Unlocking the ROI of Community to Support

February 1, 2024

COO @ Talkbase

We’ve talked a lot, both at Talkbase and throughout the community industry, about how cross-functional community is. In this blog series, we’ll share how you can take data from community, community’s cross-functional stakeholder team, and put it all together to formulate quantitative ROI of Community to the business. To start the series, we talk about Community & Support collaboration.

By the way, check out these other blog articles on improving your cross-functional collaboration:

Community metrics

Data from the community will mostly come from the forums, Q&A sections, and knowledge base articles. You should be able to pull this from your community platform.

  • Number of questions asked
  • Number of answered questions
  • Number of unanswered questions
  • Questions with a “Best Answer” selected
  • Time to first response
  • Content helpfulness score (often in online communities, this could be the “Did you find this answer helpful? Yes/No” you find at the bottom of the page)
  • Number of “thumbs up” reactions to the question and the responses
  • Web traffic to Q&A and Knowledge Base Articles

Customer support metrics

Most of the data from the support team will come from their service tool, for example Salesforce Service Cloud, Zendesk, HubSpot Service Hub, or Help Scout, to name a few. Some of the financial data may need to be provided by a finance partner, since they pertain to support agent salaries.

  • Number of support tickets received
  • Time to first response
  • Time spent per ticket
  • Dollars spent per ticket
  • Number of responses before ticket is resolved
  • CSAT score

Putting the puzzle pieces together

Putting together pieces of data from the community and customer support, here are three examples of cross-functional metrics you can put together.

Interested in seeing other potential metrics to show additional value and impact, or how to calculate these numbers and put it all together? Email us at

  • Case deflection: How many support cases were deflected because the user found the answer to their question in the community?
  • Dollars saved: How much money was saved by the customer support team because questions were answered in the community rather than in the support ticket queue?
  • CSAT score: What is the differential between customer satisfaction on finding an answer in the community vs. working with the support team on a ticket?

Bonus content: Positioning a win-win relationship

One common pushback community leaders may face when trying to put these metrics together from the support team is that we are trying to eliminate the need for support and to have everything through the community. For example, one support manager I worked with at a previous company prided himself and his team on how many cases they were able to resolve in a month. He was concerned about supporting the community because the number of cases would decline.

As you’re working on theses shared metrics, it’s important to educate your internal stakeholders that eliminating support is not the intent. Rather, clearing out the redundant, repetitive, commonly asked questions by directing people to the community will open up the support team’s time to focus on the more complex cases - the cases that need more handholding, troubleshooting, context, and even focus on higher priority customers. It empowers them to be more intentional about the support they give and to who, and also frees up time for them to focus on additional support initiatives like perhaps hosting regular office hours, creating additional content like tutorial or how-to videos, or even looking for additional cross-functional collaboration opportunities. Having community and customer support helping one another and working together is a win-win synergy that brings value to both the business and the customers seeking support.

Tiffany Oda
COO @ Talkbase

February 1, 2024

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