With its unique ability to connect people experiencing the ins and outs of a product every day, an engaged user community is becoming essential when scaling support. This was the case at InVision, a digital product design platform allowing businesses like Adobe, Uber, and Evernote to collaborate more easily on product development.
An active community connects users with those who most deeply understand their day-to-day needs—their peers. Working hand in hand with other support channels, the InVision community also funnels customers to self-service content, frees agents for higher-touch issues, serves as a source of product feedback, and even provides space for non-support conversations and inspiration.
Thinking outside the support box
The InVision community sits within the support organization, managed by Sean Kinney, Senior Director of Support. It launched in 2017 with the goal of providing a place for designers to help each other with the product and discuss best practices. In that time, it has grown in numbers and levels of engagement, with an average of 40 posts a month and 32,000 views per month, allowing the team to extend the idea of customer support beyond its traditional mandate.
“No matter how well we document our products, there are going to be people who have questions that aren't in the documentation,” Kinney says. “There are going to be people who have questions that are probably written in a way that we never would think to keyword or label our content. By building a community, we can hopefully then create a place where others will come in and help each other.”
Provide scalable support via an engaged community
Your official product documentation can only cover so much, which is why one of the most impactful elements of a community is that it provides always-on access to a broad range of users and use cases.
Much like a help center enables customers to self-serve on support, a community allows them to ping a “many to many” support channel, tapping their peers for assistance. The challenge at InVision has been continually growing the community, fostering engagement, providing some sort of benefit for them to communicate and collaborate, as the community is key to scaling efficiently, Kinney says. Having reported an increased self-service ratio and increased help-center views since its inception, the community has definitely found its footing, providing high-quality customer service for freemium-tier customers and freeing the support team to focus on complex issues.
“Our goal is to try and make the InVision Community as self-sufficient as possible. Rather than having to reply to every post, we want to cultivate a community of external customers that can help reply,” says Kinney.
After a recent redesign, the team increased visibility and promotions for the Community across its web properties, resulting in a 50-percent increase in posts, a practice they aim to continue in order to drive more traffic to that resource.
“Community lets us focus more of our resources on tickets where more expertise is needed,” Kinney says. “Our enthusiastic community of designers helps each other with issues that arise, and we’ve seen some exciting, genuine conversations happening between our customers as a result.”
Impact beyond support: Inspiration and product feedback
One of the most interesting benefits of the InVision Community has been the impact across user groups and internal teams beyond support.
Good or bad, a community forum is also a way to hear firsthand what users are experiencing: from their struggles to what they’d like to see in future product development to how the tools are actually being used and customized out in the wild. Here, product managers can respond and engage with users, having conversations that influence product roadmaps, the documentation published in the knowledge base, and other content and events created especially for the community.
“Thanks to our community, we've seen some great feedback about our product and we've reduced the number of tickets coming in thanks to peers helping each other out publicly," Kinney says.
Support issues or tips and tricks are one way the community is useful, but the long-term goal is continuing to engage users on different topics. The community managers are working with the marketing team, for example, on using the forum to spark conversation about industry topics, blog posts, or other content that is published on the site.
“Our theory is that it would bring more people in, and it would create this self-perpetuating community where people go there for the content," Kinney says. "We've started to step that up, and there's still more we want to do.”