In today’s customer-centric world, providing fantastic support is mandatory. But how do you deliver a high level of customer support at scale when a difficult economy is causing so many companies to cut budget and headcount?
For Zapier, the answer was community.
The Zapier community is massive, with 1.6 million page views and 600,000 unique visitors last year alone. And with over 6,000 partner apps, Zapier is a thumbprint tool where no two problems are the same—and the number of possible use cases is basically infinite.
At Pulse Europe 2023, Rachael Silvano, Community Operations Manager at Zapier, explained how they built a self-serve support community that leveraged peer-to-peer interactions to get customer questions answered correctly and quickly. This new and improved customer experience helped the company fight churn and grow recurring revenue.
The Challenge of Supporting a Huge User Base
Originally, Zapier Customer Support worked in a one-to-one model, which provided great support individually, but had zero ability to scale. And because every customer problem was unique, support staff had to start from scratch every time they got a new question.
They were also missing opportunities for customer education and product updates. For example, while a user might have come to Support with a question about AI, they may have also been interested in content related to prompt hacking. Answering a single question didn’t give users a chance to explore all that Zapier had to offer.
Zapier realized that the best way to help customers was to empower them to self-serve their problems with community, powered by Gainsight Customer Communities.
Here are four plays Zapier used when creating their support community.
1. SEO to the Rescue
At Zapier, over 80% of community traffic comes to their site via search. SEO Optimization with Gainsight gave the Community team the ability to show the most relevant search results to users. This strategy significantly reduced the number of individual support tickets created.
In fact, Zapier measured the ROI for their entire Support Community makeover by looking at the volume of people that came to the community versus what’s the volume of people that submitted a new ticket.
2. Super-Powered Suggestions
Another big assist for the Community was serving up suggested topics that auto-appear on question pages. These suggestions help surface similar issues based on tagging. Often, users don’t know how to articulate their problems, and suggestions are a good way of helping them.
3. Using Tools for Outsized Impact
Zapier used Gainsight’s API to scale moderation more effectively. With this tooling, they are able to prioritize the feed of incoming questions, ensuring they can give the right response at the right time.
After tooling, the time to first response was greatly reduced—now, most of their homepage questions are less than an hour old.
4. Search ALL the Things
The Zapier community search bar pulls in results from User Help Docs, Zapier Learn, and the entire backlog of Community questions. With content written for different purposes, different audiences, and different reasons, they needed a way to help users connect the dots.
Federated search from Gainsight allowed them to optimize cross search ability so they could show users content they might not know they want. They also made sure users could see the entire backlog of community questions.
One thing that all four plays had in common is that they were designed to be integrated into the customer cycle. For example, the onboarding phase would have dedicated, intentional SEO, suggestion, and federated search strategies.
“Leaving the community unlocked was really important for Zapier. It was about evangelizing the power of our users, making it really accessible and simple and fun for them.” – Rachael Silvano, Community Operations Manager at Zapier
Support Is a Great Place to Start
While Customer Support is a somewhat specific use case for Community, it is a proven way to make an impact. Thus, it is a great place to get started. After all, Customer Support is often the bread and butter of delivering a great customer experience.
For Zapier, building a successful support community meant tapping into the power of silent behaviors that drive very loud results. Perhaps most importantly, they were able to scale up to handle their vast user base. Not only do they give users what they need in real time, they also start building a better experience further along the customer lifecycle.