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@carriemejones I struggle with this too. I think the correct (if not always true:) answer is to say no to these things, unless you're at such a small company that everyone does double-duty. I talk to too many community managers who do too many roles and then leave the company in intense pain when they leave. A truly effective employee should do a specific set of tasks and, as the company grows, make sure the unrelated tasks get moved to the correct departments.


Easier said than done, of course. ;)

3 months, 1 week ago on Community as a Professional Discipline

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@jnassi ;)

6 months, 1 week ago on The hidden cost of overwork

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@jessicamalnik I totally agree with your sentiments, but I think it's a tough battle to argue that the Customer Service Department should run things. Although some companies are starting to really see the value of customer service, many still see it as a very low-level position, and the idea of letting them run anything would be laughable.

I think this sucks, but I think that's the way it is. Not to mention, many customer service departments live under other departments (product, dev, etc).

I think a Community Department that owns customer service as well as customer feedback, sentiment tracking, support, and community-building practices is a little easier for companies to swallow...and it allows the department to more easily step into things that wouldn't traditionally be labeled "customer service".

So basically we're saying the same thing, but disagree on the labels. :)

8 months, 1 week ago on Finally, a marketer realizes social media is not marketing

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@Andy Lang Although I admit it's not scientific, I'm pretty sure our limited example is pretty demonstrative of our experience (note I said our). I had already anecdotally heard that this wasn't as effective as expected from our team and many others, but many people continued to use it because "it was there". In fact, when we interviewed dozens of Zendesk users when creating UserVoice Helpdesk, we found that most folks who used "Pending" to represent tickets that needed follow-up didn't actually ever follow-up. :\ That's a waste of the system and damaging to metrics that are based on status.

As mentioned a lot on this page, I don't think Pending is wrong for everyone. But what I'm trying to get at is that most folks who have some sneaking suspicion that Pending is useless are probably right. If you feel it's a fantastic part of your process, then you're also probably right...you're just not the group I'm talking about. :)

8 months, 2 weeks ago on “Pending” status for support tickets might be useless

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@jszotten Sounds like a good use of Pending! We don't have many situations like this, thankfully...so we tend to either get back to the customer right away or know "oh, that's the ticket where I'm waiting to hear from the devs". A single agent should only ever have one or two open tickets in their queue.

As mentioned, support organizations are as varied as pizza styles. I've heard a lot of folks say they use Pending as a way to check in with customers to make sure they're taken care of, and I feel I've debunked that. More power to you if Pending works for your org! :)

8 months, 2 weeks ago on “Pending” status for support tickets might be useless

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@jakeisonline Appreciate the response. Two responses for you:

#1: I don't know of anyone that uses Pending that way. I'm not saying those people don't exist, but the general perception is that Pending is a way to make sure we follow up with customers who we want to hear from. If that's not the intention, you might work on the perception of this feature.

#2: Regardless, your response is predicated on Zendesk's self-help features. I'm extremely opposed to the self-help features in Zendesk because I feel that 90% of people don't want to have to manage their own support; they just want an answer. Most don't want or need to know they're IN a support tool. Again, the answer is the important thing. 

That's why UserVoice chose to go with open/closed, and why I think it's an ideal system. I'll be the first to admit that there are exceptions (which I did above), but at least for us this doesn't seem to be a valuable tool and causes a lot of frustration for my team.

8 months, 2 weeks ago on “Pending” status for support tickets might be useless

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@JasonSooter Thanks Jason!

9 months ago on Goals

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@TonySheng I think that's an excellent question. I just finished reading The Power of Habit, which was amazing. One story is about how Michael Phelps basically has a videotape in his head of the process of winning a race. This includes problems cropping up. In fact, his coach made him do laps in a totally darkened swimming pool to prep for the possibility that he might get water in his goggles someday. And, sure enough, he got water in his goggles at the Olympics and managed to still win the race blind.

I thought the story was amazing exactly because of what you mentioned - if my routine gets messed up my whole day can often be ruined. I haven't figured it out yet, but I need to do the Phelps thing and build backup routines in case things go wrong.

9 months, 1 week ago on Waking Up at the Same Time Every Day and the Power of Routines

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Good tips! Not positive I agree with the example in #5 though. I feel like when I give people that easy step they respond, but then ignore my next email with more details. The fewer steps, the better, in my experience.

...though maybe I'm just not doing a good enough job following up! :)

9 months, 4 weeks ago on The Art of Following Up

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@badaja_ Thanks so much! See you there for sure!

10 months, 2 weeks ago on Moving On

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@KiraThompson Thanks so much Kira! You've been an amazing community member and it's been awesome getting to know you as a peer. Looking forward to chatting at UserConf!

10 months, 2 weeks ago on Moving On

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@jennalanger Thanks Jenna! You should definitely buy a trip and let me know how it goes! :) Talk soon!

10 months, 2 weeks ago on Moving On

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@bettinasays I like the system! You definitely have to be careful not to irritate people but I think some irritation is better than you being totally unproductive and furious about it!

