Communities – Should A Community Manager Offer Customer Support?
This might seem like a bit of a silly question but it’s one I keep asking myself given the daily routine I’ve slipped into. On the forum I manage there’s a “Contact Us” form link sitting directly about the link that says “Customer Support” and is meant to be specifically for issues on the forum. However, as I regularly find, people use it for reporting other issues and so it hits my inbox and is left for me to make a decision; aid where I can or pass it on.
Every morning I spend at least 30 minutes working through private forum messages (most of them support issues) and the “Contact Us” emails that have come through. There is a dedicated Customer Support department available but I know they haven’t got the same level of product knowledge or awareness of the current issues in the community so I tend to take it on the chin and reply. The question is, should I?
Could that 30+ minutes be better spent engaging with more users in the community through discussion given that there is a Customer Support team that’s meant to handle these things? On the flipside, am I in a position as a CM to provide a better level of Customer Support given the greater level of product knowledge? Does engagement on a 1-to-1 basis count for more than engagement with the whole?
If the community measurables included cost saving for Customer Support then sure I’d be trying to help where I can in order to provide this statistic but as it is no measurement is required. I think this is one I’m going to struggle to answer however long I think about it and hopefully it will spark some questions for you to ask about your daily routine and the processes you have.
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