inSided & Skilljar: Unifying Customer Community and Customer Education
Self-service customer support 7 min read

Unifying Customer Communities and Education drives Engagement

Remco de Vries • September 4, 2020

In our recent webinar with Skilljar and joint customer Glint—or Glint’s Customer Empowerment team, we discussed how combining an online customer community platform and a Customer Education program can deliver serious value for B2B SaaS companies in the form of increased customer engagement and brand advocacy.

Sometimes, customers implement your product in a way that even you hadn’t envisioned before. So we caught up with Skilljar and Glint to discuss how the Customer Empowerment team of Glint combined Community and Education (LMS) to provide a better learning environment for their customers. Oh boy, this turned out to be a fun conversation and a giant learning experience.

If you would like to watch the webinar on demand, check it out right here.

Our key takeaways:

  1. Users shouldn’t have to think about where to go to get their product information, Customer Success content or training needs fulfilled, this needs to be a seamless experience

  2. 94% of Glint customers has been active on their Customer Community in some way, shape or form. This is a MASSIVE number! 🚀

  3. There's major benefits in making sure that training & courses are readily available through a customer community interface

  4. Content and Knowledge Management. Not the same thing! Knowledge management is the right info to the right person at the right time. Content management is the set of processes and technologies that support the collection, management, and publishing of info.

Such a great example and practical implementation of both a Customer facing Community Platform, and educational resources.

AND, the engagement from the audience during this webinar was off the charts! There were multiple audience questions that we unfortunately couldn’t discuss due to time running out. We’ve picked the best ones, and tried to answer them in the following video. 

 

If you can’t watch the video right now, we’ve got your back, the questions are outlined and summarized below. Full answers are available in the video!

Are you using gamification e.g. ranks, badges to increase the engagement of your customers?

[Remco]
Yes, Gamification is a wide-spread and incredibly important element of Community building. It’s mainly used to show expertise, or a different status in the community. For example: if you’re the one answering all questions about a certain feature you’re passionate about, or the Apple iPhone, it’s a great achievement to at some point earn a title like ‘Apple expert’.

But we also see a lot of customers stimulate customer engagement through a ranking system—or points. What this means is e.g. that any answer given by a member of the community that is also the ‘best answer’, is awarded with points. Which then can be made visible on a community leaderboard.

You can then also integrate w/ e.g. CRM or Customer Success tooling like Gainsight, and use gamification data to run campaigns, hand out SWAG, etc. There’s a lot more advanced and technical implementations, but we can cover those later.

[Linda]
One thing we see a lot of our customers do, is feeding training data into the Community gamification model. So to not have 2 gamification models running, but combining them and e.g. adding training data to a rank on the community.

Within education, I really like knowledge checks. Where people get points to see how they did on a certain training, and can gauge whether or not they have learned. There is a lot of badging as well, but I personally believe that should always be tied to a credential. If you earn a badge, it should be based on learning something instead of e.g. completing a course or something.

How are super-users or ambassadors incentivized?

[Remco]
No money. We don’t see any examples of monetary compensation amongst our customers. We were discussing this earlier using the SAPS model. Can you explain that Linda?

[Linda]
Yeah. So SAPS stands for Status, Access, Power, Stuff.

Screen Shot 2020-09-03 at 12.59.11 PM

Stuff is at the bottom of the pyramid and is the most expensive thing you can give to a customer. Funny thing is, it’s also the least valued by customers. Status is at the top, which is usually the most valued. This is where a badge comes in after you have achieved something, or e.g. SalesForce has a great MVP program that’s based on status as their are a limited amount of MVPs.

[Remco]
I think Access and Power are especially interesting when used in an Online Community. We see some of our customers give out ranks, or when you are a heavy user of a certain feature they will give you access to a BETA-part of the community to help test & develop that feature. Power is a little more rare, but sometimes when someone is such a massive help in a community, that user is given moderator-like access, and can help manage a certain part of the community whilst not actually being employed to do so.

Are you worried about competitors getting into your community and training with public access?

[Linda]
I think it’s a hard decision to make. What do you gate and what do you keep open for everyone. One thing we always keep in mind is that your customers always look on Google first, when they are trying to find information or an answer. It’s what we’re trained to do. If you gate your content, you are losing that benefit of people finding you through search.

The other thing I’ll say is that competitors tend to find your stuff anyway. If you’re giving them public access or not, they tend to find a way to get the information they’re after. Of course, if it’s highly proprietary info you need to be careful.

[Remco]
Agreed. We always advocate open communities unless you have a very good reason not to. It’s a way of showing leadership, being open, prospects can get a feel for how you’re engaging with your customers. Or how customers are engaging with other customers. That’s super valuable to prospects as well.

We have customers that e.g. have BETA-groups in their communities and actively gate those. Which makes sense right. But the general advice: keep it open.

Do you only allow customers to be part of your community?

[Remco]
We have seen cases where prospects ask product questions on the community, they get answered, and a few days later a demo request comes in and we’d know they have been on the community prior.

Or prospects that actually engage with our roadmap updates to be certain of a fit. It happens, not often, but definitely it happens.

[Linda]
We definitely open content/training on how to do a job better. Or other non-product specific content. They can be a massive source for lead generation and should always be open.

Do you see a lot of overlap between Community and Training / Learning Management?

[Remco]
We don’t see a lot of overlap. What we do see is that certain types of very lightweight training or instruction can sometimes just be an article on the community. Think password resets, or something like that. Quick instructions, to get someone back on track right away.

[Linda]
I think Community is very valuable to help people understand what training you have to offer. A good training platform will let you deeplink to courses for example, so that you can be specific about a use-case, and what you’re offering. 

Or if you have a new training out, that will be easily advertised through a post on the community.

I don’t like the idea of customers having to know where everything is found across all the different properties you might maintain as a Customer Succes, Education or Support department. So it’s nice to create that sense of direction for people.

[Remco]
Exactly. Especially when you maintain several different channels. Take the Federated search integration we just launched with Skilljar. That really helps tie channels together and help customers have a single access point to ALL of the information they might need.

Post training engagement. Do people solidify concepts or share best practices & real-life examples?

[Linda]
Sometimes. 

[Remco]
It’s possible. A common use-case we encounter is this. You have had a training session with some other participants. One of them has been very vocal / experienced during the whole thing and has helped out with a lot of practical advice. You will then sometimes see that people stay in touch post-training and continue that conversation in the community.

That's a wrap for this recap of our most recent webinar about Unifying Customer Communities and Education. We hope it's been valuable information! Be sure to also check out our technical integration with Skilljar ✅

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By Remco de Vries

Head of Demand Generation at inSided. Passionate about anything that concerns conversion, leads or data (and how to scale them!) Connect on Linkedin

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