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Community Triage: The Future of the Community Centric Customer Journey

5 minute read

May 18, 2021

You might hear the word triage and think of meeting an ER nurse who evaluates you and assesses the best course of action for your health. Now, I’m reassigning the word to correspond with community. Community triage is “placing community at the beginning of any customer journey for the most effective ‘treatment’ by your organization”.  

Without delving too deep into research we conducted last year, the key thing we learned is customers expect the ability to self-serve, and it’s one of the most important aspects of their customer experience. While 84% of people want to attempt to solve issues on their own first; 79% expect self support to be an option. 

Offering a self-serve option that is convenient, ie. can be found via Google (where an overwhelming number of customers start their journey for help), leads to an increase in customer satisfaction. If you provide a self support option, 77% of people view your organization in a positive way.

The challenge however, is that it needs to be done well. Our webinar Customer Perceptions of the Community Experience can give you some insight into customer expectations and how to meet them. Watch it here!

What organizations need to be paying attention to is streamlining their customer journey: customer interactions should align with customer expectations. To maximize efficiency and satisfaction, there needs to be a structured funnel for customers to travel through.

 

 

Rather than directing everyone to creating tickets or calling support, allow them to self-serve. Allow them to learn, to share their experience or knowledge, to vote on best practices, and to create new content to help others. 

Only when this point is reached should there be ticket creation - this should be the last stop to support your customers. 

Your community should be acting as the silo breaker in your organization. It can bridge the gap and create a positive impact across so many departments within your company. 

 

The Future of the Community Centric Customer Journey

 

Support

The obvious advantage to community is for your support team; community can facilitate a dedicated space for FAQs and a knowledge base (kb) that answer the most commonly asked questions. 

Members and moderators of the community can add to the kb as more questions are being asked and more topics are being broached. This is how content is created and shared.

FAQs or less common questions can be posed within the community and a member or a moderator can answer. If there is no answer within a certain time frame, it can be escalated to ticket status and your support team can take over from here. 

This takes a load of pressure off of your support team and enables them to channel their time into the tickets and requests that can better your product or service. 

Success

For your customer success team, community can be the ultimate measurement of success. They can use the community to network and engage with customers in a valuable, measurable manner. 

In this space they can source inspiration and best practices that they can then direct clients to. Clients can share their use cases, their lessons learned, and the unique ways in which they have used your product or service enabling CSMs to share this information with other clients in an efficient manner. 

Your members are creating the content that can be used by your CSM team too!

Sales

The community can facilitate discussions which can aid your sales team.  Within the community you can see pre-sales questions and help assist people in considering plan upgrades. Let me be clear, I am not encouraging this to be a sales channel, but a place which can assist a potential customer doing pre-buying research, with an easy option to reach out when they are ready. 

Product

Your product team can be supported by the community in many ways. 

Members will share bugs and issues they are having with your products and these will be directed to the product team. It’s a much more streamlined ticketing system.

Ideation will help your product team to see which products your customers actually need - rather than grappling in the dark, there will be a well-educated system in place for product development. 

Use cases of products will be shared amongst members, offering product employees insight into how their developments are being used and how they can be expanded on.

Marketing

Your marketing team can benefit greatly from community; they can identify content, case studies, and even potential brand ambassadors within the membership. 

When members share content, including case studies or reviews that are positive, marketing has direct access to these and can repost in other channels.

When it comes to negative feedback, the marketing team is equipped, via community, to handle this and contain it. There is more space to handle this here, and also have access to important customer data when responding.

Super users, or brand advocates can be identified and brought into the marketing fold via Community in a formulated manner. Member history of product use, community contribution, and more are within the metrics making choosing brand advocates a much more structured decision.

HR

Similar to marketing advantages, HR teams can review member metrics to find future, potential employees. There is a clear member history and metrics available around their community usage and contributions. Members of a community can be an untapped resource of future, passionate staff members. 

Community at the Beginning of the Customer Journey has Many Benefits:

  • Efficient use of staff

  • Increased organizational knowledge

  • Sales opportunities

  • Product feedback and ideation

  • Lead capture

  • Better hiring practices

Placing community at the beginning of any customer journey is so beneficial across your organization. Your customers are offered an excellent option for self-service and can be directed to the most effective ‘treatment’ for their problem. 

Are you interested in learning more about customer expectations and how community can serve them? Sign up for our upcoming webinar, Customer Perceptions of the Community Experience. 

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Community

Adrian Speyer

Written by Adrian Speyer

Adrian Speyer is the Head of Community and Lead Evangelist for Vanilla Forums. Besides spending many years in digital marketing, Adrian has been building communities of all sizes for over 20 years.

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