Change The Incentives To Resolve Community Issues

If you look deep enough at why a community isn’t working, you often find an incentives problem.

A person (or persons) at a senior level isn’t incentivised to make a community click.

In one community, the most frequently cited problem is technological. The experience is so bad and clunky, members give up on using it. This problem rolls up to the person responsible for the Salesforce platform. This person is incentivised by budget, speed to resolving critical problems, and the ability to scale the platform.

This doesn’t mesh well with goals like active members, member feedback on the experience, utilization of the unique features of the platform etc…

So the community team is always fighting for scraps of time to make minor improvements. It pretty much kills the entire project.

Getting to know the IT team can help. But, ultimately, you’re going to have to go a level higher to change the system. This probably means making a financial case (i.e. ‘the community is costing us [$$$$] per day and not achieving its goals’), a logical case (i.e ‘we shouldn’t be driving our best customers to have their worst experience’) and an emotive case (i.e. ‘our competitors are all doing much better than us’).

It’s a choice really. You can accept whatever scraps of support and attention you get from IT (and other teams) to make the community work. Or you can look at the incentives (or objectives) of each group and try to change them to make the community work.

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