For a support community to be successful, you need buy in across your team. You need support to answer questions, products to respond to ideas, developers and designers to address user experience and bugs.
These teams are often stretched thin, so how can you add community to their ever-growing to-do list?
We’ve learned that community isn’t just something that needs your team, but is rather something that your team needs.
Take note of the trends you see posted in the community. If you notice an influx of query calls, create a post with some frequent how-to questions, links to additional training, and solutions for common errors. With some proactive support, you may reduce your case load.
Prioritizing your roadmap is a difficult task. You’ve got to weigh what your current customers want against what you might need for additional sales, to break a new market, etc.
So if you can’t give your current customers everything they want, give them a say in what they get. Post a topic with a list of 5 new features you want to implement in the 1st half of the year. Your customers can help your force rank them and define a portion of your roadmap.
This buy in, along with setting expectations around new features and timelines creates happier customers.
For Designers & Developers
You can post mock ups and prototypes of new features, getting mass customer feedback quickly. You’ll better be able to understand how customers are using the product and the steps that seem natural to them. The discovery process just got a lot less strict and scheduled.
Instead of asking your team to be completely reactive to the community, ask them to proactively use the community. They’ll feel less like they’ve got a constant to-do list, and more of an additional resource that they want to use!
Editor’s Note: Kristen Gastaldo was a panelist for this year’s Community Manager Appreciation Day panel on Taking Customer Support Communities to the Next Level.