When The Community Is Indispensable, You Overcome Other Problems

Last week StarlingBank announced they were closing their brand community.

“We had hoped the forum would be a place where customers could openly discuss with each other questions they may have about our app. In reality, however, we’ve found that a small but vocal minority of forum members have had unrealistic expectations of what it is for. In addition, the conversations that take place there often expose potentially sensitive customer information.”

A lot of communities have closed down in the past few years because of similar complaints.

i.e.

  • “A lot of our members now talk on social media”
  • “Too much spam”
  • “Vocal minority causing problems”
  • “Legal liability”

These aren’t the real reasons of course. They’re simply the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Every one of these problems has been overcome by others in the past. Facebook doesn’t shut down when moderating becomes a pain, they hire 3000 more moderators.

The real reason is the organization isn’t willing to invest the resources to overcome these problems. They might have plenty of engagement, but it’s not delivering results that matter.

Do you think the community would shut down if it had delivered 500+ great sales leads, nurtured 250 raving advocates, converted 2000 newcomers into premium customers, been the primary source for great PR stories, was the main tool to collect service feedback etc…etc…?

The community is closing down because it’s not delivering the results that make investing extra resources a no-brainer.

Indispensable communities, those which are absolutely necessary, don’t get shut down.

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