During the past few months, we’ve been running surveys on a number of client communities.
Two of the responses merit some attention (because the pattern is repeated in most clients we work with).
The first is who members prefer to get a response from here:
This shows that most people who ask a question don’t really mind who the response is from.
You might spend time agonising over whether members are getting enough responses from staff members or superusers, but your members probably don’t.
Which raises the question, what do members really care about? We’ve asked this frequently and the answers are usually similar to the example here:
Members care most about the detail (or quality) of response, the speed of response, and (to a lesser extent) getting a response which is personalised to them.
This probably reflects that the majority of members in the majority of communities don’t see themselves as part of a community. They’re not looking to bond and form friendships. They’re simply there to resolve a problem and move on.
I’ve known community professionals who have wasted a huge amount of time and resources trying to fight against this mindset and convert information seekers into committed community members.
A better use of that time is to work with a handful of top members who do feel a part of a community and want to help out. You can work with them to ensure members do get good, quick, responses to questions – even responses personalised to them.