How can communities help scale customer support

Online communities that have high engagement are some of the most close-knit spaces for people to have discussions. This creates a safe space where people can get involved without any ulterior motives and even become advocates for the community, helping it scale through word-of-mouth which is arguably one of the best marketing strategies. These communities can be leveraged to improve customer support and scale it over time. You can choose to create online communities dedicated to customer support or just leverage an existing community to allow customers to ask and get their queries answered.

Stronger customer relations

Communities are where people are free to talk to one another. This means there is no necessary need for a customer support professional to solve a query. Here, issue resolution does not need a traditional ‘ticket query being raised’ but rather users who are also community members can post their questions in the community and get them answered by another user or customer. Also, previously resolved queries can serve as FAQs for new users to refer to and get answers to their questions.

Communities are also great places to get certain tips and tricks or learn best practices from folks who have done it before. Additionally, in communities where chatbots like Threado AI have been installed, can answer customers’ queries accounting for omnichannel support (we shall explore this later in this section).

Build a Knowledge Base

A knowledge base is a valuable resource for customers seeking answers to common questions. Create a comprehensive knowledge base with FAQs, troubleshooting guides, and product documentation. Ensure it's easily accessible and searchable within your community platform.

One of the biggest concerns with having an AI chatbot is answering the question incorrectly. ‘An AI bot is only as smart as its training’. An extensive knowledge base leads to a more well-informed AI chatbot which is more reliable and is less likely to answer questions incorrectly.

This makes up for self-service options that customers value more than having to speak to agents. More users these days prefer being able to solve their concerns by themselves. Having a detailed, easy-accessible, and searchable knowledge base is the foundation for providing better self-support options.

Building a dedicated community for support

One of the best ways to scale customer support through community is by having a dedicated support community that users or customers can access specifically to their concerns answered, not just by your support team, but also by other users or customers who are also part of the community.

Choose the Right Platform

After you’ve defined your structure, it’s time to decide on a platform that fits into your structure. Selecting the right platform is pivotal to the success of your customer community. Consider factors like ease of use, scalability, integration capabilities, and user experience.
  • Online Forums - Platforms like Discourse provide traditional forum-style discussions, ideal for in-depth technical discussions and Q&A sessions. This style of community-based platforms follows an FAQ approach which not only helps in resolving issues but also builds a knowledge base that other customers can refer to, potentially preventing future tickets.
  • Branded Community Platforms - Platforms like Slack and Discord have channel-based structures that are great for conversational discussions and networking.
  • Social Media Groups - Platforms like Facebook Groups or LinkedIn Groups are great for fostering a sense of community among users.
  • Third-Party Community Platforms - Tools like Reddit or Stack Overflow can also be used effectively if your target audience is already active on these platforms. Here, too, you can follow a Q&A style approach which can be beneficial in terms of reducing direct tickets.

Make ‘getting support’ easier

A community that makes it easy to get support will always be a preferable and convenient way for users to get answers to their queries. When you’re building a community specifically for support, it should facilitate faster and more dedicated support for all members that is not only reliable but also accurate. Here are a few things you can do to achieve that -
  • Have dedicated channels for asking product queries which should also be constantly monitored by you and your team to ensure instant support.
  • Keep an eye on questions that are frequently asked and create an FAQ page where users can search for answers for themselves.
  • Train the bot on your help docs, knowledge bases, URLs, PDFs, and even your community conversations so it has context for all the discussions that have taken place. If people ask questions that have previously been discussed in the workspace, the bot can answer them using that as the reference.

Omnichannel support

Integrating community interactions into an omnichannel approach means that no matter where a customer seeks help—be it through a forum, social media, or direct contact—the support team has a unified view of the customer's journey. This ensures consistency in support and a more personalized customer experience.

Create Engaging Content

Content is the lifeblood of any successful community and for customer support. This can include:
Online Forums - Platforms like Discourse provide traditional forum-style discussions, ideal for in-depth technical discussions and Q&A sessions. This style of community-based platforms follows an FAQ approach which not only helps in resolving issues but also builds a knowledge base that other customers can refer to, potentially preventing future tickets.
User-Generated Content - Encourage users to share their success stories, case studies, and tips.
Discussion Threads - Foster discussions around product updates, industry trends, and user feedback.
Surveys and Polls - Gather feedback and opinions to inform product development.
The more content you have, the more self-help options there are for customers and users to get great support without having to speak to support agents or even chatbots. They can find the answers themselves.

Foster Engagement

Building a vibrant community requires active engagement from both your team and community members. Here are some strategies to foster engagement:
Participate Actively - Engage with community discussions, answer questions, and provide insights.
Gamification -Implement gamification elements like badges, points, or leaderboards to incentivize participation.
Moderation - Appoint moderators to ensure discussions remain respectful and on-topic.
Events and Challenges - Host contests, webinars, AMAs (Ask Me Anything), or product feedback sessions to keep the community engaged.

Leverage user advocacy or build a Superuser program

Empower your most enthusiastic customers to become advocates. Consider starting a superuser program. A superuser or a power user has an upper hand in terms of expertise and sheer passion as compared to other members of the community and is capable enough to leverage that to help others. They can contribute by creating training modules, taking walkthrough sessions, and in general, lending extra helping hands when it comes to offering support. Not to mention the social advantages of a product that has organic advocacy and word-of-mouth growth.

Encourage them to share their experiences with your SaaS product on social media, in reviews, and through referrals. Recognize and reward their advocacy efforts with special privileges or incentives within the community.
We’ve curated an in-depth Notion workbook for community builders with 800+ resources. Check out Community OS.

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