3 Ways An Online Community Streamlines Customer Support

Meredith Rock | January 28, 2016

Imagine the average day for one of the employees in your customer support center.

She clocks in for the day. Immediately, her phone starts ringing. She speaks with an agitated customer who is having a product or service problem. By the time she’s helped this customer and hung up the call, every line on her phone is lit up with more customers with service issues or simple questions.

The longer these customers wait, the more agitated they become. They take their agitation out on your customer support employee. She does her best to remain friendly and composed, but the hostility of some of her customers begins to wear on her. Eventually, she feels miserable and provides lower quality service to your customers.

If she’s lucky, she might get a brief lull in her call volume, which gives her the opportunity to answer the long queue of customer support emails assigned to her. As soon as she’s found the information she needs to answer the first email, her phone starts ringing again.

Does this sound similar to your business’s customer support operations? There is a solution. Keep reading to discover how an online customer community helps improve your customer support operations.

The Dangers Of Bad Customer Support

Overburdened customer support threatens your business’s bottom line by negatively impacting customer satisfaction. For example, consider how most customers feel about their cable providers.

According to The Wire, “declining customer service [is] to blame for low customer satisfaction” scores that make Comcast and Time Warner Cable “the most hated companies in America.”

Quite simply, bad customer service can cause your customers to disengage with your brand and seek services elsewhere. To solve this problem, consider implementing an online community for your customers. A customer community helps your business:

#1. Share Information Faster

Your overburdened customer support employee spends much of the day answering calls for customers with basic questions. Customers may call with questions about a planned service outage or may be wondering when a new product version will be made available for purchase.

With a customer community, your business is able to share important information right on the community’s homepage. With an active customer base regularly logging on and finding this info, you reduce the need for customers to directly contact your customer support center, which reduces the burden on your customer support staff and enables them to focus on new issues as they come up.

#2. Enable Customers To Answer Each Other’s Questions

“I’m having a problem with this product. How do I fix it?”

Your customer support employee hears this question too many times per day. With a customer community, your customers are able to crowd-source this question on a community message board. Other customers who have already determined the answer are able to reply to the question. Your employees then simply go in and mark the best answer as your business’s official answer.

Customers could even use your online community’s dynamic search function to find answers to questions that have already been addressed within the community. By giving customers the power to answer each other’s questions, you increase efficiency and reduce the need for your staff to field call after call answering the same question.

#3. Create Happier, More Engaged Customers

When designed and managed properly, customer communities offer your business a powerful tool to increase customer engagement. Your most enthusiastic customers feed off each other’s energy and help convert “middle-of-the-pack” customers into brand ambassadors. The ease with which customers get their questions answered and issues resolved within your customer community only enhances this effect.

Happier customers are much less likely to call in with complaints. When they do need to call in, they are more likely to be civil or even cheerful to your customer support staff. Your customer support employee, in turn, feels more engaged as her work burden has been reduced and the customers she speaks with are friendlier and more polite. All of this helps her do her job more effectively.

When you implement a customer community, you help make your customer support employees’ lives easier while increasing efficiency. This leads to happier customers and happier employees. With streamlined operations and more satisfied customers, you increase profits and help launch your company to the peaks of success.

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