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@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
REIMAGINING CUSTOMER 

SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
CATY KOBE | @CATYKOBE
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
THE CASE FOR REIMAGINATION
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
WE SAVE SO
MUCH!
OUR
CUSTOMERS SAVE
MONEY!
WHAT DO
WE GAIN?
Software

V...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
HOW CAN WE ENSURE CUSTOMERS
GET AS MUCH VALUE AS WE DO?
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
CUSTOMER
SATISFACTION
LET’S RETHINK THIS
CUSTOMER
ENGAGEMENT
Are our
cu...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
LET’S RETHINK THIS
Tips to try out
as soon as you
get back online!
Idea...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
ISSUE 1: RELEVANT CONTENT 

IS HARD TO FIND
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
Self-service only works if the right
content can be found in the right
...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
Self-service only works if the right
content can be found in the right
...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
Can you use previous customer behavior to proactively showcase or hide ...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
ISSUE 2: CORRECT ANSWERS 

AREN’T EASILY IDENTIFIABLE
CUSTOMER SATISFAC...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
Waiting for customers to mark an
answer as ‘resolved’ causes pain for
v...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
Even with peer answers, some
customers still want confirmation
from the...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
ISSUE 3: NO ‘RELIEF VALVES’
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
What happens when a customer
isn’t able to quickly or easily find
their...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
ISSUE 3: NO ‘RELIEF VALVES’
FUTURE THINKING
For every 1 person that com...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
“Deflection does not equal resolution.” 

- @jessicamalnik
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
ISSUE 4: PROACTIVE SUPPORT
OR EDUCATION IS RARE
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
2013: 73% receiving a proactive
service call had a positive change in
p...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
ISSUE 4: PROACTIVE SUPPORT OR EDUCATION IS RARE
FUTURE THINKING
Is it p...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
ISSUE 5: WE DON’T OPTIMIZE
FOR VISITORS (LURKERS)
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
Visitors are a primary audience of a
support community - don’t write
th...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
FUTURE THINKING
How can we better optimize our platforms to support the...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
ISSUE 1: IRRITATION LEADS 

TO HOSTILE ENVIRONMENTS
CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
ISSUE 1: TENSIONS PROMOTE HOSTILE ENVIRONMENTS
Tensions run high, which...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
ISSUE 1: TENSIONS PROMOTE HOSTILE ENVIRONMENTS
We should constantly eva...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
ISSUE 2: LOW COMPANY PRESENCE
IN THE COMMUNITY
CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
Support communities are
predominantly used to reduce costs,
and an acti...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
THE INTENT OF BUILDING A COMMUNITY 

IS TO GET CLOSER TO YOUR CUSTOMERS...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
Begin to show the community as a revenue driver; showing revenue uplift...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
ISSUE 3: RELATIONSHIPS ARE 

HARD TO NURTURE
CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
Transactional nature of support
communities does not lend itself
well t...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
FUTURE THINKING
Most customers in our support communities
are elsewhere...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
ISSUE 4: REWARDS DON’T MATCH 

ADVOCATE TIME INVESTMENTS
CUSTOMER ENGAG...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
TAKE HOME TIPS
ISSUE 4: REWARDS DON’T MATCH ADVOCATE TIME INVESTMENTS
•...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
FUTURE THINKING
Time is money, and access to a company’s roadmap and pr...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
ISSUE 4: REWARDS DON’T MATCH ADVOCATE TIME INVESTMENTS
Source: https://...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
FUTURE THINKING
Time is money, and access to a company’s roadmap and pr...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
ISSUE 4: REWARDS DON’T MATCH ADVOCATE TIME INVESTMENTS
Source: http://m...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
THE MONEY YOU SPEND PROPERLY REWARDING
ADVOCATES IS LIKELY TO BE LESS T...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
ISSUE 5: PLATFORMS DON’T ALIGN 

WITH CUSTOMER HABITS
CUSTOMER ENGAGEME...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
• Audit member behavior - look at devices & referral sources
• Survey m...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
FUTURE THINKING
Most people visit the same 5-7 websites every day. To e...
@CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES
WE CAN CREATE MEMORABLE, PRAISE-WORTHY
CUSTOMER COMMUNITY EXPERIENCES S...
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Reimagining Customer Support Communities - SWARM 2015

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When was the last time you heard a customer share how excited they were with their experience in your customer support community? Rising customer expectations and advances in technology offer the opportunity for us to drive a more fulfilling and cohesive experience for community members. Let's explore different ideas for driving more engagement, and increasing member satisfaction in the context of providing memorable, praise-worthy customer support.

