I have written before about the importance of under-promising and over-delivering as a way of satisfying delighting your online community’s members. On a similar theme, today I want to talk about the importance of always going the extra mile for your members. Just a little bit of extra effort can yield huge rewards.
Your community will stand out from the crowd. Most don’t go the extra mile, hence the word ‘extra’ – don’t make the same mistake yourself. Every time you put in that bit of extra effort, it is noticed by your members. They may not openly confirm their feelings, but it’s a fact. Not only that, but going the extra mile helps develop and strengthen your online community. It shows you care about your members. It shows you want to help your members. It shows you value your members.
A member who doesn’t feel valued won’t stick around for long in your community. If for some odd reason they do stay, they won’t add as much value to the community as they would if they felt valued and appreciated themselves.
10 ways to go the ‘extra mile’
1. If someone asks for help, don’t send them a link to the help section. Help them out personally. Email? OK. Instant Messenger? Better. Telephone? Wow! Awesome!
2. A day or two later, follow up any help enquiries to ensure the issue has been resolved.
3. If this is a common issue that keeps cropping up, fix the problem. Make the community easier to use, or create a ‘dummies’ guide – video is always better than text. Offer both, just to be safe.
4. If someone asks a question in your community and nobody answers, answer the question yourself. It may take some research, but that member won’t forget your effort.
5. If a member suggests a site feature and you like the idea, involve them in the development process. If a member makes a suggestion you don’t like, don’t just say no – tell them why you won’t be acting on it.
6. If someone introduces themselves as a new member, send them some links to discussions you feel will be of interest to them.
7. When new members join, contact existing members with similar interests and suggest they talk.
8. If someone sends a small quantity of spam to your members, delete that member and then personally apologise to each member that received the spam. If it’s a large quantity, make a public apology in your community and tell them what you have done to prevent it from happening again.
9. Once a week, find members of your online community that haven’t been active for a while. Reach out to them and try to bring them back. Maybe they are confused? Maybe something happened that you weren’t aware of. Either way, you need to know why they are no longer active… and then act on that knowledge.
10. Keep the dialogue going – in public and in private. Some community managers seem to feel communication done in private doesn’t add value or strengthen a community. This is nonsense. Just because the interaction isn’t publicly visible, it doesn’t mean it isn’t adding value. If members want to chat with you in private, see it as a positive – not a negative. Why not initiate some private conversations yourself? Some members may be shy to start chatting in public right away.
Every time you interact with your members, before hitting the ‘Send’ or ‘Post’ button, ask yourself if there is anything extra you could do or say to make your member’s experience with you and your community truly amazing. I bet there is. Sure, it may mean a bit of extra work but it will be worth it. I promise.
How do you go the extra mile for your online community’s members?