You need a Community Support Service for your social network

You need a Community Support Service for your social network

If you want to build an online community or social network, you are going to need to make sure you can look after your community members. A great Community Manager is essential and for them to do their job effectively and efficiently, they need the right tools. They need a community support service.

What is a community support service?

Also known as Help Desk service, a community support service is any system that lets your community members ask for help and support, and for the help and support to be effectively managed by your community support team. At a simple level, a support service could be a Community Manager’s email address or a basic contact form. 

However, most online communities find that basic systems like this quickly become insufficient. While it may be easy to manage the occasional request for help, as support requests increase, keeping track of and ensuring each support request results in a satisfactory resolution becomes a logistical challenge.

Bottom line; your community support team needs a system that tracks communications and seeks efficiencies in the time spent responding and supporting community members. Community members need a resolution to their issues in a timely manner and when support isn’t immediately available, they need to know their problem is being looked into.

Benefits of a community support service

  • Reduce time spent providing support.
  • Learn about your member’s needs.
  • Transparency. A community support service ensures that all communications with community members can be seen and shared by your whole team.   
  • Happy members. Ultimately, a community support service will reduce the time it takes to resolve individual member requests. What’s more, members can stay better informed about how their support request is being dealt with.

Read our article Launching an Online Community: Community Manager Preparations

Key tools of a community support service.

We’ve said it time and again, every community is different. This means the features and functionality of a community support service will vary from community to community. That being said, most services are comprised of the following features: 

  • Knowledgebase/FAQs – These should be your first line of support. FAQs, compiled into an easily searchable knowledge base can significantly reduce the amount of time your support team spend resolving basic issues.
  • Ticketing system – This is likely to be the primary way community members will reach out to your support team. Good ticketing systems allow you to create forms based on the type of support your member needs. This ensures you capture the data you need, based on the issue your members are having. Ticketing systems send out automated responses to your members ensuring they are kept in the loop. Tickets can be tracked, searched, and shared between support staff and more. Ultimately, tickets are the foundation of excellent support.
  • Chat client – If you have the resources, offering community members the ability to chat with a member of your support team in real time can be invaluable. Good chat clients offer canned responses, queuing systems and countdown feedback. 
  • Community support forum – If your community is made up of a subset of avid enthusiasts or knowledge, engaged members, then a community forum can be an incredible way to provide support with the minimum of internal overheads. Community support forums aren’t for everyone but in the right setting, they can grow into a phenomenal database of support. Note, your support team should check in and offer help and support in the forum when necessary.

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