Enthusiast communities rely on moderators to make sure that members are following the rules and resolving disputes. Customer communities are looking to moderators (or, more appropriately, community managers) to play a much broader role:
1. Social Committee. Welcoming new members, giving them a quick orientation and encouraging them to start posting and participating on a regular basis. Moderators/community managers are often heavily involved in offline events like customer meetups or conferences since they are well known to your customers.
3. Concierge. The forum moderator might well be the only person that your customers have a relationship with and becomes the 'go to' when a customer wants something.
4. Marketing and PR. Building buzz in the forum leading up to a product announcement, identifying happy customers who are willing to participate in case studies and rewarding customers who promote your brand.
5. Sales. Identifying an up-sell or cross-sell opportunity. Since moderators should advocate for customers, it's probably better that they not be asked to actually sell to them.
6. Strategist. The community moderator is immersed in the customer experience and is well positioned to gauge the reaction to new products or initiatives, help create customer personas, help identify unmet customer needs and provide other inputs to your company’s strategic plans.
Given how a good community manager/moderator can contribute to the success of a business, the executive in charge should choose carefully when hiring someone to manage the forum.