Content Marketing Manager
“Self-service support” is a very popular concept these days — not only because businesses can streamline their support process by creating self-serve alternatives, but also because a majority of customers prefer self-serve options for many of their support needs. After all, the self-serve option empowers customers to find answers in their own timeframes, without having to wait for responses.
And from the business side, self-service offers key opportunities to increase customer engagement and gather valuable feedback.
Businesses can take quite a few approaches to self-service support — but here at Copper, we’ve put a lot of emphasis on building two-way communication between our company and our customers. The goal of the Copper Community is to combine peer-to-peer support with a gathering place for how-tos and product feedback.
Ken Aponte, our VP of Customer Success, recently shared a reflection on the community for its first anniversary. And now that this initiative has taken off, we wanted to share more about the peer support side of things, since it’s a critical piece of our efforts to provide more robust self-service options to our users. So we turned to Customer Enablement Manager Michelle Lee for an update. Here’s a breakdown of our convo.
A peer-to-peer support Q&A
Q: To start out, Michelle, could you give us a quick picture of the peer-to-peer support experience in Copper Community?
A: There are really two customer engagement initiatives in Copper Community — the “Ideas” channel and the “Forum” channel. Many customers participate in both, so there’s a lot of overlap. For example, someone might suggest a feature improvement on the Ideas side, and someone else might see that and leave a comment suggesting an existing feature that the first commenter might not know about.
From a practical standpoint, peer-to-peer support is mainly a process of people posting about a challenge they’ve encountered — for example, a feature they don’t know how to use, or a goal they don’t know how to accomplish. Other people will comment on the post, adding their own experiences and sharing solutions they’ve discovered. Of course our Copper team also keeps an eye out for ways to help, and we can often direct users to existing support content. We also see the same two-way exchanges on the customer webinars we host regularly.
Q: How would you describe the trajectory of these initiatives so far? What’s the difference between where we are now, and where we started out?
A: To be honest, there was very little peer-to-peer support going on in the Community at the beginning. We had to build up a base of participants before there could really be much user interaction — and the key element of that process was convincing customers that engaging with the community wouldn’t be a waste of time. From the Copper side, we worked at providing value through staff-generated posts, and highlighting user contributions.
For the first six months there was a very gradual increase in participation, as people saw that questions were actually getting answered — and user-generated ideas were being taken seriously. Over the next three months, user involvement began to pick up quickly. And now it’s speeding up even faster than we expected. We’ve also noticed that questions and responses are getting more specific as users gain insights from existing content.
Q: Has the increase in peer-to-peer support reduced the number of tickets being submitted to the Copper team?
A: We have a metric called the “self-service score,” which is a ratio between the number of unique visitors who view support content in Copper Community (articles, questions, conversations) and the number of unique users who submit tickets. Over the past six months, that ratio has steadily improved, which tells us that more people are finding their answers in the community and don’t need additional help.
On the other hand, some users try out suggestions they see in the community and end up needing additional support when they explore new or advanced features. So they submit tickets. But from our perspective, this is a net win, since customers tend to become more engaged with Copper when they use our higher-level features.
Q: Looking back on the past year’s experience with the Copper Community, what’s been the biggest surprise?
A: Actually, I can think of two. I expected most of the emotional responses (like “I hate that, too” or “Why does this even exist?”) would be on the Forum side of our conversations. But it’s turned out that people have a generally helpful, positive attitude on the support side, and often express stronger feelings on the Ideas side.
The second thing is, there have been more comments than I expected. On social media platforms generally, people tend to opt for the easiest response, which is just clicking “Like.” But users in the Copper Community frequently take the time to give a supportive response or share a suggestion. And that adds a lot of peer-to-peer energy.
Q: Finally, looking ahead, what are the top two goals you’re working on now?
A: One thing we’re very engaged with is improving the search results for users who want to self-serve our support documentation. Through the Copper Community, we’re gaining insight into the terms people are most likely to use when looking for information. And we find that when their language choices are different from the terminology in our Knowledge Base, they don’t always locate the information they need. So we want to close that gap.
Another thing we have in mind is connecting community members whose use cases are similar. For example, people in the recruiting industry who are looking for ideas and advice from that particular perspective. A few of those connections have happened organically, and we think they really drive value. So we’re gathering information on industry participation in the community and looking for ways to create the kind of tailored groups that would focus on industry-specific needs.
Follow along with the Copper Community
If you’re curious about what peer-to-peer support looks like in action, join us inside the Copper Community and experience it for yourself.