Company: NetApp Company background: In a world full of generalists, NetApp is a specialist. We’re focused on one thing, helping your business get the most out of your data. NetApp brings the enterprise-grade data services you rely on into the cloud, and the simple flexibility of cloud into the data center. Our industry-leading solutions work across diverse customer environments and the world’s biggest public clouds. Contact: Drew Claybrook Title: Community Manager Related URLs: NetApp Community NetApp Knowledge Base NetApp Support Site NetApp KB TV on YouTube NetApp on Discord Kudos Category: Best-in-Class: Community 1. Describe the organization's objectives in launching a Khoros community. What is the use-case and purpose of your community (support, enablement and learning, marketing awareness, customer success, driving sales, product innovation, etc.)? Has the community charter evolved since its launch, and if so, how? The NetApp Community empowers our customers and partners to optimize their support journey. Built on robust Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS) v6 Practices and a five-channel support model, the Community operates in the peer-to-peer space. You may be familiar with the standard three-channel approach, but in 2021, our strategy was expanded to include “detect and predict” with our Active IQ solution. 2022 brought us the development of an in-product, API-based offering. For many years, support tickets were required for customers to resolve issues that could’ve more easily been automated or otherwise handled via a self-service option. This manual process for support drove up costs and took time away from troubleshooting more urgent requests and ultimately isn’t a good experience for us or our customers. NetApp’s pursuit of the “shift left” approach to building a better, digital-dominant support model aims to increase customer satisfaction and decrease costs by helping customers get ahead of problems before they begin. Our focus on continuously improving the customer experience keeps us at the forefront of trends in the support industry. Though NetApp has had a community since 2008, the Community’s role in this project really began in 2019, when responsibilities were transitioned from Marketing to the Digital Support Organization. The Community Manager role was filled in January 2020 when we began to place particular emphasis on ensuring that questions are responded to (and answered) in a timely manner. This initiative has been met with a variety of challenges over the past few years, but none have been insurmountable. Community means nothing without its supporting resources, and often, those resources can be summarized simply as tools and people. Without good tools like a Knowledge Base and Support Site, the community is likely to struggle and without good people, the community will fail. Persevering through staffing changes and re-orgs, we’ve been able to show the community’s value in overall customer satisfaction and in our cost-per-answer measurement, which we’ll cover below. NetApp’s Kudos Award entries from 2021 and 2022 highlight our previous successes if you’re interested in reading more about our experiences. 2. How did the community get brought to life? Was there executive/business/stakeholder buy-in? What was the process to gain this buy-in? How was cross-functional support and organizational adoption achieved? We were fortunate to have strong, top-down support of the community early on in our transformation. Building community tasks into the everyday activities of support engineers seeds familiarity, and after securing executive buy-in, this ultimately means engineers are given more flexibility. Occasions to explore and learn about new products, features, and tools outside of one’s normal focus area aren’t usually presented very often. The community is also able to offer unique insights on product interoperability that can’t always be foreseen or tested in a lab environment. Fortunately for our community team, the opportunity to learn presents itself regularly. Questions about unique use cases and best practices are frequently posted in our discussion boards. The support engineers love it because they're learning about new things, and our customers love it because they're getting answers and learning from the shared experiences. Maintaining a strong alliance with our marketing team through these transitions also fosters new strategies for instilling community awareness in our current and future members. The recognized success of NetApp’s industry-leading KCS program opens the door to community contributions and ultimately improving our Knowledge Base. Even when a post isn’t directly actionable in the Knowledge Base, its presence in Google and other search-engines is sufficient to drive traffic to the Community and add value to the overall experience. In fact, over 75% of the Community’s traffic comes from Google referrals. Sometimes, information in the Knowledge Base and the Community can benefit from supplemental video content. Our knowledge team has published numerous videos highlighting popular articles, and our Community Manager has also produced videos demonstrating common tasks on our support site. Check out NetApp KB TV on YouTube to see what we’ve created! Ensuring community content is accurate and available becomes a key factor in reducing cost-per-answer, and maintaining viability of the community is our best tactic for driving costs down. Content that is useful and relevant tends to perform better in search results. We know people are searching and better performance leads to more views from unique users, which is part of our cost-per-answer calculation. 