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Driving Customer Success Through an Open, Transparent Zapier Community

Organizations Can Improve Efficiency and CX by Shifting User Inquiries to a Community-Based Support Platform

The News:   

Zapier, a provider of automation and integration tools that allow organizations to connect to more than 5,000 applications, has focused its efforts on providing information, education, and tips to its user base through Zapier Community, allowing the company to extend the customer support provided to its users without expanding headcount or resources. While the Zapier Community currently supports more than 100,000 unique visitors per month, its traditional support department fields about 200 questions per month, allowing them to focus on the most challenging issues.

In a webinar hosted by its platform provider, Gainsight, Zapier’s Community leaders discussed the specific ways in which Zapier is supporting users by structuring its community offering to drive customer success, improve efficiency, and ensure that the best approaches to using Zapier are surfaced.

Driving Customer Success Through an Open and Transparent Zapier Community

Analyst Take:

The Zapier Community platform has been used by the organization to drive customer engagement, improve efficiency, and ensure that the best approaches to using the company’s products and services are surfaced.  While other organizations’ communities often require that users register and log in to utilize these resources, Zapier has taken a more open approach, which bodes well for ensuring efficient access to content and knowledge, while also acknowledging the way AI and other technologies are changing how users seek out and gather information.

Zapier’s Director of Self-Serve Customer Experience Jillian Bejtlich and Community Operations Manager Rachael Silvano discussed several elements that have been incorporated within their community design that drives more customer engagement, while ensuring widespread usability.

Communities Provide an Alternative to Traditional Support Tickets

According to Bejtlich, Zapier is a tool that is widely used across a range of different types of users, organizations, and geographies to enable data integration and connections. As a result, getting real-time access to knowledge, tips, and best practices when a situation arises is key to customer success. Simply depending on a more traditional approach, such as submitting a support ticket, can interrupt workflows and is far less efficient than providing a repository where company and user-generated content always can be accessed easily.

Comparing the community platform approach to traditional customer support, Bejtlich says there is room for both.  “People are finding content when they need the content and are not having to ask the questions,” she says, noting that the company is focused on customer success with their products.

Zapier’s Silvano notes that the company wants all types of users, from the novice user to the expert customer, to be able to find the information they need to address their specific situation. She notes that each visitor’s use case may be slightly different, so the community’s value lies in being able to search for similar use cases or scenarios. Typically, support teams are less able to incorporate data from other interactions in their responses, which can impact the relevance of their solutions.

Furthermore, Bejtlich adds that Zapier Community is moderated to allow content that may include stories or example of situations where a potential solution was attempted using a Zapier product, and it did not work. The goal is to ensure that customers have a space where they can ideate, experiment, and bounce ideas off other users without heavy-handed corporate moderation that can stifle innovation.

Making Information Available in the Generative AI Era

Currently about 90% of the visitor activity comes from people who search for a solution to an issue via a search engine, and are served up responses or results that come directly from within Zapier Community. This open, search-friendly approach makes the community well suited for supporting customer success in the era of generative AI and large language models (LLM), which use the web (and, by extension, Zapier Community) as a key source of data and information.

I also asked the Zapier team about the potential use of generative AI to summarize content found within the community, making it easier for visitors to quickly find and distill information. “I think that’s something that we’ve already explored with the community is, how could we use community to say, ‘Okay, tell us everything about marketing use cases, tell us everything about WeChat, how to use Zapier for social media,’ and really pull that information together,” Bejtlich says. “Because right now, that’s the one thing that humans are not good at. We are not good at distilling large amounts of data.”

Focusing on Customer Success, Rather Than Community User Statistics

One of the key reasons Zapier Community has generated a significant monthly visitor tally is because there is no requirement to register or log on to search for or use the content posted or generated within the community. Further, the community’s definition or measure of success is based around overall customer success, rather than tracking the number of registered users or threads.

Bejtlich remains unconcerned about generative AI tools, which may be used to extract and summarize the content contained in the community, thereby reducing the need for users to visit Zapier Community.

“I’m not concerned about it, because my measure of success has never been around page views and unique visitors and all of that stuff,” Bejtlich says. “My measure of success is whether or not we are getting customers answers. If other resources want to point to the Community and use our data, it’s great [for] helping the customer, and it frees up me to do more things that I’m qualified to do.”

Author Information

Keith has over 25 years of experience in research, marketing, and consulting-based fields.

He has authored in-depth reports and market forecast studies covering artificial intelligence, biometrics, data analytics, robotics, high performance computing, and quantum computing, with a specific focus on the use of these technologies within large enterprise organizations and SMBs. He has also established strong working relationships with the international technology vendor community and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events.

In his career as a financial and technology journalist he has written for national and trade publications, including BusinessWeek, CNBC.com, Investment Dealers’ Digest, The Red Herring, The Communications of the ACM, and Mobile Computing & Communications, among others.

He is a member of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP).

Keith holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Magazine Journalism and Sociology from Syracuse University.

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