SugarCRM enables businesses to create extraordinary customer relationships with the most innovative and affordable customer relationship management (CRM) solution on the market. By placing the individual at the center of its solution, SugarCRM is putting the “i” in CRM and empowering people at all levels of an organization to better understand and engage with customers. More than 1.5 million individuals in over 120 countries rely on SugarCRM.
The Business Case for Community
Customer experience is at the center of SugarCRM’s charter, so the company wanted to ensure its online support reflected this core value. In late 2013, SugarCRM decided to replace its existing online forum platform—frequented mostly by highly technical users—with a modern, online support community that could unite and support a true worldwide customer base. Eric Ornas, SugarCRM’s Vice President of Customer and Product Support, led the effort to create an online venue for customers to converge to hear what other companies are doing with their SugarCRM implementations. The overriding vision was a comfortable, easy-to-use place for a variety of end users to solve problems, share information and be part of a larger SugarCRM community.
The Community Effect
Reach more users with a simpler experience
After several years, SugarCRM’s previous online forum became difficult to navigate for all but the most technical SugarCRM users. “Over time, it was no longer appealing to a broad group of customers,” said Ornas. In February 2014, SugarCRM went live with a Get Satisfaction support community that featured a simple and intuitive way for any type of customer to quickly get support questions answered. “People like to be able to learn when they run into an issue, and our new community provides a quick and seamless response platform to questions while helping users become more knowledgeable,” said Ornas.
Things have greatly improved behind the scenes as well. Get Satisfaction’s analytics dashboard helps SugarCRM better understand where customers need additional assistance. With the old forum technology, the company had no ability to evaluate the value of the topics being discussed. “Now we can see very clearly what’s happening and what’s of value to different audiences,” he said. “We’re especially happy with how easy it is for us to track and then promote certain information so we can add other employees from multiple departments into the conversation.”
Peer-to-peer sharing of best practices
In just five months, Ornas and his team have been surprised at the power of the peer-to-peer interactions taking place in the community. And it’s truly a global community as SugarCRM customers and developers from around the world are now regularly contributing. “As a software provider, we know our product inside and out, but we are unable to see how every application is applied across numerous industries for a variety of business reasons,” he explained. These peer-to-peer interactions help customers continually gain additional value from SugarCRM’s solution. “There are thousands of different ways that companies are using our product and this community helps customers find kindred spirits out there who they can learn from,” added Ornas.
Better serving mobile users
Because SugarCRM offers a solution that is inherently mobile, the company was committed to partnering with a platform provider that could offer a community experience across any device or operating system and on any sized screen. “Get Satisfaction’s ability to be as mobile as we are was critical. We have a high volume of mobile customers and they have to be able to access the community from wherever they are,” said Ornas.
SugarCRM views its community as an important mechanism for expanding the company’s knowledgebase. “We capture new information from the community on an ongoing basis and automatically put that information to work in our knowledgebase,” said Ornas. SugarCRM is also realizing that community content is a great indicator of the current appetite for information at any given time. While the company is always anticipating what questions are likely to come in next, the support community broadens that lens and, at the same time, exposes SugarCRM to different ways of asking questions.
As an example, SugarCRM’s latest version 7 offers a completely transformed, individualized user experience and new intuitive and innovative capabilities. The community has been an effective source of information: SugarCRM mines the topics discussed and questions asked about its latest version to augment documentation and add new articles to its knowledgebase.
Fast time to value
SugarCRM was pleased with the ability to get up and running quickly with its support community. Ornas attributed the company’s rapid time to value to the strength of Get Satisfaction’s platform and the quality of its team. “Team matters when you get into these kinds of implementations, and we relied heavily on Get Satisfaction to ensure a smooth conversion,” said Ornas. “This was a seamless, ‘no-surprises’ experience—and with software, that’s a real victory.” Get Satisfaction was also instrumental in helping SugarCRM establish best practices for its community early on. “The team provided helpful insights into community best practices and this guidance was invaluable in the early stages,” he added.
SugarCRM is taking a phased approach with its support community. The initial focus will be to build it up as another critical customer support channel, and Ornas will be monitoring customer satisfaction and case deflection as key performance indicators. The team also plans to fully integrate the community with its support and knowledge management systems so customers can move seamlessly from one to the other. Over time, SugarCRM will also explore how the community can support the company’s marketing objectives. “As the community grows, we expect to gather useful product feedback that we can take back to the product development teams,” said Ornas.
Community as a differentiator
As a market category, Customer Relationship Management offers a tremendous amount of valuable functionality. The challenge is ensuring that companies reap the full benefits of what’s possible, especially customers that don’t understand the extent to which CRM can transform their business. SugarCRM believes that its Get Satisfaction support community will play a key role in ensuring that customers get the most value from their CRM investment. “Our online community is a strategic tool to help our customers take full advantage of our software and identify the best ways to use it to meet their unique business goals,” Ornas said.
About Get Satisfaction
Based in San Francisco, Get Satisfaction provides an online community platform connecting companies with customers to foster relationships that unlock new value for both sides. Companies of all sizes and industries—from Kellogg’s, P&G and Intuit to Sonos, HootSuite and SugarCRM—rely on Get Satisfaction to deliver online communities that modernize customer support, accelerate sales, differentiate their brand and inspire new innovations. Get Satisfaction’s community platform offers the fastest time to value for companies ready to embrace the way today’s customers want to engage.
- Reaching far more customers with a simpler online support experience
- Customers capturing more business value through peer-to-peer sharing
- Support community now accessible from any device
- Stronger, more operationalized knowledge capture
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