10 months, 2 weeks ago on Why I wear headphones at work

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@meghankrane Thanks Meghan! I have about 50 things I want to do right away, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Very excited about a new challenge!

10 months, 2 weeks ago on Moving On

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@aaron_wheeler Thanks Aaron! To be honest, sometimes I don't tell them...but I agree, telling them is probably generally the best policy. :)

11 months ago on Don’t punish your overachievers; reassign them!

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@hoonpark Fantastic example! Win-win. :)

11 months ago on Don’t punish your overachievers; reassign them!

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Love the post, as I said on Twitter.

The more I mull on this, the more I think there's an important message that you sort of hit on in "dazzling" but deserves to be highlighted.

Stop making crap.

Ok, ok, that sounds really mean. What I'm getting at is: a lot of press releases are terrible, and a lot of stories that are told aren't worth telling. The clients are probably as much to blame for this as the PR companies, to be honest. But it has to stop. If we're going to build communities we have to do so by only sharing things of value. If what you're writing or trying to get others to write about isn't interesting, they're increasingly not going to share it. There's plenty of news out there and there's plenty of things that ARE interesting to read.

Make good...no, great stuff and you'll be able to build and leverage communities. Make crap and they'll stop listening to you quicker than you can say "community management".

1 year ago on Community Management is the New PR

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@martinwaxman @katskrieger I think part of the problem is also that lots of companies hire "community managers" to post junk to Twitter and Facebook. These are actually social media managers or marketers...very different from building community. But once someone associates a 19-year-old posting kitten photos with community management, it's hard to get them to take the real craft of community-building seriously!

1 year ago on Community Management is the New PR

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Very useful post. Though it should be noted that community managers were in play long before social media. @frandallfarmer has been at it for 30 years!

1 year, 5 months ago on Finding Sweet Spots with Engagement Rates

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@JoeManna Absolutely! When using statuses on our own feedback forum (feedback.uservoice.com/forums/1-general-feedback) we try to only update something to "started" if it's actually being built at that moment, and never mark anything as "planned". It's all "planned". ;)

I agree with your "no" point as well. People would rather KNOW than continue hoping forever.

1 year, 5 months ago on How to Just Say No

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I love this and agree with it...save for one small point. Your community manager may be the closest to some users, but your support team interacts with more. Part of why I think support actually belongs in the community Department.

1 year, 6 months ago on Your Product and Community are One

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@MrJay Great minds think alike. :) Sent out my first weekly e-mail today.

@DavidSpinks Thanks, I think you're right...too pushy to email.

1 year, 9 months ago on How To: Invite New Members to your Community the Right Way

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Great post, David...love all these tips.

Do you ever reach out to folks who /have/ joined to encourage them to post? I've followed the tips above but folks still aren't super-active, and I'm wondering if it would be rude/awkward to email some of them and ask them to contribute...

1 year, 9 months ago on How To: Invite New Members to your Community the Right Way

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@sprouticus @JPedde Sounds like we're all on the same page...now we just need to teach that gospel to all the folks getting buried in not-their-job tasks. (Eh @meghankrane?)

1 year, 10 months ago on What a Community Manager is Not

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@sprouticus When you're small you definitely have to wear a lot of hats. But I've seen (with myself and others) CMs not get to focus on building community...and suddenly new hires have taken all the hats you wore as a good sport. Gotta balance the main thing you're trying to do with all the stuff you help with, IMO.

1 year, 10 months ago on What a Community Manager is Not

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@KellyLux I think this applies to early-stage startups too, and I think that's ok. But as an org grows (perhaps if it grows, in your case) I don't think this is sustainable.

1 year, 10 months ago on What a Community Manager is Not

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Thanks for posting this, Emily. I agree 100% with #1 & #2.

 

I do have to disagree with always trying to give significant notice. I think early notice is often what causes intense speculation, fearmongering, and protesting. If there are things your community needs to do to prep, then yes, early notice is key. But for many changes that are just visual or adding value, that time isn't required. I've found that giving relatively short notice for these kind of changes goes over fine and means less time for your community to stress over preview screenshots or the "meaning" of your phrases.

1 year, 11 months ago on How to Prepare Your Community for a Major Change

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Great post, Larry...thanks for this!

I'm disappointed to see "community strategy" coming in last in these postings. Yes, a lot of community management is communications and content, but to have true success with a community you need a strategy...and I really doubt the Marketing VPs in these companies have a community strategy.

2 years, 5 months ago on What Are Companies Looking For In A Community Manager?

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@LaurenVargas Thanks! I think we agree - the main reason I think CMs should report to the CEO is that when reporting to marketing they'll tend to look at what you're doing through the lens of marketing, eng through the lens of product, etc. If you can report to marketing and still be horizontal, you have an awesome marketing department and should stick with them. :)

3 years ago on The Community Manager as a Horizontal Position

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