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Culture change is the hardest part. Once you can get internal advocates on board, especially an executive sponsor, things get a lot easier. It sounds like you have a Community Manager and a support rep to start with, so I would suggest on that core team winning over the other staff to devoting more time to the community. After all a question answered there is reusable for any other customer in the future and a real time saver as well as a great form of self help for your customers (assuming posts are not restricted).
For staffing we have dedicated people responding in the support community, but that is juggled with working tickets the traditional way in our CRM system. We do not want our community to be just another channel to work exclusively with our support staff, and instead want users to help each other. One thing that we found helped foster this is in the beginning we concentrated on responding as quickly as possible. That helped first time users have a great experience when there were not very many members. After time and words gets out (you need to advertise this to as many customers as possible) hopefully you will achieve a good user base and activity level. Then have the employees scale back on how quick they respond so you can give the users a chance to rise the ranks. We saw people jump in immediately when we quit stomping on their toes and beating them to the punch on every post. It is important to make sure you motivate and reward the users that are helping you out (call out, featured member, etc).
One problem we have is after an answer is supplied (by us or another user) the authors usually don't come back and mark them with a Correct answer, so we follow up and pick it or mark them as assumed answered after we feel a reasonable amount of time has passed.
I hope some of this helps.
This is very helpful. I was excited to see this question today. We are preparing for a new external community that will be modeled after the processes and behaviors you described Matt. Thanks for posting your response.
Thank you so much for your response, very helpful! It sounds like you are manning the community exactly as I am proposing to; dedicated group but in between tickets (addition to their "day job"). Do you require/request a specified time commitment (% of time or # of hours) that this dedicated group spend in the community? Do they all go to the community everyday or on a scheduled rotation?
Oops! one more question: Do you have tiered support? If yes, which tiers are involved in the community on a regular basis?
I'm glad this helped some.
We were advised by Jive upfront to have subject matter expert (SME) resources ready for each applicable area, which has served us well. We do not require a specific amount of time/hours, but they are in the community daily. Some days it takes more time to answer posts and do followup than others, but we make sure it is a priority in their list of job responsibilities.
We do not have tiered support. We feel it really helps our staff to grow and learn by taking ownership of issues instead of a model where they get escalated to someone else.
I'm responsible for SCN over 800 moderators. The vast majority of which are internal employees but not all (about 10% are external). All our moderators are subject matter experts and community minded. Some are doing so as part of their role but not all. We do have moderators from our global support. they are active in specific spaces which warrant such activity. SCN is the first place to check for all the FAQ on support related topics. We do not require hours but do require active moderation which changes greatly per space. Also in active spaces we'll have multiple moderators who might span different time zones. Each space team will decide on a system which works best for them. Some divide by days, hours or weeks, others by asset or time availability.
Hope that helps.