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Having an engineer marking the discussion correct is not necessarily gaming the number. Typically, in most scenarios, once the initial question[s] are answered to a satisfactory level, the user ceases contribution to the thread. This fact, combined with a resident expert reviewing this thread and marking it correct is typically how answers get marked correct as most users simply move on once they have an answer.
One thing you will note is that if you mark it correct, and the user feels that the answer is not complete, they will be the first one to tell you. What I have also found is that users do not like marking things correct because they like to treat the original support thread they created as an ongoing dialog for any other problems they encounter. This is why when supporting complex products, you will see users try to append new, completely unrelated questions to existing ones. Some essentially do not see the questions/discussion as complete until they have completed their design and its in production.
At least these have been my findings, nearly 2.5 years and almost 5K questions worth of experience. Of course there are always corner cases and situations where someone needs to apply some form of human judgement, so this is where the seasoned community manager adds value. For us, I monitor email threads/discussions between distributors, internal Marketing/Sales and AEs as well, so when support traffic also funnels into the forum[s], I have several means to evaluate the service being exerted by the team.
I appreciate the answer Michael - thank you.
I also find a reason for not marking answers correct is there may be more that 1 correct way to do something.
This shows the importance of not just establishing a metric, but understanding how it is achieved.
Very well said Toby. I try to explain this to my management team as well. They look at 'new questions' in my analytics report each month and often get excited when they see the number from the last month either level off or decrease. To them, this means that customers are servicing themselves using existing content or working through partners for support. However, what it often means is that the depth of the discussions that month are much more technical and involve alot more internal resources and testing to resolve. But within Jive, it's still just counted as a single question.
As more of the world leverages collaborative platforms like Jive to scale support, I think we will all continue to learn and understand some of these metric caveats and establish effective means to work around them. This is why I continue to see the Community Manager role evolving, even though most people still see the "Community Manager" as someone that works in a retirement home arranging breakfast for patrons. It will take time :-)