…are customer service communities.
You can find dozens on GetSatisfaction. Lithium does a great job of these too. There are thriving customer service communities throughout the internet. You can find them on O2, Skype and most tech/communication-based products/services.
Most community managers for organizations work in customer-service based roles.
These communities are easy to start. You need a product/service that people have problems with (or have questions about), provide an online platform to ask those questions and incentive others to respond with their answers. It's a cost-effective alternative to a call-centre. It's a clear ROI.
But these communities are limited in potential. Most people join the community to resolve a problem and then don't return. The audience rarely develops a true sense of community. A handful of experts usually account for most of the activity.
There is amazing potential to be unlocked from developing a community. Improving customer service is an easy option, but it's not always the best option.
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