Building a Self-Service Support Through an Online Developer Community

Summary

  • Most tech-savvy professionals, and especially developers, want to help themselves in real-time, with the least amount of friction possible.
  • Companies need to provide a comprehensive selection of relevant answers documented by company and community experts in plain and simple language, as well as organize information to ensure customers can quickly find the exact information they need.
  • Many customers have severed a business relationship due to just one bad service experience, and it costs a company much more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.
  • An online knowledge-sharing and collaboration community can be the perfect outlet for transforming an ineffective customer support experience into a powerful and engaging one for all involved.


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The evolution of the Internet, social media, and mobile communications has changed the way companies (whether large and small) interact with their customers. Phone calls and emails to voice customer complaints have fallen by the wayside, quickly abandoned in favor of posting grievances online instead – be it a tweet, review, or blog post. Automation has replaced human interaction. Developers value peer to peer communication, and this is where a community can help build top- and bottom line value for your business.

Why Does an Online Developer Community Makes Sense?

We must evolve with customer needs, especially if developers are included in the customer base. Companies that can establish a simple, intuitive self-service experience, including a peer-to-peer interactive community, solve this need. A community that helps customers – especially developers – resolve their own issues, answers questions with expert content, and helps them find the right documentation is a huge win. Such a robust community makes it unnecessary for them to contact traditional customer support another huge win. Unfortunately, the search and help functions on many self-service websites are woefully inadequate. Customers get confused or lose confidence in the resources provided because the “help” section of a website just isn’t capable of answering the questions they are asking. Companies that provide a wide-ranging variety of easy to comprehend, relevant, organized answers and information logged by company and community experts means customers can find exactly what they need to know fast. This can easily be done with an online knowledge sharing and collaboration community – the best outlet for changing an unsuccessful customer support experience into a successful, efficient, engaging one.

Online communities provide superior support through improved customer and expert knowledge. Users can resolve problems at their own speed as needed while learning as much or as little as they want. Companies can pre-populate communities with strong content that addresses frequently asked questions, documentation, and relevant articles. Not only can content such as articles, documentation, videos, and posts answer questions, but other users can share their own experiences to provide trusted, insightful answers. This level of engagement not only enables knowledge sharing but also builds relationships and collaboration. Customers can connect with others based on similar interests – whether that is a product inquiry or specific support issue – and even route questions to experts for immediate answers.

This kind of online knowledge-sharing and collaboration community is the most effective way to engage and support your developers. It helps to get them the right information at the right time to solve the problem and/or issue they are grappling with at the time. An online developer-centric community helps to defray technical support costs because tickets get resolved in the community by peer developers. It can also be a great resource for ongoing engagement campaigns and marketing.

Online knowledge-sharing and collaboration communities also give customers a place where they can share feedback on products and services with the company and their peers. Through community participation, customers share experiences which establishes a level of transparency and trust between the company and its customer, especially if your customer is a developer. Businesses can establish a dialogue with their customer base, then use the knowledge when developing a new product or preparing a new release.

All it takes is a single bad experience, particularly when it comes to service, for a company to lose a customer. Replacing a lost customer uses more resources than keeping a current one. With an online knowledge-sharing and collaboration community, companies can successfully meet the needs of their customer base, avoid negative PR, and increase customer retention and loyalty through an effective self-service support experience.

Conclusion

Developers and those who feel comfortable with technology appreciate the convenient and fast option of self-service online support. Create your community with your customer base in mind – before releasing it to the public, populate it with frequently asked questions and relevant answers in simple, plain language. Finding answers quickly in an online knowledge-sharing community increases engagement and customer satisfaction.

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