Originally presented at SWARM 2015 in Sydney, Australia.

Published in: Business

Reimagining Customer Support Communities - SWARM 2015

  1. 1. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES REIMAGINING CUSTOMER 
 SUPPORT COMMUNITIES CATY KOBE | @CATYKOBE
  2. 2. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES THE CASE FOR REIMAGINATION
  3. 3. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES WE SAVE SO MUCH! OUR CUSTOMERS SAVE MONEY! WHAT DO WE GAIN? Software
 Vendor Vendor’s Customer Customer Community Members
  4. 4. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES HOW CAN WE ENSURE CUSTOMERS GET AS MUCH VALUE AS WE DO?
  5. 5. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES CUSTOMER SATISFACTION LET’S RETHINK THIS CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT Are our customers happy with their experience? Are we hindering activity and participation?
  6. 6. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES LET’S RETHINK THIS Tips to try out as soon as you get back online! Ideas to encourage thinking about future of our communities.
  7. 7. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
  8. 8. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES ISSUE 1: RELEVANT CONTENT 
 IS HARD TO FIND CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
  9. 9. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES Self-service only works if the right content can be found in the right timeframe. TAKE HOME TIPS • Find out which content works • Archive/ ‘unlist' irrelevant content • Optimize titles for search ISSUE 1: RELEVANT CONTENT IS HARD TO FIND Screenshot: AT&T Wireless Community
  10. 10. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES Self-service only works if the right content can be found in the right timeframe. TAKE HOME TIPS • Find out which content works • Archive/ ‘unlist' irrelevant content • Optimize titles for search • Ungate useful content — or at least leave a CTA ISSUE 1: RELEVANT CONTENT IS HARD TO FIND Screenshot: Oracle Topliners Community
  11. 11. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES Can you use previous customer behavior to proactively showcase or hide content based on relevancy? IDEAS: • Established members shouldn’t see the Welcome Guide after a certain amount of activity, or number of community logins • Customers who have already purchased a product should see educational/ best practices content about that product FUTURE THINKING ISSUE 1: RELEVANT CONTENT IS HARD TO FIND
  12. 12. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES ISSUE 2: CORRECT ANSWERS 
 AREN’T EASILY IDENTIFIABLE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
  13. 13. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES Waiting for customers to mark an answer as ‘resolved’ causes pain for visitors in the meantime. • Mark threads as “answered” on behalf of the author if the thread remains unresolved after a defined period of time ISSUE 2: CORRECT ANSWERS AREN’T EASILY IDENTIFIABLE TAKE HOME TIP Screenshot: Apple Support Communities
  14. 14. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES Even with peer answers, some customers still want confirmation from the brand. IDEA: • Implement a custom badge only awarded by employees to verify peer-authored answers ISSUE 2: CORRECT ANSWERS AREN’T EASILY IDENTIFIABLE FUTURE THINKING
  15. 15. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES ISSUE 3: NO ‘RELIEF VALVES’ CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
  16. 16. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES What happens when a customer isn’t able to quickly or easily find their answer? • Add a link to email, or click-to-call button to your platform • If gating contact information, use a CTA to prompt logins ISSUE 3: NO ‘RELIEF VALVES’ TAKE HOME TIPS Screenshot: Mailchimp Knowledge Base
  17. 17. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES ISSUE 3: NO ‘RELIEF VALVES’ FUTURE THINKING For every 1 person that complains, 26 remain silent. Deflection is not the same as resolution. How can we help the folks who fall through the cracks? IDEAS: • Include a pop-up to contact support after certain actions, or elapsed time • Proactively reach out to someone who has read a lot of content, but not taken an action to resolve their issue
  18. 18. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES “Deflection does not equal resolution.” 
