Stop Wasting Time on Customer Support

Sneaky headline alert: I don’t think customer support is a waste of time. I just think there are plenty of businesses out there who are spending way more time on it than they should.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on ticket deflection. To briefly recap that post, ticket deflection is a means or method companies use to cut down on person to person support time. This practice not only saves businesses time and money but drastically benefits customers as well. Continue reading

[Product Post] Highlighting Staff Posts

In this post, we’ll cover a couple ways to make it easier for community members to identify staff posts and make those posts visually stand out. To make these modifications to your Vanilla instance, you’ll need to modify theme your base theme’s CSS.

1. Highlighting staff member posts in discussions.

In the first example, we are going to change the background color of staff posts and display an image for the role title instead of text. In this example we are modifying the Deflector theme and targeting the Role = Staff but you can target any Role and you can also target a user’s Rank if you are using the Ranks feature.

To be able to target Role CSS, make sure that the Role Title plugin is enabled.

To change the background color, add the following CSS on the Customize Theme page of the Dashboard:

.Item.Role_Staff {
background-color: #d8ecfc !important;
}

To display a Role title image, use this CSS:

.Item.Role_Staff .MItem.RoleTitle {
color: transparent;
background: no-repeat url(https://static.v-cdn.net/demo/staff-tag.png);
content: ” ” !important;
width: 30px;
margin-left: 8px;
}

The image can be stored on your web server of you can ask your customer success manager to upload the image to Vanilla’s CDN.

2. Using the Role Tracker plugin

The Role Tracker will tag tracked Roles and they will receive a CSS class to allow visual customization. For the tag to appear on a tracked post, you must have tagging enabled.

To enable the Role Tracker plugin, contact support or your CSM. The plugin is not-self-serve because it will make some changes to your instance that cannot easily be undone and we like to walk you through deployment. Once installed, you’ll see plugin options that let you set which Roles should be tracked.

With the Roles tracked, you can now do several things via CSS, some of which are fairly advanced and might need the involvement of our services team:

  • Display a custom icon next to discussions that contain tracked role post(s)

  • Use the promoted content module to display most recent tracked posts. In the example below, a custom carousel was created to display the tracked posts. You can read more about the promoted content module in this post.

  • In a discussion, let users click on a tag to skip to the next tracked post.

[Gaming] Can Indies Market Their Game on a $0 Budget?

Indie games have become a large part of the mainstream gaming industry. In his interview with IGN, Phil Spencer from Xbox predicts, that the term ‘indie’ won’t be relevant much longer when describing games; they will just be games. This steady growth holds a lot of promise for developers unless they are missing out on effective marketing due to the inadequacy of funds. Continue reading

5 Things You’re Doing to Alienate Your Community Members

Everybody has a set of painfully annoying quirks they don’t immediately recognize.

Just ask my wife. She’ll tell you all about mine.

As a community manager, you’re no different. There are aspects of your leadership and communication style that will inevitably rub some people the wrong way. So it helps to know where those blind spots are, so you can manage them. Continue reading