When I visit online community support sites, I do so through two lenses - one as a user looking for information and the other as a critic who builds front-end digital experiences for clients. In all cases, it’s one of the few times I am actively engaging with a brand and I am looking for help. In these moments an opportunity exists for the brand to really take what is most often a moment of frustration on my end and use it to actually build the relationship between me and them.
The principal behind building brand equity with your community support site is pretty straightforward. When your audience comes to you in a time of frustration and need, everything you do should be in service of meeting that need and alleviating that frustration. If you do that, you will have taken a negative brand moment and turned it into a positive one.
One of the primary ways to do this is to create a frictionless online support experience that is catered to the needs of the specific customer. In fact, there are services I’ve paid for for over a decade simply because their support systems address my needs so well and every support engagement has been tailored to my needs as a customer.
When I change hats from being a user of these customer support sites to a critical front end developer, I can tell you that there are some common areas where brands fall short when using community platforms to engage with their audience. And this is far too important a touchpoint to trust to a solution that really can’t be tailored to your brand and your audience’s precise needs.
These opportunities exist in both big and small elements of the community support site. It is important to address and asses the following aspects of your community support site to determine whether or not you are building or eroding your relationship with your audience:
High quality mobile experience
Integration with other elements of your system
A seamless UX with the rest of your site
Easy access to user-generated content
Your community support site is one of the few times there is an opportunity for two-way communication with your brand. It’s critical to your business that you ask yourself what solution you trust to serve this point of customer outreach and serve your customers.