I was first introduced to CROWDs in May of last year when I met Conversocial’s VP of Product at a tech event in London. I’d been pitched quite a few ideas and products that day, but only one really caught my ear: peer-to-peer social support. I joined Conversocial as Product Manager for CROWDs just six weeks later.
What intrigued me about CROWDs was how completely seamless it made it for anyone on Twitter to engage with your product through the actions of your community. Forums have been the go-to solution for community support for the past 20 years, but forums are hard to locate, harder to navigate and often intimidating for newcomers (bear in mind that you will have on average 10 forum lurkers for every poster).
CROWDs erases those three major pain points: support will proactively find you, you will only get high-quality responses from highly-knowledgeable people and you never have to leave the comfort and familiarity of your social media account.
Meeting our community
At that point CROWDs was a solid application used by major tech companies to offer high-quality low-level support to their community. In just a few months the core assumptions behind the central peer-to-peer social support idea had been proven right; the functionalities were still fairly basic but the core UX loop was up, running and working! While this was great news, this was just the beginning.
Our design philosophy is to be as open & transparent as possible with our users and partners. We travelled around the world and across continents to meet, interview and survey dozens of users to both collect feedback and data, and discuss designs and prototypes throughout development.
One of the key things we were keen to understand was why experts would each spend over an hour a day helping strangers on the internet. Data and feedback were unanimous: experts really just like to solve problems, help people out and give back to the community. Nothing makes them happier than getting a ‘thank you’ from someone they’ve helped.
Experts like to help people wherever they are and whatever other constraints they might have. Experts have told us stories about answering questions while in-line for concerts, while bottle-feeding their kid or just having a ten-minute breather break at work. CROWDs experts love what they do and our development plan is built around making it as easy and social as possible to keep doing what they love.
Our development timeline for 2017 is built around 4 key ideas.
1. Make CROWDs mobile
Experts are busy people juggling many things in their lives. They need CROWDs to be accessible anywhere, anytime. With that in mind we released our Android App on December 6th and will be releasing the iOS app in the first few weeks of 2017.
2. Supercharge CROWDs
Experts are helping our Product and UX departments to improve CROWDs to make information more legible and actionable. We are entirely revamping UX flows, adding features which will make experts more polyvalent and productive, and laying the groundwork for a host of extra features.
3. Introduce Gamification
Experts are very social people and often form tight-knit groups that love to both help and compete with each other. We will therefore be introducing advanced gamification which will encourage group synergy amongst expert communities and reward the best and most dedicated.
4. Streamline the backend
Finally, we will be having a close look at the CROWDs backend to make data more accessible and actionable for our customers. Leveraging our partnership with Twitter we will be tracking and displaying more data to help customers understand and track their expert programme’s achievements and challenges. We will also increase the community and account management capabilities of our partners to promote expert community growth and quality.
But for now...
Happy New Year, here's to 2017!