How KPIs can Stop Community Fires Before They Start

Stop Community Fires With KPIs

Strategy is extremely important to a community manager. Communities move and change slowly, and the CM should always have their eye on the next six months, the next year, the next five years. I’ve seen a number of communities suffer due to a CM who is stuck in firefighter mode, always facing whatever is immediately ahead of them without taking the time to wonder what are the underlying problems within the community. CMs in firefighting mode stay in firefighting mode, unless they’re able to shift their perspective and take the long view.

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How a Customer Community Improves Customer Experience

Customer ServiceThere’s been a lot of buzz around ‘the customer experience’.  Customer experience is the sum of all interaction your company has with a customer from the time they discover your product through to post-sales support interactions.

Providing a consistently good experience to customers isn’t a new idea. Why then is the customer experience important all of a sudden?  Because ubiquitous internet means you can’t get away with anything anymore. Marketing can’t embellish what your product does when review sites tell the truth.  You can’t keep bad customer service a secret when people post it on social media and it goes viral.  This trend will only get more pronounced as millennials followed by the digital natives become a larger segment of the population.

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The Key to a Pain-Free Software Migration

The Key to a Pain-Free SoftwareBusinesses change their software vendors for all kinds of reasons. You might need a solution that’s more reliable, or has great new features. It could even be something as simple as moving from self-hosted software to a cloud solution. No matter what  the reason, switching vendors is a common source of dread for businesses. A common mistake is to get so caught up in the logistics of the switch that you forget to properly prepare the members of your community for the migration.

Communicating Change: What Your Community Needs to Know

Put yourself in the shoes of your community. A change to your community software can be a huge deal to them. This is especially true for core members, who contribute a lot and see your community as an important social outlet. In the best cases, it’s as though their favourite bar is being redecorated and weird new chairs are being put in. In the worst cases, it can be as though that bar has started requiring them to order in a different language. Expect a mass exodus if you don’t take the time to communicate how the change will affect them.

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What Your Customers Want From Support

What Your Customers Want from Support

From a consumer point of view, customer support has come a long way in recent years. The advent of omni-channel customer support has given customers a variety of choices for support, rather than forcing them to spend hours on hold for telephone service. These improvements can put businesses in a tricky position. Improved access to support has increased customer expectations, and resources are finite. It’s crucial to be able to prioritise based on what your customers want, and those priorities are different for different customers.

US online adults who want to stay in touch with your brand are three times more likely to visit your site than to engage you on Facebook – Nate Elliott, Forrester

The answer to “What does my customer want from support?” should concentrate on the criteria that a particular customer has for that interaction.  A user who chooses phone support is likely to have a very specific issue that they think will need back and forth with an expert. A customer consulting your FAQ is hoping that they have a common problem that will already have an easy answer. The drawbacks of support channels are well known to users, and they fall along an axis of time spent to potential efficacy. Is the higher probability of a fix from a phone call worth a frustrating hour on hold? Is trawling through a FAQ going to turn up anything useful?

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The Jeremy Clarkson Effect Can Destroy Your Community

clarkson as toxic community memberWhat is the Jeremy Clarkson Effect?

The Jeremy Clarkson Effect is a phenomenon that strikes all kinds of communities, including workplaces, sports teams and of course, online communities. It begins with something great, a contributor in the community who provides great value of some kind. Maybe that contribution is great salesmanship, the ability to play a sport well or a unique facility for accurately comparing the engine noise of a car to some kind of wildcat. Either way, these contributors are highly desirable for the community.

The problem occurs when that contributor either turns toxic, or shifting cultural trends render their existing behaviour unpalatable. The effect is named after the ultimate example of this, BBC scion Jeremy Clarkson. Host of a globally popular TV show, a string of gaffes of escalating severity rendered him into a toxic presence in the BBC. Corporation bosses were left with a stark choice, to fire him and lose an extremely lucrative talent or to appease him and allow the situation to deteriorate further. The Jeremy Clarkson Effect is when a toxic presence in a community has value too high for them to be easily removed.

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