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What Kind of Community Is It Really?

Richard Millington
Richard Millington

Founder of FeverBee

Having a newcomer thread on a customer support community doesn’t usually work well. Neither does asking members how they’re doing, what their average day is like, or their plans for the weekend.

That’s because the community is functional. 99% of people just want to resolve their problem in the quickest possible time.

Trying to build a sense of community on a customer support community doesn’t work well (I’d argue these are communities in name only, but smarter people might disagree).

A big challenge today is to honestly recognize the type of community we’re dealing with and adjust our actions to match. More of us manage functional, customer-satisfaction style, communities than we might believe. For many, building a sense of community is less important because people just want the quickest possible answer to a question.

This doesn’t mean you can’t take a small 1% of the audience and build a sense of community around them in the hope they answer questions others are asking. But understand these are two entirely different things which should be undertaken in two entirely different places.

This leads into two natural goals for most of us then;

  1. How do we ensure everyone that has a problem is either searching or asking for an answer in our community?
  2. How do we identify the 1% and build a powerful sense of community around them in a different location?

Don’t try to act like a community organizer when the audience wants a plumber to fix their problem. There’s nothing wrong with being a utility, just don’t be confused. Be the best-damned utility you can be.

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