The success of any business, regardless of industry, relies in large part on its ability to communicate effectively both with its customers and internally. That’s why selecting the right self-serve customer support platform is crucial – and it all starts with a strong, community-driven plan.
In this post, I will outline the key steps to take when producing an online community plan to prepare your organization for future success.
Consider your Industry Needs
You might have the best product or service in the industry, but your efforts will all be in vain if your offer isn’t reinforced by impeccable customer support that is scalable.
While every organization must make use of a wide range of different channels to offer customer support, it’s also important to take a collaborative approach to effectively handle the workload on your support team. That way, you’ll be able to respond to the most important support tickets quickly, while maintaining a community-driven approach for addressing the more common problems.
B2B customers tend to be far more demanding and a lot more pressed for time, so reliability, confidentiality, speed and professionalism are some of the more important factors to consider. That’s why self-serve community support platforms are particularly effective in B2B businesses, since they provide an exclusive medium for your customers to offer each other tips and support.
Prioritize Internal Collaboration
B2B customer support is a multifaceted process that requires prompt and clear communication – not just between your support team and your customers, but also between your internal departments and business partners. To that end, you need a system that allows employees to easily access and share the same information they need to resolve issues promptly.
Furthermore, a robust B2B support community can help you leverage insights from the vast amount of actionable data generated by various online activities, such as customer feedback and discussions. Without proper internal collaboration, support requests will get lost in the system and, as everyone in B2B knows, this means losing customers and major damage to your reputation.
That’s why you should opt for a system that allows support staff to flag important matters and create private actions on everything from forum discussions to open and closed support tickets. With a centralized approach, you’ll ensure everyone’s on the same page.
Choose Something Scalable
Business may be motivated by profit, but the inability for your support team to grow with increasing demand will only lead to a boom-and-bust cycle. That’s why you need a scalable system that grows with demand and doesn’t hold you back when there’s a sudden surge in customers or support requests following the launch of a new product or service.
Community-driven support is a must-have for almost any business, since it helps keep the support tickets down to a minimum while providing you with a flexible and scalable system for handling common issues and prioritizing resolutions.
Ideally, you’ll want a system that combines a self-service support platform that can provide you with an easy dashboard for your support team to deal with issues quickly.
Make Things Easier for Your Customers
While it cannot be stressed enough that there’s no substitute for having a dedicated support team, particularly in the context of B2B industries, peer-to-peer approach to support is enormously beneficial.
Ultimately, it’s all about making life easier for your customers. They understand that support is rarely instantaneous. That’s why they prefer a quick look through a community support forum first, before they open a ticket.
After all, if your customers are opening tickets to resolve common issues for which there’s already a well-established fix, both parties end up losing time.As the above points illustrate, the modern customer support process starts with the community. Having a community-driven knowledge base that integrates with your conventional support ticketing process will ultimately reduce the workload on your support team, while helping customers get more for their money by being part of a community – rather than just a buyer of a product or service.