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Fresh from Pulse: How your customer community can help you scale

Did you miss #Pulse19? Never fear! We’re here on the inSided blog with a snapshot of our CEO Robin van Lieshout’s take on how your customer community can help you scale your customer support and success efforts.
Having worked with over 100 brands, Robin shared the three main use cases we see at inSided—where customer communities are contributing to overall growth. These applications are simple but insanely impactful.

Customer Support

Of course you’ll always try to build your products in such a way that your users enjoy easy onboarding and friction-free usage. But let’s face it—there will always be questions. You’re probably already well aware that the preference towards self-service has skyrocketed in the past few years and we see this continuing to grow. Your users are perfectly happy to self-serve if the process is made easy and effortless for them.

That’s where the beauty of your online community comes in!

All of your customers combined probably know a lot more about your product than you think—and what’s more, many of them are willing to share their expertise. So offer your community as a first line of contact. If the answer is not there, and people start asking, get your in-house experts involved, and have their answers benefit many users well into the future rather than just the one user who is asking right now.

The result? We see that close to 50% of customer support questions can actually be answered by peers easily. For those that can’t, ensure users always have the option to talk with support or CSM. Enabling this mechanism can deflect 25 to 50% of the questions currently hitting your support team.

Customer Success

We’re all working to increase retention, renewals, customer happiness…

But how?!

Customer engagement is actually a great leading indicator for this, and it’s something you can improve day-by-day. It’s possible to stare at retention numbers all day long, but that doesn’t change anything. Content is the solution here. If you can inspire people with plenty of relevant content, you can increase engagement and, with that, retention and product adoption rates.

We’re all used to creating content for our marketing programs—this blog is a case in point—but how about post-sales or customer success content? Create how-to’s, pull together inspiring case studies and use the events you organize as content engines too. Distribute all of this great stuff across your central customer community and make sure to push it to users with relevant, personalized notifications.  

Make sure you measure. You need to know what’s going well and what’s not with your customers. Having a 360° customer overview is important. How many of you know which accounts or which contact persons have submitted the most product feature ideas or support requests? Or which of your contacts have viewed the most content, or even more importantly, which accounts are showing a drop in activity and content usage? You want to know, and this is where an integration between your community and your CSM tool (e.g. Gainsight) is extremely helpful.

Building better products

At #Pulse19 we’ve seen the marriage between CSM and product teams. How do you scale this? Well, we still remember the early days of inSided. Our CSMs were basically doing everything. Helping customers with strategy, answering support requests and, for many customers, working with a simple Excel sheet where they discussed wishes for new product features. Surprise, surprise—that didn’t really scale. Having individual CSMs discuss individual feature requests also doesn’t feel like a good idea, right?

So once we introduced our own community, we began to steer everybody to that platform. Customers can submit their wishes, but the best part is that other users can vote on these ideas and discuss them further. It’s very common to see a user come up with an idea, but once their peers share their opinions and suggestions to the challenge, the original poster changes his or her mind on how important this request really is. This is a great filtering mechanism for your product team who are no doubt trying to prioritize feature requests alongside the product roadmap.

How do we handle this at inSided? First, each request is discussed within the product team, we have automatic Slack notifications to alert us of new ideas, and Product Owners can decide whether to create a JIRA ticket and—ultimately—give feedback back to the community.

So, there you have it—our three most common online user community applications outlined in a (tiny!) nutshell, courtesy of our CEO Robin’s presentation at this year’s Gainsight Pulse.

You can check out the full slides here:


Stay tuned for more on this topic on the inSided blog!