3. What were the results? More revenue generated, a reduction of costs, improved customer experience, more innovation, etc.? Tell us how Khoros helped you achieve those results. Please include quantifiable metrics if possible. Because the shift-left initiative necessitates a more holistic approach to improving customer satisfaction, we track a wide range of data points. These insights help us to learn more about how we can meet our customers where they need support, and not just when they need it. Numerous improvements and features have been added to the NetApp Support Site, but those leading to automated self-service success have had the biggest effect on raising our contact ratio and CSAT scores. The latest addition to our digital support offering is the introduction of APIs for in-product support. Customers no longer have to “leave” the product to get assistance. Tasks like downloading software updates, checking entitlement, searching knowledge, or opening a case can all be done in from the same place. If you’d like to see the API in action, check out the video I recently published. In our Knowledge Base, we’ve reduced the time to publish an article from 30 days to 0 minutes. The ability to rapidly publish articles ensures that we provide information about known issues (even new ones) as soon as possible. Additionally, our article visibility rate has gone from 65% to 94%, meaning more content is available for consumption. Both factors are critical components in building a thriving KCSv6 program like ours. To improve the value of community, we’ve focused on ensuring responses answering the question being asked are marked as the topic’s solution. This pairs nicely with the Knowledge Base because it means these “known issues” are published immediately and can be quickly ingested by search engines. In doing so, we’ve seen topic views increase coupled with more frequent surveyed successes, which results in a reduction in contributed cost-per-answer. As more answers were being marked, more new topics were being posted. Proving to customers that solutions are available builds trust that the community is a reliable source for information. The community specifically is about 7x cheaper than the next closest support channel (our KB). Both of which are many times “cheaper” than operating solely in assisted support. Unfortunately, plotting this in a way that demonstrates these savings without compromising certain integrities is not something we can do in a public forum. That said, we’re seeing considerable cost reduction across our digital support platforms. Results from these initiatives (among others) increased our overall contact ratio in April 2022 from 70:1, to 83:1 in April 2023. Cost per answer was reduced by nearly 20% in the same period, and by nearly half since 2021. We’ve also maintained CSAT scores >96% and improved our Customer Effort Score by 7% (to 88%). As we continue to shift-left, we’re excited to see what new value we can find in the Community. We’ve got a thriving Discord community server as well, which we treat as a peer-to-peer sub-channel. Since the community is our most cost-effective solution channel, we’ll need to seek new ways to measure and grow. We’re looking forward to FY24 and the availability of Khoros Aurora, which, no doubt, will also shape the future of the NetApp Community in the coming months! Special Thanks: Ryan Hinchliffe - CSM, Marcial Saldana, TAM Case Study Opt-In: Yes
... View more
Company: NetApp, Inc. Company background: In a world full of generalists, NetApp is a specialist. We’re focused on one thing, helping your business get the most out of your data. NetApp brings the enterprise-grade data services you rely on into the cloud, and the simple flexibility of cloud into the data center. Our industry-leading solutions work across diverse customer environments and the world’s biggest public clouds. Contact: Drew Claybrook Title: Community Manager Related URLs: NetApp Community NetApp Knowledge Base NetApp Support Site NetApp KB TV on YouTube Kudos Category: Best-in-Class: Community 1. Describe the organization's objectives in launching a community. What is the use-case and purpose of your community? Do you use your community for support, enablement and learning, marketing awareness, customer success, driving sales, product innovation, etc.? Has the community charter evolved in any way since launch? The NetApp Community empowers our customers and partners to optimize their support journey. Built on robust Knowledge-Centered Service v6 Practices and a five-channel support model, the Community operates in the peer-to-peer space. You may be familiar with the standard three-channel approach, but in 2021, our strategy was expanded to include “detect and predict” with our Active IQ solution, and in 2022 with the development of an in-product, API-based offering. Our pursuit of the “shift left” strategy keeps us at the front of trends in the support industry. While the NetApp Community was originally launched in 2008, it had limited success in its early years. The site was migrated to the Khoros [Lithium] platform in 2014, where it was managed by marketing and served as a blog platform, with occasional “glances” at support. In 2018, the community was completely redesigned to improve the user interface, aiming to increase engagement and participation. In 2019, Community responsibilities were passed to the Digital Support Organization and gained the supervision of a full-time Community Manager in January 2020. Since then, particular emphasis has been placed on ensuring topics are responded to (and answered) in a timely manner. To make these assurances, a “community backstop” program was introduced in 2020, supplemented by a team of senior support engineers. Members of this supplemental team continue to serve as moderators, and now act as the front-line of community support. Their insights are shared with the rest of the Digital Support team to guide focus, and their feedback is crucial to our successes. If you want to read more about the beginnings of that story, take a look at NetApp’s 2021 Kudos Award entry. Now a primary, trusted forum for support and related topics geared toward external and internal audiences, our Community hosts a growing variety of smaller, specialized conversations. Our partners, resellers, and employees have access to unique “micro-communities,” offering perks to their members. These restricted spaces make content management much easier for category owners. For example, Group Hubs serve as the center of our Early Access (beta) Programs. This enables program managers to interact directly with group members without burdening the support organization when issues arise with software not yet available to everyone. These spaces benefit several organizations internal to NetApp, including sales enablement, support, marketing, product development, and ultimately, our customers and partners. Being able to capitalize on a multitude of community use cases is vital to its success. The commitments we’ve placed on expanding and restoring members’ confidence is paying off, as we’ll share in our story below. 