The benefits of creating and managing an online community go beyond reducing support costs; communities are the foundation of scaling. One person can only do so much, and as our CTO, Nathaniel, described in this blog post, your ability to succeed is directly tied to your ability to grow the team. 

Companies who are paying attention know that customers are not on the other side of the relationship. They are a part of your team and deserve a seat at the table. Communities offer customers a place to ask questions of the company and each other, discuss their own struggles and best practices, and contribute to the direction of the very company in which they are invested. A thriving online community also allows the company a front row seat to what customers are thinking about your brand, how they are experiencing your products, and what they're feeling about your company in general. That two-way street builds a strong relationships around a shared vision.

Some of the most successful online communities actively highlight their unique value propositions at the intersection of their customers' greatest needs. A community like Lego Ideas is a space for customers to show off their own creations that the company may never even have considered. Playstation demonstrates how crucial it is for customers to talk to each other about the products or services they are using. The goal is not to render Playstation's own service teams irrelevant, but to allow a space where passionate end users can come together and take their gaming to the next level.

At Spreedly, we want to build a community filled with like-minded but diverse individuals who are as obsessed with #fintech as we are.

Currently, we provide several self-serve resources for all customers: our documentation, API reference guides, and Help Center. These resources have been staples of the customer onboarding experience, allowing developers around the world to work their magic with our product. What we've been missing, though, is community. We want to know how our customers think about financial technology, the future of their businesses, and how Spreedly helps get them there. There are a lot of reasons to create or join an online community. Here is a quick overview of why Spreedly decided to launch our own.

Fast Service When It's Needed

Spreedly Community provides customers with answers more quickly than traditional support channels; it's the only place to interact both with our own Customer Success team but also with other Spreedly customers. Rather than submitting a standard support ticket, Spreedly hears customer voices and the #fintech community at large. Successful customers are often happy customers, and everyone learns from those that came before. Discussing tactics and implementations helps new customers be more efficient and expedite their timelines. We've found that Spreedly customers are very creative and have a wealth of knowledge about developing payment infrastructures. The community is also the go-to place for all the latest product updates and announcements. This includes team news and conference attendance (so we can be sure to meet up with customers and take them out for coffee).

Hearing Customer Feedback

As a part of our Community management, we'll be actively monitoring customer searches and posts to see where we can expand conversations and ask for customer input. Customers can also use the Feature Request topic to directly inquire about and upvote specific features of interest. This lets us know what they value most as users. To take it one step further and get a little meta, we also want to know what they want to see in the Spreedly Community itself. We’ve created a community section for feedback to help us tailor content directly to our customers and their needs.

Industry Best Practices

In offering an open forum to share our unique industry knowledge, we're able to provide easily accessible answers to a broad range of relevant financial technology topics. Customers will also have direct access to our leadership team through participation in Q&A sessions and other real-time discussions. Spreedly Community is also open to any of our partners, and we encourage their participation. Anyone in the field can share their insights, contribute their expertise, and learn from one another. In fact, since Spreedly does not often see the backend of a gateway's interface, our customers are uniquely positioned to understand and divulge some of the more quirkier parts of certain payment gateways. This insight helps us extend our own knowledge. 

We can now consider items for our integrations that we might not have otherwise thought to include. We already democratize participation in the payments industry. The Spreedly community aims to democratize access to the conversations around payments infrastructure and the future of #fintech. Success means customers get what they need to move beyond information silos and experience real collaboration. Success also means those customer conversations increase Spreedly's own accountability. As a result, we become better equipped to deliver an outstanding customer experience. 

If you'd like to participate in the Spreedly Community, join us here and let us know what you think.

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