What Does A Community Manager Bring To A Support Community?

In a support community, the community manager shouldn’t be dealing with spam or regurgitating information from one place (published product information) to members of the community.

Cheaper moderators and machines can do that.

A community manager should participate if they can only add remarkable value. That might include:

  • Taking the time to truly understand the problem. This means asking additional questions, clarifying the problem, getting to the core problem and ensuring your solution will uncover it.
  • Ensuring the poster feels they are treated as an individual. This means empathizing with them, being specific to their situation, and responding personally to the information they have shared and not situations ‘like this’ in general.
  • Closing the loop. Ensuring that the person with the problem had their problem resolved. That means checking in that the solution worked and there aren’t any additional problems. It means ensuring that any promises made are kept.
  • Escalating the issues that matter. Knowing how to take the information being shared and identify trends or escalate problems to the right people to get a resolution.

If you’re not going to take the time or effort to do any all of the above, it’s best to let the moderators and machines do the work instead.

Comments

  1. Kate Ambash says:

    I’m really glad to see this post today as it’s something I’m struggling with. I’m a one-man CM/support manager, covering the community + all other support channels…including (now) Facebook Ad comments.

    I’m sure others can relate, but when customers get frustrated and snippy, I start to lose my patience. I have a personal rule that users who use profanity won’t get a response-- or else I respond and tell them such. I usually find it helps break down walls.

    Part of the problem we face as a startup is known issues that won’t get fixed quickly. We’re also in a tricky space where we’re dependent on regulation in the energy industry (oy vey) and users often are left in limbo. The struggle is trying to keep things simple AND help the user to understand why we don’t have a better answer. That’s where I’m stuck: How do you keep things simple and understandable for the average user when a more nuanced understanding of the problem might help the CUSTOMER with his empathy.

    I recognize I’m conflating two things here: Our empathy as a company, and soliciting empathy from the customer for us, the overwhelmed CMs/CSMs.

  2. Alessio Fattorini says:

    I’m support specialist and community manager, this post is super-useful :wink:

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