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Community Value to Customer Success Staff


Our Customer Success team uses Microsoft Teams heavily to host all their discussions and questions for each other.  There is a ton of CS created content and tribal knowledge that then just sits in Teams and is never migrated over to our Customer Community.  Therefore  our customers are not  benefiting from this tribal knowledge - the whole reason we purchased Community - to better support our customers through transparent knowledge sharing. 

Having this second discussion forum site (Teams) is big barrier to adoption and engagement of Community across our CS organization. Because of this, I am going to retire the  Microsoft Teams forums. It will be a behavioral shift, but a necessary one so that people will start hosting their discussions in Lithium.

Looking for feedback on if others have experienced this? How have you positioned the value to your internal teams so that they buy into Community as an important path to supporting our customers. How have you gotten the Customer Success team to contribute more to content creation through discussions and blogging?


4 Replies 4
Lithium Alumni (Retired)

@doug_ebay has your team had any experience with this that you'd like to share?

And @ChrisCatania you've had some internal success with getting buy-in on your JX community. Any advice you could also contribute, when you have a moment?

Khoros Oracle

It sounds like you have a bit of a challenge on your hands, @mvanpelt.  But there are a few layers to it that I think can be unpacked:

1.  There is an business operations facet, which is that you would like to shift employees over to the Lithium system for their discussions.  Cutting the cord on the old system (i.e. Microsoft Teams) is the first and most effective way to go.  It might be a bit of a cold shower for a few folks, but sometimes the 'cold turkey' approach is the best way to change behavior.  But there is some real opportunity here.  The gamification system (i.e. - "rank and reputation") found within Lithium software can be configured to accommodate and accelerate employee participation.  If I were you, I would definitely leverage it for employees (as well as for customers too)

2.  There is community best practices facet, which is that you want both a very clear mission statement for the community, as well as guidelines for the participants (with an additional distinctive set of guidelines for employees).  A mission statement for employees might be something like:

Internally discussing product and services on the community will not only help inform your fellow team members, but downstream, the Community Management team can then curate and transfer those conversations to the customer-side of the community (assuming the content is customer-facing) .  Conversations that start here, can be cultivated to help our customers!

3.  Lastly, there is a potential motivation challenge for participants.  If you really want to step up in that area, which I strongly suggest you do, try to get leadership on board with employee recognition and rewards when employees provide stellar long-lasting and consistent content on the community.  This is actually a lot harder than it sounds.  Even the most mature communities with very accomplished Community Managers struggle to form these types of programs.  But, IMHO, it is the crown jewel of employee gamification / incentivizing when it comes to community

I hope these suggestions are useful for you.

Khoros Alumni (Retired)

As far as I am aware Microsoft Teams is a real time chat offering, similar to Slack, with no forum component to it. It coexisting with a community in an organisation poses some challenges to communication culture and we were facing the same in Lithium as well. Real time chat serves a slightly different purpose than a discussion forum: It's useful for timely and short answers, but solutions are rarely easily re-discoverable and search is bad unless you know exact terminology that was used. 

When discussing guiding employee engagement a recent tweet from community professional Rachel Happe comes to mind: 

My two cents: you can't GET your employees to engage. You have to make them comfortable and entice them. Control is for Amateurs

So here's a few hints to approach this:

  • Understand: What nature are the conversation happening on real time chat? Office chat conversational? Topical and threaded questions and answers? Solutions that are re-usable for similar scenarios? Pick the biggest bucket and tailor your community structure and presentation to cater for that content type. That could be picking the right interaction style, preparing the right sticky content for community first timers to answer their FAQ and identifying the internal super users that can take ownership of that internal community area. NB: That's not necessarily your customer success team lead.
  • Create exclusivity: Start with content that is currently shared in internal email newsletters, IM chat announcements, etc. The likes of HR announcements, office events, leadership updates,... Have these shared exclusively on community and promoted with the community link on the other channels to use their reach.
  • Community reminder: If a good discussion finished on the IM chat channel that produced some good insight why not remind the discussion starter to post to the community. This could be as simple as copying over the chat transcript or formatting and curating it a bit. Don't forget to package that ask with the benefits that come along with posting on community. And you can take away some of the initial struggle of "which area should I post this on" by directly sharing a link. Something like the following:"Hey Jennifer, Great discussion. Would you mind posting a summary on our customer success board on the community. Community has much better search and allows finding this solution again in a few months. Also it brings you closer to your next topic badge ;). Here's the board link: <link>"

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Thanks for looping me in, @BeckyS!

Hi @mvanpelt, Sorry on the delay in getting back to you. I echo the feedback shared by @JakeR and @ClaudiusH . Great stuff and I've used similar approaches when working with internal stakeholders. A couple things I would add are: 

1. When aiming to guide or change the behavior make sure to have a good understanding of the stakeholder value propositions and what business goals they are aiming for, what are they being measured by, what problems are they trying to solve?  Once you understand those answers then you can better position how the community or what you want them to do will be a benefit to them. Speaking their language is always key too so you can explain what you asking them to do will help them solve their issues and problems. 

2. On the note about moving internal content to an external community, and based on what you shared, there might be some hesitancy in sharing the internal knowledge externally because they don't understand what part of the content should be shared externally. I know I've experience similar push back initially as well because of fear or uncertainty. I found that a few working sessions and clarifying conversations to co-created policies and guidelines with these teams helped to move things forward. Changing the behavior by removing the old trigger is a good move but it definitely has to be done in the right way, and I know not all internal stakeholder will be onboard, I would just be sure to focus on the key partnerships and getting as much leadership buy-in as you can before closing existing forums. 

For our Esri community strategy, our Esri Customer Advocacy team is a close partner of ours and we've trained them how to moderate and respond in the forums as one of the many staff SMEs who contribute to our external community. I've focused a lot of my time and energy on building a relationship with them, and creating a model of tying community participation to their job that I plan to scale to other staff in a way that works. Over time this approach has helped to move things ahead.  

I hope this helps, and as always, I'm happy to jump on a call to chat and share more. 

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