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Vendor Community Forums Play a Critical Role in Improving Customer Support Experience

Customer support experience is the most important aspect of IT industry and its effectiveness in solving massive challenges. Peritus, the AI recommendation engine for support automation, has announced the results of its first IT Industry Forum Benchmark that sheds light on the role of IT industry vendor communities and their online fora. The purpose of the study, which examined posts and responses on leading IT industry forums, is to shed light on the potential to transform community forums from a “best-effort” technical support channel to a best-in-class customer support experience.

How Customer Support Experience Ranks with Vendor and Open Source Communities

Developer sites such as Stack Overflow have exploded in popularity with over 125 million active users per month; however, the large majority of questions are never answered. Vendor communities’ forums lag further behind with significantly lower activity levels and the number of resolved questions.

Read Also: Global Cisco Study Reveals What Works in Security Is Not What You Might Think

The Peritus IT Industry Forum Benchmark examined over 12 million posts and responses on more than 50 IT industry forums. These forums are destinations for engineers and developers to get answers from trusted experts on the building blocks for multi-cloud IT infrastructure including Enterprise Networking, Cloud-Native Open Source, Edge Compute, Software-Defined Data Centers, and Middleware Technologies.

Included in the benchmark is data from forums that address leading enterprise vendors and open source technologies such as Cisco, MongoDB, and Kubernetes.

Pareto: 20% of Experts Are Generating Over 80% of the Accepted Answers Overall.

Peritus analyzed these technical forums to identify metrics for both effectiveness in resolving questions and the profiles of the experts who are most active in posting answers. The benchmark study zeroed in on four key metrics:

1) the number of posts that were resolved;

2) how quickly each post was resolved;

3) whether posts were resolved by the first response and

4) how many experts answered the bulk of the questions.

The benchmark includes the overall industry average, best-in-class forums, and comparisons for each vendor to the best-in-class forums.

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“Our analysis revealed that 20% of experts are generating over 80% of the accepted answers overall. This clearly indicates a need to create more active forum contributors and empower a greater number of experts to deliver effective support,” said Robin Purohit, co-founder and CEO of Peritus.ai.

Robin added, “As the technology industry moves to a digital-first approach to customer service, there is huge potential for AI to make dramatic improvements in case deflection while lowering the effort for engineers to get the answers they need. Community forums have huge upside potential to become the best technical support channel for all IT problems.”

Key Results and Insights in The Peritus IT Industry Forum Benchmark on Customer Support Benchmarks

Across all vendor and community forums, the “best-effort” approach to community forums clearly show the potential for improvement:

● Only 31% of reported posts on forums are ever resolved;

● Just 19% of posts are resolved in less than 24 hours;

● A mere 14% of posts are resolved on the first response.

The expertise for each forum is highly concentrated in a select number of contributors:

● 20% of forum contributors generate more than 80% of accepted answers;

● This expertise is highly concentrated in the top 5% of contributors, or forum MVPs.

By contrast, the “best-in-class” forums indicate the upside potential with an active expert community including:

● 60% of forum posts were resolved, 93% higher than the industry average;

● 42% of posts were resolved in less than 24 hours, 121% better than the industry average

● 33% of posts were resolved on the first response, 135% higher than the industry average.

The best-in-class metrics were all found in open source forums such as NGINX, PostgreSQL, and Kubernetes.

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