, and I really hope you’ll join us on Monday January 27th at 1pm EST, 10am Pacific for a great chat!

Photo Credit: GollyGforce on Flickr

Caty Kobe

Director of Community at Get Satisfaction
With over 10 years of experience in customer-facing roles, Caty spends her days leading the community and support organizations at Get Satisfaction and evangelizing community. When she’s not singing the praises of social, she’s likely to be taking in a Warriors game or spending time on the beach with her pup, Lucy.

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