Tech support user communities – what are they and should you start one?

Gebruikersgemeenschappen voor technische ondersteuning - wat zijn ze en moet je er een beginnen?

It’s important for your business that your customer body doesn’t just remain a distant audience that listens to your communications and occasionally engages with your technical support staff. Ideally, your customers should be able to engage with you -and each other- on an ongoing and dynamic basis. Creating a customer community dedicated to helpdesk queries and shared solutions is one way you can make this happen.

What is a tech support user community?

A customer or user community is an online space where your customers can connect with each other and your helpdesk staff. There can be multiple reasons for them doing so – to have conversations, share information about your products and their interaction(s) with you, answer other customers’ questions, or just throw ideas around.

There is no set format or hard-and-fast rules for a customer community. It can take the form of an online forum, omni channel meetups or even email lists. It’s first and foremost a public communication place where your customers can talk about your brand. They can share solutions to their problems, answer FAQs, suggest new features, share helpdesk resources, and provide feedback.

A helpdesk user community can be particularly helpful from a technical support point of view, as it allows your customers to help each other solve problems. This can in turn significantly reduce the workload on your company’s helpdesk team.

Related content: What is help desk support / technical support?

Will developing a customer community be good for my company?

Creating a tech support user community can be beneficial for both your brand and your customers. However, establishing and maintaining one does require resources, so you need to have the business benefits of building one clear in your mind.

The bottom line is that a smoothly-run tech support user community is a valuable resource to both company and customers. In fact, as many as 86% of customer community builders believe that the existence of a well-run online customer community will impact the core operations of their businesses positively. And 85% of them believe it’ll improve CX and build customer trust.

Related content: Automated Chat vs. Communities

What are the benefits of having a customer community?

These are some of the most significant advantages of a customer community for your brand:

Improve customer engagement

A tech support user community helps your business get closer to your customers in an easily accessible and pleasant environment. By humanizing your customers’ experience, it builds a bridge of effective communication between you and your customers – making helpdesk clients feel valuable and acknowledged.

Build brand loyalty

Creating a customer community can boost brand loyalty by fostering a sense of belonging and engagement among customers. Additionally, having a strong customer community can also serve as a form of social proof, encouraging new customers to try the brand and existing customers to continue doing business with the brand.

Customers find value in communicating with each other

By bringing your customers together and helping them to help each other, you’re increasing their chances of successfully using your product. This will contribute to goodwill, boost brand loyalty, and add value to your brand. Remember that many consumers welcome the opportunity to learn how to solve technical issues on their own.

Connect with your customers on a whole new level

Your tech support team can reach out directly to a customer if they need help and offer personalised customer support, which other users can then also see the solution to. You can stay on top of FAQs and identify significant trends amongst your customers. You are therefore able to proactively deal with potential issues and make sure your customers have positive user experiences.

Helps you gain valuable customer insights

A tech support user customer community is a veritable mine of information about your customers! Drawing on the feedback you get from customers and talking to them will help your business to identify their wants, expectations and pain points. You can then proactively adapt your strategies, training offers, promotions and communications accordingly.

Ensure your self-service support is spot-on

Many customers prefer self-service, and by facilitating this and ensuring your self-service function works well and is always up-to-date, customer satisfaction will be boosted. Self-service will take significant pressure off your helpdesk.

Help you identify your brand advocates

Enthusiastic brand advocates are worth a lot to your business! They don’t just use your product, but actively promote your product to their peers, relatives, and friends.  Identifying them on your user community enables you to reward them with special perks to further cement their loyalty. They’ll also furnish you with a valuable marketing ‘weapon’, namely social proof, by putting their testimonials on your community website. Their words are a powerful way to support and bolster your marketing.

Valuable resource for customers

Customers can often help each other by sharing their experiences, knowledge and specific tricks and tips they’ve learnt. One advantage of this this is that many customers won’t have the in-depth knowledge that your helpdesk staff do – meaning they might put things into simpler language or have a different take on explaining a solution.

Best platforms for hosting your customer community

It’s obviously important that you host your helpdesk user community on the best platforms, so here’s a list of some of the best ones in alphabetical order:

  • Circle
  • Disciple
  • Discord
  • Discourse
  • Facebook groups
  • HumHub
  • Kajabi
  • MemberDev
  • Mighty Networks
  • Peerboard
  • Podia
  • Reddit
  • Slack
  • Thinkific
  • Tribe
  • Vanilla Forums
  • Uscreen

Reddit is probably the most popular and commonly used platform, as it’s simple to set up and monitor, and a lot of support forums exist their already. If you need help deciding on a platform, or if you’re not sure whether a user community is a good idea for your helpdesk team, Digital Customer Care Company is happy to offer advice.