Online Community as a part of tech touch strategy

Successful_lion
Successful_lion Member Posts: 7 Navigator
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edited January 2023 in Customer Journey
Hello GGR! I have learned a lot from several posts discussing Success Groups and tech touch strategy, but what I have not seen directly discussed is how your organization's online community is part of, or supporting, your tech touch strategy.

Questions to get your wheels spinning,
  • How are you leveraging your company's online community as a part of your tech touch strategy?
  • Do you work closely with your company's community managers? What does that look like?
  • If community IS a part of your tech touch strategy, how do communications and content differ between the community and emails, blogs, etc.?
  • What value have your CSMs seen from participating in the community?
  • How did you battle internal resistance?

Comments

  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 199 Expert
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    edited January 2023
    My favorite topic. Here is a thread I posted about it. 
  • Amanda Watson
    Amanda Watson Member, CS Leader Posts: 31 Expert
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    This is where we are right now - figuring out all the things a community can do! We are in the process of implementing Vanilla and I am really excited about the possibilities.

    Thanks for sharing links to the gems. 
  • Heather Wendt
    Heather Wendt HLAdmin, Member Posts: 285 Gain Grow Retain Staff
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    @Amanda Watson - great questions and some really strong responses to help! If you ever want to collaborate on all things Vanilla, I would be happy to share my knowledge!
  • Rich Rans
    Rich Rans Member Posts: 29 Contributor
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    The best success I had with community was when we had the ability to provide direct 1:1 communication with individual customers.  This allowed us, whenever we had a discussion or wanted to share a document with a customer, to put that into a secure location for that specific customer.  This drove customers to the community on a regular basis.  When they were there, they would also be exposed to the broader community experience and participate in peer to peer activities.
  • Successful_lion
    Successful_lion Member Posts: 7 Navigator
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    Thank you everyone for the insights and resources. I'm curious if anyone has worked on building a case for CSMs being more involved in their community. @Brian O'Keeffe @Michelle Wideman @Rich Rans

    More context around the last two questions of the original post (What value have your CSMs seen from participating in the community? How did you battle internal resistance?)

    I am facing an issue in that the leader of the CSM organization wants to focus on bringing their customers into the community, but doesn't see the value in having their CSMs in the community. I've explained that it's like throwing your kids on the school bus and when they arrive the school is empty. We need to fill the school with teachers, books, etc. for it to be worthwhile for the kids (customers). Sure, it will take some effort now, but you are making a small investment now and will reap major benefits in the future.

    The CSMs know the common issues their customers are facing, they are on demos every single day, and they answer the same questions repeatedly, but for some reason, they do not want to budge or do not realize they can scale by sharing that information on the community.

  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 199 Expert
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    edited February 2023

    It is not easy. We had three tiers of CS: Enterprise, Mid-Market and SMB and all SMB got pooled CSMs with community as the primary CS method of engagement.

    Enterprise and Mid-Market did not want embrace it. Virtually none participated on any regular basis. Worse, they did not share the value proposition of community with customers. One leader did embrace it and factored it into the role for the team and quickly left, the backlash was so bad. I experimented and did a lot of naughty things like made every CSM have access, like it or not, and tagged them in threads when it was relevant to an issue, or customer then we would let them know they needed to look at it with just a hyperlink. It was not a pretty solution, but it did get them into the community and interacting. I did the same thing with support, whose leaders saw the community as having no value. (When we launched, the person in charge of support said publicly: community has no value!)

    I do not suggest making participation mandatory. Make access for all CSMs and all customers automatic. Whether they participate or not. Make sure all customers have access and know about it.

    Put all onboarding materials and processes in the community.

    Make the community the destination for all product updates. No more emails with details. Link the complete update in the community. Feedback? Add it to the community thread is the only option.

    When there is great insight or customer discussions share a summary with the team with a link to the full context in the community thread.

    We had a proxy feature and on occasion a customer would present an issue that was perfect for the community and with permission, I would take it and add it to the community as the customer. That way they got alerts for all updates that followed and got a crash course on community value.

    As the community becomes a power center of information and updates everyone will participate on some level. Gamify it and reward participants. Slowly put the squeeze on the naysayers and holds outs. Make a big deal out of those who embrace it and celebrate them publicly and watch the hold outs slowly cave or be left out.