An effective peer-based support system may be one of the holy grails of customer service. If your company sells a product that requires you to support customers, what could be better than getting your customers to provide support for each other – reducing the cost of resources you need to deploy and ultimately speeding the time to resolution?

It’s a win for everyone. Even if you’re the customer answering someone else’s question, you’ll feel good about helping someone else – and you’ll know you’re contributing to a system in which your effort now is likely to be reciprocated later, when you need your own question answered.

Ray Wang, principal analyst, founder, and chairman of Constellation Research, says peer-based support is important because of the trust factor. “We trust peers more than we trust vendors. We trust peers more than we trust sales people. We trust peers more than anybody else.”

If you’ve already created a community board or other system for peer-based support, your customers are probably itching to improve on what’s there, says Ray. “People are looking at this and they’re saying, ‘Oh my god, all that information is wrong – I could do better.’”

[For more insight from Constellation Research on how organizations are improving customer service with collaboration, watch this recorded webcast:  Demystifying Social Business for Support and Service: Optimizing the Issue-to-Resolution Process with Collaboration.]


But how do you implement a peer-based support system effectively? How can you bring both customers as well experts from your organization together in a secure environment and still make it flexible and fun enough to work?

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Using SAP Jam for peer-based support


If you’re looking for a way to get started, SAP Jam makes it easy. With its secure internal and external collaboration capabilities, you can easily create discussion groups for customers of a specific product or service, customers in a certain country, or customers interested in a particular topic.

They’ll be able to share and gather tricks, help each other troubleshoot issues, and even suggest ideas for future products and improvements. On top of that, the groups don’t have to be isolated from all of your other business applications and processes – SAP can connect your communities to a vast store of critical business data that resides in back-end applications.

When you do start using SAP Jam for peer-based support, how can you get the most out of it? Here are three ways:

  • Include internal and external users. With SAP Jam, you can create collaborative, engaging communities for your customers, prospects, or partners. It’s easy to create and moderate internal-only sites, or invite one or many external parties – without requiring them to install any software.
  • Provide recommended content. Guide your customers to specific documents, videos, and answers to help them get things done. Stay on top of things by monitoring the latest discussions and what’s used most often.
  • Gather the best answers and ideas. Determine and mark which answers are best, and encourage customers to suggest ideas by using tools for ranking, voting, and polls.
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