The dream team — how community moderators and customer service agents boost CX
April 27, 20236 min read
What comes to your mind when you hear “community”?
Possibly, a group of like-minded individuals with something in common. Engaging in meaningful discourse runs in our biology. And when we find common ground, it’s simply natural for us to talk about it — learn, unlearn and grow together. Whether you’re a burgeoning startup with a ten-member team or a blue-chip corporation with millions of customers all over the world, brand communities are crucial to a business strategy that prioritizes customer loyalty, product knowledge and research and development.
On the other hand, community moderators ensure that the circuit of shared knowledge stays intact.
Who is a community moderator?
A brand community moderator is responsible for overseeing and facilitating interactions among members, enforcing community guidelines and creating a positive and engaging environment.
Think of a community moderator as a sherpa: guiding the vision of the group toward the height of its stated ideals, helping avoid any treacherous interpretations of the brand map, listening to members and pulling them back onto the grand but narrow path toward the brand vision, while improving the vision along the way.
A moderator is more than a supervisor: they should be a teacher amongst peers. A study group leader. A confident companion along an adventurous path.
What does a community moderator do?
Community moderators, along with community managers, are the most important people that maintain the sanctity and decorum of a brand community. They accomplish this task in several ways.
Monitor user-generated content (UGC) by flagging, reporting and removing language that violates community guidelines or terms of service.
Create and enforce rules and policies, as well as help develop and implement new features.
Present the community with topic discussions to hear valuable insight on the brand’s product or service offering to identify opportunities for improvement
This way, community moderators create an environment where members can thrive, where their voices and questions are heard and concerns are addressed. It also provides an opportunity to foster relationships with both the brand and other supporters who share similar interests.
How to moderate an online community — 3 sparkling ways to build a thriving brand community
Moderating an online community is no easy feat, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be a rewarding experience for both you and your members. Here are three ways to approach community content moderation and create a vibrant space for everyone.
1. Define your community’s bible
Creating a rulebook for your brand community is crucial to maintaining a healthy environment. Here are some key points to include in the community moderator guidelines:
Clearly state expected behaviors and behaviors that are not tolerated
Define the target audience and what community means to you
Outline inappropriate content and materials, including obscene, graphic, or pornographic material
Prohibit inappropriate behaviors, such as hazing, bullying, defamation and intolerance
Describe unacceptable community usage, such as commercial advertising or overt self-promotion, or improper posting practices
Provide guidance on how to handle complaints between members
Define prohibited post types, such as spam or solicitations
Make the document easily accessible and ensure members agree to the terms and conditions when logging in
Remember, keeping the rules concise and easy to understand is essential to encourage community members to read and follow them.
2. Design a watertight escalation route
Even with a defined set of rules, violations from community members are inevitable. In such instances, you must design a route to address issues before they become serious transgressions.
A three-strike warning system is like a traffic light for online communities. It gives members three chances to follow the guidelines before getting removed. On the first strike, moderators give an educational warning. On the second strike, the member is put on complete moderation and the third strike leads to removal. This policy ensures fairness and consistency in dealing with violations, highlights A+ members and keeps the community’s vision alive.
3. Rectify conflicts before they turn into chaos
Effective community moderation requires a delicate balance between respecting established rules and adapting to community needs. When conflicts arise, it's important to listen, assess and solve issues quickly. Resolving conflicts may involve making changes to guidelines and policies or implementing new features that address the issue at hand.
Spam and irrelevant content? Deploy filters to distill UGC — keyword filter, image recognition filter, IP filters for known spammers, etc.
Low engagement and activity? Launch a community challenge or contest encouraging members to participate and share content. Highlight active members and encourage them to become ambassadors for the community.
Glitches and bugs frustrating users? Build step-by-step troubleshooting guides and knowledge articles for quick support access.
How can community moderators and customer support work together?
A lively community of passionate members can make the lives of your service team a lot easier. Here’s how a community moderator and customer service team can work in tandem.
1. Crowdsource insights for self-service resources
An active community is a bustling space for consumers to share discoveries about products. For example, as a community moderator, you may notice a sudden surge of members discussing difficulties with newly launched products. These community conversations can be used to build a solutions archive or a self-service repository to troubleshoot common questions right before they are escalated to a service representative.
A conversational AI chatbot can assess the user’s intent when they raise a common new-product-related question and swiftly redirect them to a relevant self-service resource.
2. Enable peer-to-peer support
Members helping other community members can help customer service teams reduce the number of L1 queries they need to deal with.
Let's say you're a customer of a sneaker brand and you have a question about sizing and fit. Instead of contacting customer service, you could visit the brand's online community forum, where other customers who have had similar experiences with sizing and fit can offer their insights and advice.
You might search for keywords related to your question or browse through existing threads to see if someone has already asked a similar question. If you can't find an answer, you could start a new thread and ask the community for help. As other customers chime in with their own experiences and recommendations, you can learn from their firsthand knowledge and make a more informed decision about which size to choose. This way, you're not just getting support from the brand but also from a network of like-minded sneaker enthusiasts who are happy to help.
3. Amend negative customer perceptions in private
Today, users do not shy away from voicing their concerns on social media. While a public platform such as Twitter allows you to promptly and publicly address complaints, it also draws considerable attention to these negative experiences. Over time, publicly voiced negative comments can influence the collective consumer and investor sentiment — which, to say the least, pulls your reputation down.
Brand communities not only enable users to highlight their problems but also help customer service teams address these issues in a controlled environment.
It doesn’t take too long for minor mishaps to snowball into viral blunders on the Internet. So, customer communities serve as a regulated space for brands to resolve complaints and strengthen relationships. After all, it prevents users from fleeing online to tell everyone about what went wrong with your service.