 - @jessicamalnik
  19. 19. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES ISSUE 4: PROACTIVE SUPPORT OR EDUCATION IS RARE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
  20. 20. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES 2013: 73% receiving a proactive service call had a positive change in perception about the brand. TAKE HOME TIPS • Block out part of your week to focus on proactive actions • Leverage existing content • Start small & measure the value ISSUE 4: PROACTIVE SUPPORT OR EDUCATION IS RARE Screenshot: TechSmith Community
  21. 21. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES ISSUE 4: PROACTIVE SUPPORT OR EDUCATION IS RARE FUTURE THINKING Is it possible to align behavior in your product with actions or triggers in the community? IDEAS: • Customer begins using a new feature in your application. Can you automatically send a getting started guide through the community? • Customer reaches a new milestone in your app - can you reward this with a special badge in the community? Encourage them to write a guide?
  22. 22. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES ISSUE 5: WE DON’T OPTIMIZE FOR VISITORS (LURKERS) CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
  23. 23. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES Visitors are a primary audience of a support community - don’t write them off! • Audit your community for distracting elements • Enable features that enhance the reading experience TAKE HOME TIPS ISSUE 5: WE DON’T OPTIMIZE FOR VISITORS (LURKERS) Screenshot: Folksy Forums
  24. 24. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES FUTURE THINKING How can we better optimize our platforms to support the logged-out 
 visit experience? IDEAS: • Remove arbitrary pagination in favor for full scroll on threads • Use APIs to pull in relevant knowledge base articles at the end of key threads • Create a “next steps” module which tells logged-out users what to do next • Use CTAs to encourage visitors to participate ISSUE 5: WE DON’T OPTIMIZE FOR VISITORS (LURKERS)
  25. 25. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT
  26. 26. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES ISSUE 1: IRRITATION LEADS 
 TO HOSTILE ENVIRONMENTS CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT
  27. 27. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES ISSUE 1: TENSIONS PROMOTE HOSTILE ENVIRONMENTS Tensions run high, which leads to an intimidating or challenging experience for members. TAKE HOME TIPS • Overemphasize your tone • Provide clear & consistent moderation • Move escalations offline quickly Screenshot: Lantern Community
  28. 28. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES ISSUE 1: TENSIONS PROMOTE HOSTILE ENVIRONMENTS We should constantly evaluate the experience from the perspective of multiple user types. What does it feel like to go from newbie to super user? IDEAS: • Automatically place newcomers in an special area until they complete X actions • Automate the on-boarding process; build up a robust buddy program • Build in rewards for those who continuously work to improve the sentiment FUTURE THINKING
  29. 29. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES ISSUE 2: LOW COMPANY PRESENCE IN THE COMMUNITY CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT
  30. 30. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES Support communities are predominantly used to reduce costs, and an active presence costs more. TAKE HOME TIPS • Take an active role in sharing content or spotlighting members • Set clear expectations of when your team members participate ISSUE 2: LOW COMPANY PRESENCE IN THE COMMUNITY Screenshot: Get Satisfaction Community
  31. 31. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES THE INTENT OF BUILDING A COMMUNITY 
 IS TO GET CLOSER TO YOUR CUSTOMERS — NOT PUSH THEM FARTHER AWAY.
  32. 32. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES Begin to show the community as a revenue driver; showing revenue uplift will offset and justify the cost of active participation. IDEAS: • Integrate a “buy now” button into your community platform • Track click throughs, and future behavior, on specific product links • Develop programs that encourage product reviews, which then link back to the eCommerce site FUTURE THINKING ISSUE 2: LOW COMPANY PRESENCE IN THE COMMUNITY
