Community is Crucial for Customer Success
Community plays a vital role in scaling your Customer Success program and achieving more with fewer resources. Customers sharing best practices and contributing to product enhancements are invaluable resources, connecting you directly to the pulse of your user base. Beyond scaling, a comprehensive community strategy offers numerous benefits. Here are ten secrets to supercharge your community CS strategy!
Look for and enroll advocates from your community. Advocates are enthusiastic, experienced users who are fans of your software, and your community will be filled with them. Your community is a key resource for your advocacy program and a place where you can grow and nurture them. Remember, treat your advocates like gold; they deserve it.
#2 Community Managers are Connectors
Your community team can connect customers behind the scenes. Introduce customers who have common use cases or struggles, live in the same area, or have similar attributes. Tag a user you know might have an interest or answer. Don’t sit around waiting to respond or inject life into dead threads.
#3 Be Fearless in Engagement
Know a user who has an answer or might be interested? Tag that user in the thread. See two or more users who should know each other? Introduce them via private message. Know another thread that covers some, or all, of the thread topic? Link to it. The key is do not just sit there waiting to react. Thoughtfully look for ways to engage and connect users to keep them active!
#4 Automate Community Access
Users and key internal stakeholders should be automatically added to the community. Relying on invitations and hoping they join does not serve anyone. Again, it must be thoughtfully done. (By default, all subscriptions and updates are set to off.)
#5 Manage Forums Effectively
Limit who can create forums. Be prepared to cull them regularly, combining duplicates, removing ones with little traffic, and ensuring that all are active, thriving and content is easy to find. Avoid forum bloat and make sure content is easy to find and there are not so many choices users are overwhelmed.
#6 Celebrate Together
Celebrate milestones and personal events in the community. That customer who just posted his 100th post? Set off fireworks! A wedding, new baby, or birthday? Ring the bell and let the balloons lose! It’s a professional setting but celebrations should not be limited to work-only milestones. Customers are humans and have lives, acknowledge that.
#7 VIP Community Events
Offer exclusive events at live and Zoom user gatherings. Make sure your community users feel special and appreciated.
#8 Community Success is Real
Community Success is as valuable as all other forms. Do not allow it to be positioned as low value, strictly low-touch, and limited to select customers. Focus on how it empowers customers and fosters loyalty and self-service, at a fraction of the cost.
#9 All Customers Should Have Access to Your Community
Ensure all customers have access to the community. Community is where Customer Success starts, even your largest customers will find value and what they share is often invaluable. Don’t silo them.
#10 Internal Branding
Avoid defining your community as the low-touch, low-ARR destination for your smallest customers. Highlight its power to empower all users, a powerful way to self-serve, foster engagement, and where expertise is shared.
About the author: Brian O’Keeffe is the Digital Engagement Manager at Egnyte and has spent more than ten years in Community Customer Success. He launched a community for a small Cambridge, MA startup and then became an early team member of the Community Success team at Kronos (now the Ultimate Kronos Group) and those experiences are where he discovered a passion for and love of all things Community!