Customer support via chat-based communities

Some best practices for providing support via your community.

Hi everyone! 👋

Last week we shared some community engagement recipes with you – repeatable things that you can do to boost engagement within your community. We distilled this resource from our talks and interviews with several community builders. But naturally that wasn’t the only topic that we discussed. Another frequently mentioned subject was customer support. In this issue we’ll share some tips for managing customer support through chat-based communities.

Enjoy, and don’t forget to hit the subscribe button (if you haven’t) to follow along on the next issues! 👇

👥 Customer support via the community

Many of you also provide some form of customer support through the community. There are some clear advantages to be gained by doing so. It provides your users with an easy way to get in touch with you. Delivering support through chat or a forum also feels way more human than via support tickets. Not to mention that your other community members can chip in and help each other out, assisting your support team in the process.

However, the downside of providing support through communities, especially the ones that are chat-based, is that the tools often weren’t built for this purpose. This can cause issues, such as losing track of which questions have already been answered. The direct communication of chat-based communities can also mean that people feel entitled to get quick responses to their questions, leading to disappointment if they don’t receive it. Managing expectations is therefore very important. You should carefully consider the pros and cons of formally providing support via the community and communicate clearly what people can expect.

We’ve spoken to a number of people who have shared their approach to customer support. Such as Tuomas Artman, co-founder of Linear, who appointed a single person responsible for keeping track of unanswered questions and making sure they get answered in time. Or David Okuniev, co-founder of Typeform and VideoAsk, who made the decision to not provide support via their Slack community, but automatically direct people to the appropriate place instead.

Read their tips and the other ones we’ve collected here👇 They’re mainly focused on Slack-based communities, but there are also some more general tips there.

Show me the tips

As always, we’d love to hear your feedback!

🤩 Reads of the week

Deflect support, open-source community goal

3 min read – It can be incredibly difficult to successfully support any software product when the needs of your users surpass the resources you have to respond to them. This is especially true for open-source software. In this post by Tessa Kriesel, she explains how you can leverage your community to minimize the need for support.

Social media predictions for 2021

3 min read – With 2021 just around the corner, it’s a good time to think about where social media and communities are heading in the new year. In this post Greg Isenberg shares his thoughts with us on what to expect.

Activate your community to build better products and ignite adoption

4 min read – Another benefit of having a healthy community is that you can actively involve them in the building process of your product. Brian Oblinger explains how you can make this work in this post.

Thanks for reading this issue 🙏

Next week we plan to have another cool interview for you 💪, stay tuned, and subscribe if you didn’t yet.

✌️ Cheers,

Steven, Gino, Frank, Lennart