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Customer Community Software For Customer Support

A recent case study I read featured a large software infrastructure company -- and reflected what we have been seeing across the customer support industries.

The company needed to act quickly, given the fact that a large number of customers (who would typically prefer the self service support) were now bombarding their call centers and direct support lines.

This is a challenge that a wide range of businesses face when it comes to post-sales customer support or customer service -- and often puts a burden on their traditional customer support channels which including phone, email, and support centers.

Not only is this a burden on customer support teams, who almost always have their hands full with escalated cases, but it's a often financial drain too.

With some in-depth research into finding a good solution, the company leveraged a customer community software platform that they customized and launched into a full-fledged online self-service customer support solution, offering a great resource that their customers could turn to for answers.

As observed by many, when given a good online alternative to direct support, a lot of customers prefer self service support.

Most of us are used to visiting the website and searching for help or using the website as a first option for customer service or support. It's only when we don't find answers online or find it difficult to get what we're looking for do we call a support number.

Businesses need to tap into this by ensuring that first line of customer support is the point at which most of their customers find the answers they are looking for -- and that calls for a strong online solution.

Customer community software geared to deliver customer support helps to deliver a solution in a way that most customers are comfortable with. 

There's reasons why you need to provide a support community ... your customers need an option to log into a community where they can find documents, resources, videos, podcasts or use discussion boards, forums, Wiki's or chat to seek out solutions.

Here are what some businesses who have implemented a customer community have seen:

  • Quick reduction in volume of calls and a drop in the number of emails and other inquiries that were direct burdens on the customer support team. This instantly allowed them to focus their attention to escalated cases and important matters that are not easily resolved trough self-service support.
  • The users or customers are able to quickly adapt to the familiar social networking environment of the support community and easily find and share resources and information available within the network, as well as interact with others to seek answers to specific questions.
  • A large number of questions posted on forums and discussion groups are answered by other users or customers who have encountered similar situations, or are perhaps more familiar with the products, creating a community support structure. Customers are able to find solutions, and in many ways, a great sense of satisfaction by interacting with others. Even though business representatives are present in the community, they can often play more of a moderating role and step in where needed.
  • The knowledge base within the community builds over time, creating a large resource for documents, best practices, FAQs and other content. This becomes a valuable resource for not just the customers, but the businesses too, as it has valuable feedback and information that can be used in product development and improving customer processes. The build-up in the knowledge around the community also helps to reduce the need for more customer support reps and their active involvement, as customers are able to find what they need from the vast information that has already been built up.
  • A measurable reduction in overall support costs from greater adoption of online support through the community, lower dependency on phone support, heavy re-usability of support content on the website and more.

With a strong social customer support infrastructure on the website as the front line of support, businesses can use the benefits of social software to achieve greater customer satisfaction levels -- while keeping a check on costs.  It's definitely the way forward for the customer support and service organization.

Tim Eisenhauer
Written by Tim Eisenhauer

Tim is president and co-founder of Axero Solutions and author of Who the Hell Wants to Work for You? Mastering Employee Engagement. He’s been featured in Fortune, Forbes, TIME, Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur, CNBC, Today, and other leading publications.

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