Q&A community in the enterprise domain is getting significant traction primarily because of the surge in demand for a natural question and answer-based content flow. This format has been a popular domain on the web since the days of Yahoo Answers to modern social media like Quora.
Companies are moving away from traditional content generation formats such as bulletin boards and mailing lists. This is because of the sheer value in connecting the companies’ audiences in a secure online space where they can ask questions, get answers and solve others’ problems. In a self-governing mode with a community manager moderating and shaping the discussion depending on the requirement, the community can do wonders.
We have seen companies save thousands of dollars that would have otherwise spent on handling support tickets. Here is a chart from Google Trends that shows different search terms used for asking questions:
We can see that “what” and “how” have been on the rise for more than a decade now. And Google loves this type of user-generated content (UGC)! We all have experienced landing on Question and Answer sites like Quora, Stack Overflow, and other forums when searching for a solution. So, not only a company saves on the support cost, a Q&A community delivers tremendous SEO benefits.
Here is a great example of how one our clients, Smart Nora is leveraging this:
As you can see, the Smart Nora community discussion shows up as a featured snippet when we fire a query about their competitor.
There is no doubt that a customer searching for a solution related to your product and service would naturally expect a Q&A community. After implementing the Tribe Platform for several large and small companies, we have identified there are some common elements across all the successful communities.
However, before getting into them, let’s first clearly check out all the benefits a Question and Answer community offers:
- Q&A communities allow you to centralize dynamically generated information and help you build a robust knowledge base that combines internal contributions as well.
- By empowering users to ask questions you are opening up a transparent channel to collect feedback to improve the product and services
- As mentioned earlier the support cost also reduces as members can leverage the self-service route
- Brand visibility increases since search engines frequently crawl the community pages that are producing fresh content frequently.
- Your community is a great channel to identify and recruit superusers for ambassador programs.
Now let’s cover the key factors to consider to build a thriving Q&A community.
Seeding your Q&A community
It is impossible to predict the types of questions that your customers might ask — we’re personally amazed by the queries that our customers post and the topics they search. However, when you are just starting out it is just essential to get the ball rolling by regularly posting an interesting set of questions.
This is a proven method adopted by many community builders and successful examples of content seeding are Quora and Reddit. Since the seed content will set the tone of community and set an expectation, crafting such questions would require insight into what you want to achieve from the community.
Some of the starter questions could be sourced from the following:
– Questions that the sales team gets from potential customers
– Support queries that customers post (via email or ticketing system)
– Your website chat app that receives questions from the visitors
Also, it is always a good idea to collect feedback early on. So you can post questions to get an understanding of how the members are perceiving the Q&A site, their expectations, and issues.
Assigning an internal team
You already have experts in your company who are specialized in certain aspects of the product and features. Hence, get the required help from your colleagues to ensure that they are ready to answer whenever anything relevant gets posts.
The community manager or person in charge of content moderation must be able to assign or request answers from the right people. With the Tribe Platform, once your community gains traction, the “request answer” feature would automatically suggest the right person based on previous community contributions.
Also, you can always ask the team to post the questions on their own to address the FAQs they receive or topics they would like to discuss.
Focusing on questions as a content type
This is more about building clear CTAs for the members of the community so that they know how to ask questions and mark them inside the right topic.
Here is a small checklist to ensure that the question creation gets adequate visibility:
- Keep a clear CTA with a friction-less mechanism for the members to post questions.
- Include popular questions and answers in your email newsletters and other content assets.
- Reframe the unclear questions posted by members to make them straightforward and easy to comprehend.
- Add the right tags/flairs based on the state of the question (e.g., solved, answered). This can significantly improve the click rate.
Tribe gives you “Questions” as a unique post type with its own properties and allows you to configure the settings.
Creating a blueprint to manage questions
Here it is imperative for the community manager to ensure that every question posted in the community gets a response ideally within 24 hours. Eventually, the question should get resolved with the right answer (either sourced from other members or internal team).
So, for the majority of the community owners, the starting points are the questions waiting for moderation and the list of unanswered questions.
Implementing robust notification tools
When a member posts a question, notifications should be sent to the member based on the replies and eventually when the question receives the right answer. There could also be people following the same question as they are interested in the problem and solution.
So, your community platform must have the right set of notification tools to ensure that the members are not out of touch after posting the question. These notifications are also a good way to boost the retention rate of the community.
Selecting the best answer in the Q&A community
The larger goal of your Q&A community is to provide trustworthy solutions to the problems and help the members solve the issue within the least amount of time. So, to achieve this your community solution must allow you and the member who asked the question to select the best answer. The rest of the answers can always be upvoted by the members.
This comes handy when there are multiple solutions to a single question posted by both your internal team and the other members of the community. As mentioned above, all the solved questions must reflect the same visually and textually (e.g., solved tag).
Rewarding quality contributions
You need to reinforce that your community is the best place to get answers and must motivate the members who are helping others with rewards. The first bit revolves around redirecting people in a polite manner to the Q&A community when you receive questions on the wrong channels. The second bit can be solved by leaderboards, acknowledgments, badges, and reputation scores.
With Tribe, you can define different badges for the members and assign reputation scores based on the community activity. Not only that, but you can also award virtual coins to the community members and allow them to redeem the same for your product and services.
Time to build your Q&A community
Implementing a successful Q&A community requires meticulous planning and continuous efforts. In this post, we covered how a company can build such communities by taking care of content seeding, getting internal help, focusing on questions, managing with a solid process, leveraging notifications, and rewarding the members.
Of course, this is not a complete list, so we welcome your ideas and suggestions. If you have built a Q&A community for customers, what were some of your successful tactics and what should a community builder avoid? Post here in the comments section.