We know that building a community within a business involves cross-functional and collaborative relationships throughout various teams. Not only is community incredibly cross-functional, impacting each team throughout the company, but other teams also rely on the community and a partnership with the community team for things like product feedback, collaboration in support, and being eyes and ears on the ground for customer sentiment, (among many other things).
Related to Customer Success and Community Management, the two teams play a vital role in building relationships with customers and ensuring they find success while using the product. This could range from successful onboarding and product adoption to preventing churn and attrition. In this blog article, we’ll discuss why it's important for these teams to meet regularly and what should be on their recurring meeting agenda. Meeting with cross-functional stakeholders can be a significant part of a community leader’s job description.
Why Regular Meetings Are Important
Community and Customer Success teams working together ensures a more seamless customer experience. From their first interaction with the company, whether it’s vendor selection or figuring out if the product fits their business needs, Community and Customer Success are front and center. Regular meetings between these teams ensure that they are aligned and working towards the same objectives, and they provide an opportunity for both teams to share their insights and learn from each other while eliminating potentially duplicative work.
One of the key benefits of regular meetings is that they help to identify areas where the customer experience can be improved. The community team can provide feedback on customer sentiment shared within the community, while the customer success team can identify areas where customers are struggling. This feedback can be used to develop community building strategies to improve the customer experience.
Another benefit of regular meetings is that they help to build a strong working relationship between the two teams. By meeting regularly, the teams can get to know each other better, understand each other's roles, and build a sense of trust that is essential for effective teamwork.
The meeting agenda for Community and Customer Success teams will vary depending on how established their collaborative relationship is. Here are some agenda items to consider for different stages of collaboration. These can be shared on community platforms like Slack or Discord to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Early Stage Collaboration
This agenda is best for initial meetings between the two teams, before an established relationship has been created.
- Introductions: Both teams should introduce themselves and explain their roles and responsibilities.
- Goals: Discuss the current goals of each team and how they may overlap or intersect with each other. Create initial shared goals which support a win-win relationship.
- Data: Determine data sources and commonalities - what CS data would be useful for Community to have visibility to, and vice versa?
- Gaps: Discuss current gaps and wishlist items in the processes and technology, and look for ways to share resources to overcome them.
- Brainstorm initiatives: Discuss new joint initiatives and how they align with shared goals, and discuss swim lanes. This would also be a great place to make a RACI chart for working together better.
- Ongoing relationship management: Discuss logistics for the future like meeting cadence, ownership of items (the RACI chart should help with this), and best way to communicate across teams between meetings (e.g. Slack, email, other messaging tool).
This agenda is best for Customer Success and Community teams who have begun building relationships and collaborating cross-functionally on initiatives, reports, and other internal processes.
- Goals & data: Review shared dashboards and reports from both teams to monitor progress towards shared objectives. Discuss any unexpected patterns or outliers in the data, trends, and any alterations to plans based on these data insights. This data-driven approach is essential in effective community building.
- Update on progress: Community and Customer Success team members provide updates on shared initiatives, challenges, shifts, and deliver information on how the other team can lend support.
- New initiatives: As the collaboration deepens and the online community grows, new opportunities may arise. It is crucial to discuss, outline, and assess these emerging initiatives.
- Red flags: This is a chance for the teams to spotlight potential issues. For example, a customer with a low health score nearing their renewal date, or obstacles encountered during new user onboarding that could be addressed or mitigated through the community platform.
- Operational improvements: Evaluate any internal processes, data, tech stack, and other tools that one or both teams use, and discuss how these could be optimized.
Advanced Stage Collaboration
This agenda is tailored for Customer Success and Community teams that have a longstanding, deeply collaborative relationship.
- Goals & data: Set high-level cross-functional objectives and identify the data and community platform tools needed to build a unified dashboard. For instance, a single dashboard that illustrates customer health scores in relation to community activity, or reveals time-to-value for customers engaged in community activity versus those not involved.
- Joint strategy planning: Formulate a joint strategy and roadmap to keep driving the collaboration and community building for the short, mid, and long term.
- Continue working on operational improvements and future collaboration opportunities on the community platform.
At this level, it could also be beneficial to have a representative from one team attend the other team’s regular meeting. For example, a member of the Community team could attend the Customer Success team meeting, and vice versa. This encourages greater transparency and insight into priorities, blockers, and opportunities to assist each other.
Collaboration between Community and Customer Success teams facilitates a more holistic customer experience and offers additional avenues for both teams to achieve their objectives. Regular meetings between these teams ensure that they are aligned and working towards the same shared goals; however, the meeting agendas should evolve depending on the degree of cross-functionality and the depth of the relationship. Through this collaborative effort, the two teams can deliver a seamless customer experience fostering long-term customer relationships. This symbiotic relationship further illuminates the role of the community manager and their crucial part in achieving customer success.
August 2, 2023
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