We recently had the opportunity to discuss with Kendra Jackson, Global Operations Manager and Emily Gottschalk, Senior Digital Editor about their experience with Vanilla Forums’ Online Community as part of their Digital Support Strategy.
Qualtrics is a fast growing SaaS company which pioneered the experience management industry and developed the Experience Management (XM) Platform™ that helps organizations manage the four core experiences of business: customer, employee, product and brand experience. Experience management includes customer experience (CSAT, Voice of the Customer, NPS, etc.), Employee Experience (360-degree feedback, Employee Engagement, Pulse Surveys, etc.), Brand Experience (Market Research, Brand Perception, Brand Trackers, etc.), and Product Experience (User Experience, Product Signal, Product Design, etc.).
Qualtrics has continually expanded its business to address new markets. Throughout the years, new audiences have brought new opportunities to work with and engage with their customers.
Qualtrics’ corporate customers wanted to make connections, network, and see examples of use cases. Kendra shared, “There was more demand for special coding that developers required for custom or complicated processes. While our team could assist with any of these questions, we knew we had experienced customers in different industries who could help each other while also connecting with one another.” She further added, “We also know that more and more customers want to be able to find their answers online. Customers can call in and ask for help, but having this community also creates a space for them to answers from one another in a digital environment.”
Their customers frequently requested a space to share their experience with the products, as Kendra explained:
“Our customers wanted an official space to allow them to share and connect with other customers. There were these amazing brand evangelists who would go company to company using our product with a ton of great knowledge and we wanted to create a space for them.”Kendra Jackson, Global Operations Manager
Qualtrics began a search for a platform that would support their needs.
Qualtrics evaluated several vendors and eventually selected Vanilla for a few reasons.
“We chose Vanilla for its ease of use, customizability, powerful tech, and short implementation process. It was critical that we had a platform that was customizable and allowed us to get up and running quickly. In addition to its reasonable pricing, Vanilla became an obvious choice as our community vendor.”Emily Gottschalk, Senior Digital Editor
The Digital Support Experience team, led by Kendra, owns the community project. Their main goal is to focus on how customers experience support digitally. The team strives to understand the impact the community has on their business. They also evaluate the customer’s experience when customers can’t get their answer online, and how that transitions to other avenues of support. The community forums have been a big part of their digital support plans to scale their team and enhance their customers’ experience.
Qualtrics measures their success using ratios. For digital support, the team looks at two major KPIs, as Kendra shared:
“The first is the self-serve ratio – the number of people who have been helped via resources such as help pages, community pages and support pages. The second is our tickets answered ratio, which looks at number of tickets the digital support team handles vs the other channels of support.”Kendra Jackson, Global Operations Manager
Emily also noted: “We have over 600 support articles that cover a lot of the ‘how-to’s’ of the XM Platform, but due to the millions of ways someone can use the Qualtrics platform, there will always be long-tail use cases that are difficult to provide full coverage for in our documentation. The community is another channel that helps us directly leverage in-depth knowledge from experts in the community. ”
Kendra shared her philosophy for the community and how it’s managed. She explained, “The community for us is more about moderating. We still make sure our customers are getting the answers they need in a timely manner, whether from other community members or from our team of moderators. We are lucky to have a group of passionate evangelists who will jump in and answer many customers’ questions and add their own insights. We recognize those contributors with points, badges, swag, early access to new features, passes to our annual X4 Experience Management Summit, Q&As with product managers, and more.”
Emily also noted that their forum created a space for communities that were outside the Qualtrics umbrella:
“There was a community on Stack Overflow that was sharing all this great code to integrate with Qualtrics projects, and now many of these users are on our forums, sharing that knowledge with one another directly.”Emily Gottschalk, Senior Digital Editor
Emily shared one of the unexpected benefits of the community: “We’ve found that many of our smaller corporate clients have only a few Qualtrics users or may be working in different departments within their companies. With the community, they can now connect with others in similar roles at other organizations and bounce ideas off those who have the experience to help them with their own projects — and they love it.”
“We have been getting lots of positive product signals coming from the community and within Qualtrics. The ideas so far have been very constructive and positive. Our customers are so happy to have a space for that. We are really pleased.”Kendra Jackson, Global Operations Manager