  33. 33. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES ISSUE 3: RELATIONSHIPS ARE 
 HARD TO NURTURE CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT
  34. 34. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES Transactional nature of support communities does not lend itself well to relationship building. TAKE HOME TIPS • Create an off-topic area, and encourage personal stories • Use emojis or funny GIFs to remind members that you’re human too ISSUE 3: RELATIONSHIPS ARE HARD TO NURTURE Screenshot: Get Satisfaction Community
  35. 35. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES FUTURE THINKING Most customers in our support communities are elsewhere online, so why not build out channels to connect with them there? IDEAS: • Periscope: impromptu Q&As • Native video on Twitter or Instagram • Host local user groups or meetups ISSUE 3: RELATIONSHIPS ARE HARD TO NURTURE Screenshot: @BeatsSupport
  36. 36. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES ISSUE 4: REWARDS DON’T MATCH 
 ADVOCATE TIME INVESTMENTS CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT
  37. 37. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES TAKE HOME TIPS ISSUE 4: REWARDS DON’T MATCH ADVOCATE TIME INVESTMENTS • Find out what top contributors would appreciate by talking to them • Provide training to ensure answers meet your standards, and reward appropriately Badges and virtual points help build participation habits, but incentives of actual value are required for strong advocate programs. Source: https://topcontributor.withgoogle.com
  38. 38. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES FUTURE THINKING Time is money, and access to a company’s roadmap and product team will only go so far. At some point, compensation of monetary value will have to be introduced in order to ensure quality of answers and timeliness of responses. IDEAS: • Set clear guidelines around which activities drive compensation, and which don’t ISSUE 4: REWARDS DON’T MATCH ADVOCATE TIME INVESTMENTS
  39. 39. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES ISSUE 4: REWARDS DON’T MATCH ADVOCATE TIME INVESTMENTS Source: https://www.giffgaff.com/index/payback
  40. 40. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES FUTURE THINKING Time is money, and access to a company’s roadmap and product team will only go so far. At some point, compensation of monetary value will have to be introduced in order to ensure quality of answers and timeliness of responses. IDEAS: • Set clear guidelines around which activities drive compensation, and which don’t • Consider device testing, service credits, or nonprofit donations ISSUE 4: REWARDS DON’T MATCH ADVOCATE TIME INVESTMENTS
  41. 41. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES ISSUE 4: REWARDS DON’T MATCH ADVOCATE TIME INVESTMENTS Source: http://mobilemasters.koodomobile.com
  42. 42. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES THE MONEY YOU SPEND PROPERLY REWARDING ADVOCATES IS LIKELY TO BE LESS THAN THE COST OF A FULL-TIME EMPLOYEE.
  43. 43. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES ISSUE 5: PLATFORMS DON’T ALIGN 
 WITH CUSTOMER HABITS CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT
  44. 44. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES • Audit member behavior - look at devices & referral sources • Survey members and ask how they prefer to use the community • Join and use your community from the perspective of your customer • Ask low-activity members why they don’t participate via email or phone TAKE HOME TIPS ISSUE 5: PLATFORMS DON’T ALIGN WITH CUSTOMER HABITS Most platform decisions are based upon our our existing tech infrastructure, not on our community members’ preferences and habits.
  45. 45. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES FUTURE THINKING Most people visit the same 5-7 websites every day. To ensure consistent engagement, we have to place our communities within their existing web habits IDEAS: • Use APIs to integrate community threads within your native product experience • Find ways to extend your community onto existing social networks • Look in to lightweight automation with IFTTT and Zapier ISSUE 5: PLATFORMS DON’T ALIGN WITH CUSTOMER HABITS
  46. 46. @CATYKOBE REIMAGINING CUSTOMER SUPPORT COMMUNITIES WE CAN CREATE MEMORABLE, PRAISE-WORTHY CUSTOMER COMMUNITY EXPERIENCES SO LONG AS WE DREAM BIG ENOUGH.

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