2. Tell us about how you are using your community and how you made it happen. Did you get executive/business/stakeholder buy-in? What was your process to gain this buy-in? How have you achieved cross functional support, added stake-holders and increased organizational adoption? In mid-2020, we enlisted the services of a community development partner to help redesign a few areas of the site, and extensive efforts have gone into creating an employees-only space for a variety of teams. In late 2021, we migrated a separate, internal-only Khoros community instance into our main community site to simplify management and reduce administrative overhead. This consolidation gets more of our staff together in one place and serves to “normalize” community participation. We were fortunate to have strong, top-down support of the community early on in our transformation. Building community tasks into the everyday activities of support engineers seeds familiarity, and after securing executive buy-in, this ultimately means engineers are given more flexibility. Occasions to explore and learn about new products, features, and tools outside of one’s normal focus area doesn’t usually come often. Fortunately for our community team, that opportunity presents itself almost daily, with inquiries about unique use cases landing in one of our discussion boards. The engineers love it because they're learning about new things, and our customers love it because they're getting answers and learning from the shared experiences. Maintaining a strong alliance with our marketing team through these transitions also fosters new strategies for instilling community awareness in our current and future members. Sometimes, information in the Knowledge Base and the Community can benefit from supplemental content, and we’re using videos to fill that gap. Our knowledge team has published several videos highlighting popular articles, and our Community Manager has also produced videos demonstrating common tasks on our support site. Check out NetApp KB TV on YouTube to see what we’ve created! The recognized success of NetApp’s industry-leading KCS program opens the door to community contributions and ultimately improving our Knowledge Base. Even when a post isn’t directly actionable in the Knowledge Base, its presence in Google is sufficient to drive traffic to the Community. We know people are searching – knowledge persistence is imperative to success! 3. What were the results? Tell us how it impacted your customer experience or the outcomes you seek as a business. Please include metrics if possible. Executing on the strengths we sought to build in 2020 and 2021, the Community continues to grow and perform well. Registrations are primarily driven by a variety of programs suited to our internal audiences and customers. Campaigns focusing on one of our internal community areas brought in droves of employee registrations in early 2021, indicated below in blue. This not-to-be-named space was launched in October 2020 where campaigns and targeted posts brought in views and participation from across the company. Another set of registration bumps can be seen in May 2021 and May 2022, coinciding with our May the 4th be With You badge campaign. Community members were awarded 212 badges in 2021, and in 2022, 701 NetApp-inspired digital “Baby Yodas” were gifted to community visitors – an increase of 330%! In the Fall of 2021, a couple of other noteworthy events took place. In September, the first round of partner-focused content was migrated from a separate platform to the Community, influencing an influx of new registrations. Momentum carried forward and spiked again when our internal support community was migrated to our “main” site at the end of November 2021. This shows us the number of public forum topics created, paired with a percentage of accepted solutions, displayed as a lagging indicator. None of us were immune to pandemic-related hardships over the past two years and the performance above is a small depiction of human authenticity. Despite this, the overall net-solution rate is slowly, but surely increasing! Interestingly though, the number of topics created seems to be decreasing, and we think we know why… the NetApp Knowledge Base contains over 25,000 articles! By some measure, one might say that the success of the Knowledge Base is cannibalizing the Community – and as long as people are finding the right answers to their support issues, we think that’s okay! Ideally, a side-effect of a well-oiled knowledge base is that the nature of the questions coming into the community tend to increase in complexity (as do those coming into support). One of the things we haven’t revealed yet is that in many cases, customers are getting an answer from top-tier escalation engineers, not just our initial response teams. In addition, we’ve noticed that the average solution time on some boards is often 24 hours or less, which means that collective community knowledge often leads to answers more quickly than a lower-priority support ticket would yield – primarily due to the visibility that a peer-to-peer support channel offers. Something that’s harder to measure is ease of use. We use a suite of tools, coupled with anecdotal evidence to spark conversations about perceived pain points. One of the projects born from working with the moderation team this past year was a category cleanup. It became more evident to us, that our members were often posting their questions in the “wrong” discussion boards. Topics most commonly landed in the General Discussion, or Community Related Discussions boards instead of one of the more specific areas. After some extensive reviews with the team, we were able to consolidate 24 boards in 11 categories down to 17 boards in 4 categories. By simplifying community navigation, the number of topics needing relocation was appreciably reduced. So, after all of this, how do we know people care? For that, we have Kudos! Since Kudos are roughly equivalent to “likes,” it seems to be one of the most organic measures of overall user satisfaction available to us. The best part is that they can serve as a regular and unobtrusive metric that users aren’t trying to exploit. While we have separated internal Kudos from the site total, it’s apparent that we’re trending in the right direction and that people like what they see. Needless to say, we’re happy with the role the NetApp Community plays in our “new” five-channel support strategy. Paired with our award-winning support site AND a gold-standard Knowledge Base, our customers and partners are destined to get help when they need it- and now, where they need it. We’re excited about where we’ve been over the past two years of “building,” but we’re more excited about where we’re going! There’s a lot to look forward to with Khoros’ upcoming launch of Aurora too- let’s go!
... View more