If you search on the Internet for the term “community” you get a tremendous number of hits, from Wikipedia definitions to the funny television show (not a commercial) with that title. When you go to the Wikipedia article, there are two things that stand out: 1. The definition for the word community is debated, so much so that by the 1950s there were 94 discrete definitions! 2: The advent of the Internet has changed the concept of community by removing the tie to a geographic location and focusing on common interests. That is the type of community I want to talk about.
At the Association of Test Publishers’ (ATP) Innovations in Testing Conference in Arizona last week, I sat in on a very interesting session titled “The Wild and Wacky World of Customer Communities” led by members of the Microsoft Certification Testing team. The goal of the session was to help people start customer communities in order to improve relationships with stakeholders — in their case the test takers themselves. I found it interesting because many of the issues people were facing, we at Questionmark had faced or continue to face today in our own customer community. The discussion was very engaging and people there definitely saw the advantages of sponsoring a community.
For those of you who don’t know, we rebuilt our online Questionmark Community last year. Our new Questionmark Community Spaces is a much more robust place for customers to ask questions, interact with other customers and communicate with product managers. Some of the most authentic conversations I witness come from customers answering questions posted by other customers. Product managers like me use the community space to post roadmaps, answer customer questions and discuss upcoming releases and features. We see it as a way to keep in touch with as many customers as possible and gauge their responses to new ideas. I’m also planning to post more videos there that show people how to use features — something I oh so love to do!
If you are a Questionmark software support plan customer and have not signed up to be a member of our Community Spaces I highly encourage you to do so, and I will see you there. Just go to our Web site and click on Community Spaces under the “My Questionmark” tab.