About this iReport
  • Not verified by CNN

  • Click to view DrNatalie's profile
    Posted January 11, 2014 by

    More from DrNatalie

    Reduce Support Costs With A Customer Community: Increase Agent Efficiency (Part 1)

    We love our customer support agents. Friendly, helpful, and patient by nature, these folks spend more time talking to your customers than
    anyone else in your company. They truly understand the pain points of your business, and they’re the ones putting in long hours to resolve
    them for your customers. It’s important, then, to ensure they have the tools and resources necessary to be truly effective.
    This isn’t just a good idea from a warm and fuzzy perspective. Agent salaries are the most expensive part of a support center. By ensuring
    that they’re using their time efficiently—helping people solve complex, technical or individual problems, not responding to the same basic
    questions over and over again—you can do a lot to maximize the value of your support agents, the satisfaction of your customers, and
    minimize stress and pain points for both.

    This eBook is the second in a series of three explaining how customer communities can help companies realize significant savings and
    revenue sources, along with the metrics and calculations to measure the results. The first eBook focused on customer community as a
    valuable resource for customer self-service support. This book focuses on the way companies can leverage community to improve agent
    efficiency. Stay tuned for the final, which will discuss community as a means to improve customer retention and acquisition.

    Customer Community: The Basics

    Since this eBook is all about how you can leverage a customer community to improve agent efficiency (and reduce costs as a
    result), we figured it makes sense to give a quick refresher course on what exactly a customer community is, just to make sure we’re
    all on the same page.

    So what is a community platform? It all started with some of the first technology that emerged on the web—the forums and
    message boards of the 80’s and 90’s. These technologies were built to create online spaces where users could have threaded
    conversations about the topics, products, and services that interested them. To have an identity across conversation, users
    typically created a profile with a nickname, so that they could build their reputation. This primordial community technology worked
    well for engineers, developers, and early adopters, but it was not designed to be easy-to-use by a mass audience.

    A lot has changed in today’s community platforms, but the core conversational functions have remained the same. At Get
    Satisfaction, we have a strong point of view that, for a community to be most effective and beneficial for customers as well as companies, it should have the following:

    ❑User-friendly interface with a simple way for even tech-wary users to browse and search for relevant conversations
    ❑Technical flexibility that allows business to embed community content and functionality across customer channels … on websites,
    social networks, in digital campaigns, and on mobile and tablet devices
    ❑Business features and tools (topic moderation, content curation, etc.) that allow for successful community management
    ❑Ability for the community to be branded by the company that owns or sponsors it
    ❑Content that is highly indexed by search engines (through SEO) and naturally appears in top search results
    ❑Analytics tools that allow business users to assess community health and performance, determine the most relevant content, and
    identify the community members who are mostly likely to become brand advocates
    ❑Formal Champions program that allows you to identify, recognize, and allocate simple moderation capabilities to the customers who
    act as informal leaders in your community

    When equipped with these features and moderated and curated effectively, communities are great assets for customers to research
    products, find answers to their questions, and act as resources for others. These conversations drive customer satisfaction and brand loyalty, while helping companies deliver great support, gather feedback to build better products, and acquire more customers.
    Effectively, community allows you to deliver a better customer experience, while reducing costs and bringing benefits to multiple
    departments across companies.

    Stay tuned for Part 2!
    Add your Story Add your Story