5 Pitfalls to Avoid When Creating a Customer Support Community

This blog post is the third in a series.

You want to introduce a community where you customers can help each other find the answers to their customer service issues. Indeed, a community can be an effective way to get your customers more engaged with your products and brand, and to deflect calls from your customer service agents.

A well-organized, vibrant community provides a great customer experience. But there are some issues you should try to avoid before rolling out a community, to make sure your customer community achieves your business goals:

1. Lack of content in the community

While it may be true that “if you build it they will come,” it’s also true that if people don’t find what they’re looking for, they won’t come back.

So when you first roll out a community for your customers, one issue to keep in mind is the “zero-content” problem. Since there hasn’t been a lot of activity yet, it is likely that the customer will not find answers that are exactly relevant.

How RightAnswers Community avoids this pitfall

Until your customer community reaches critical mass, have your customer service agents and SMEs monitor the customer community and chime in when necessary. RightAnswers Community links to the Agent Portal and sends notifications when a question in the community goes unanswered after a certain amount of time.

2. Forcing customers to look in more than one place

A customer community should make your customers’ lives easier. But expecting them to go to one place to find answers in your knowledge base and to another place to consult the community requires them to expend more effort in finding the answer.

How RightAnswers Community avoids this pitfall

RightAnswers Community integrates with your knowledge base so it displays the relevant knowledge base articles as well as community discussions when people search, browse and post questions in the community. This way customers get a one-stop shop when searching for answers to their questions.

3. Disconnected from Level 1 and Level 2 support

Most communities are separate from agent-assisted support. That means if a customer cannot find the answer in the community and decides to escalate the issue, s/he has to start from scratch with the customer service agent.

How RightAnswers Community avoids this pitfall

RightAnswers Community integrates with the CRM, ITSM or other systems the customer service agent uses. This ensures a continuous experience for the customer. The customer’s entire search history in RightAnswers Community (e.g., previous searches, viewed discussions, posted questions) is passed to the agent when the customer opens a dialog.

4. The knowledge base does not keep pace with new knowledge shared in the community

You don’t want your community and knowledge base to act like two ships that pass in the night. For your knowledge base to remain relevant it needs to contain the answers your customers are looking for – and many of these will live in your community.

How RightAnswers Community avoids this pitfall

Since RightAnswers Community is integrated with the knowledge base, customer service agents can seamlessly migrate crowdsourced community discussions into the knowledge base as draft solutions for review. In this way, you gain an exponential number of new knowledge authors to keep your knowledge base up-to-date.

5. Hard to quantify ROI and the usefulness of the community

As with any business undertaking, you want to know what’s working and what’s not and whether you can justify the investment.

How RightAnswers Community avoids this pitfall

RightAnswers Community has built-in dashboards and reporting that provides analytics on community membership, ROI based on any criteria such as the number of deflected calls, activity statistics and more.

Communities as part of a larger knowledge vision

RightAnswers Community is designed to be an extension of the knowledge platform. As such, it integrates with a company’s system of record (CRM, ITSM, etc.) and with other support channels, to provide a holistic customer service experience.

From the research we conducted about support communities, we learned that people want to find consistent answers and to view all knowledge in the same place, and that companies are concerned with analytics – aspects that are lacking in most customer support communities. RightAnswers developed RightAnswers Community for companies that want to embrace “knowledge everywhere” and include social knowledge as part of their broader knowledge vision – to use all available knowledge to provide a better customer experience.

Read the other blog posts in this series:

Author: Shari Ingerman

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