Broadening Web site membership and loyalty were two results sought by Mercury Interactive in its mission to improve its online community.
Mercury provides enterprise testing and performance management solutions to help clients identify and mend performance bottlenecks in their IT infrastructure. Customers and consulting partners use its customer support Web site to access tips, updates, product documentation and solutions related to the company's software products. The site also includes an online user community with discussion forums, a "Knowledge Base" area and "Downloads" section in which users can share information and help troubleshoot problems.
Mercury turned to Participate Systems (participate.com) to help meet the challenges of building site membership and loyalty, as well as of reducing growth in support costs without damaging customer satisfaction.
Mercury asked Participate not only to achieve those goals, but also to create the analysis, methodology and reports to prove a return on investment. According to a recent press release from Participate Systems, its solution involved enhancing the online community to:
- promote new products and services to customers,;
- encourage customers to solve each other's problems by stimulating user-to-user discussion, and;
- increase site offerings to attract a broader base of users.;
Participate also says it analyzed Mercury Interactive's customer support community and made several recommendations including an enhanced set of discussion forums, polling, member recognition and a referral program.
According to Participate, the following goals were met during the first year:
- Community membership grew 68%, and participation increased by 52% overall.;
- A monitoring and response process helps users find the answers they need. Overall discussion forum activities have grown 136%.;
- A framework, rating scale and system for quantifying ROI on self-help activity were developed.;
- The number of users submitting requests online grew 53%.;
- The number of registered users reached 25,000.;
- Participate—through its daily analyses—says it has forwarded weekly summaries of forum user feedback to designated product groups, thereby creating an efficient way to present insights to product managers and R&D engineers.;