Develop Three Different Community Approaches For Three Different Customer Tiers
I’m not an enterprise level customer for most of the software I use.
It wouldn’t take much to turn me into an unprofitable customer either.
If I’m paying $500 a year for a software product and each support call I make costs the company $13 (for example), my value as a customer drops precipitously with each call I make (or ticket I file).
It’s not uncommon for the costs of supporting lower-value customers to exceed the revenue generated by the customer.
This is where organisations increasingly rely upon communities to fill the gaps.
At the top tier (enterprise plans/customers), customers will always expect a support representative on-hand to resolve any problems. The speed and quality of response is often detailed in the contract. But organisations increasingly rely upon communities (notably Q&A discussion forums) to support lower-value customers.
This makes sense. If lower-tier customers can answer each other’s questions, the cost of supporting each new customer approaches zero as time (and activity) increases. This is where a typical Q&A platform approach comes into play.
But this doesn’t mean community approaches are only valid for lower-tier customers. As we can see in the pyramid diagram, community approaches can still provide tremendous value to all tiers. But they have to be catered to each tier.
For example, premium customers may not have traditional support questions to answer, but we’re noticing they still want to connect and learn from each other. But they need you to provide a private, facilitated, space for that to happen.
The sense of privacy and freedom to exchange tips / learn from each other is critical here. Enterprise customers can join this as well, but they also seem to value exclusive meetups and invites to engage directly with key staff.
To simplify, the basic Q&A forum is probably for basic-level customers. Beyond that you may need to create private, facilitated, places to support customers to proactively exchange ideas.