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Five Tips for Supporting Developers or Partners

As a quick review of my recent post, “Let Them Stand on You Shoulders”, you must enhance your organization’s go-to-market strategy with initiatives that leverage external parties. Taking a collaborative approach empowers you to maximize the potential of your existing and future solutions. To support this endeavor, it’s critical to have an ecosystem in place that enhances the full lifecycle of your developers or partners.

The ecosystem, sometimes referred to as a platform, portal or program, that supports this type of technology solution build out is naturally only as strong as its participants. In this post, I will break down five tips that promote success in supporting all stakeholders.

1. Encourage the Use of Community Forums

Forums should be all stakeholders go-to. Whether they are experiencing problems or want to share successes, it’s important that you encourage the use of community forums for discussion. The best way to do this is to establish topical discussions that have related sub-categories. With this type of structure in place, your users can efficiently navigate to find answers to their questions or to revel with other stakeholders about accomplishments. Here at developerprogram.com, we strongly suggest that forums are modified to ensure the integrity of your structure and discussion.

Another important feature of this functionality is a search bar. Though it may seem obvious, not all forums include a search feature, which makes it increasingly difficult and frustrating to find the answers to issues to participate in community. If you find that your community is getting a bit out of hand, or isn’t being utilized as you wish, implement moderators who are as knowledgeable as your support agents to stimulate discussion and to answer questions that remain stagnant.

2. Be Prompt with Your Support System

Support systems are absolutely critical to the success of your program. Personally, as an overachiever who likes to be in control, there’s nothing more frustrating to me than running into a problem I don’t understand or can’t find a solution to (in a forum or elsewhere). In these instances, though I may wish there was an alternative, support ticketing systems are the lifeblood, but if and only if tickets are responded to promptly.

The same holds true for your developer or partner ecosystem. Not only do you need to have a ticketing system in place, but it’s absolutely imperative that your support agents on the other side of those tickets have a system in place that allows them to promptly respond to each and every issue. If it is taking more than 48 hours to respond to a ticket, then you need to look at the structure of your support team and evaluate how to either (1) become more efficient or (2) add additional agents. It’s all about capacity and having a detailed understanding of the flow of your current team is absolutely critical to keeping your developers, partners, or internal stakeholders satisfied.

3. Provide a Tool for App Submission

By providing a tool for app submission, you are demonstrating the all encompassing aspect of your ecosystem. You don’t want to give your developers or partners a reason to navigate away from your portal because inconveniences such as these will increase the attrition rate of your stakeholders. This is easy to do, particularly if you have an existing integration with a form tool.

Something you should consider when implementing app submission in your developer or partner program, is the accompanying workflow that follows. Ask yourself questions such as: “Who should receive the app?”, “Does that person review it? Or categorize it and disseminate the app appropriately?”, and “What portions of this process can I automate?”. In doing so you will assure that the app submission actually adds immense value to your ecosystem and isn’t just a function of convenience for your stakeholders.

4. Response to App Submissions

This may seem like a given, particularly as a follow-up to number 3, but it’s definitely a critical part in ensuring that all parties feel supported in your developer or partner program. Similar to your support system, promptness with regards to app submission will encourage your users to continue using your ecosystem.

Your response can come in many different forms, but here at developerprogram.com, we would recommend including a confirmation of receipt and then follow-up after review with specific comments. This will initiate a review process and will make your stakeholders feel supported in their efforts to maximize the potential of your existing and future solutions.

5. Request Feedback from Stakeholders

You may be ambivalent to this tip more than others, but it will certainly make your stakeholders feel valued and will in turn boost the use of your ecosystem. The best way to gather feedback is in a quick survey. There are many tools that you can leverage that will directly integrate with your site, or you can use 3rd party tools that can be used as a one-off. Whatever you decide, make sure that you evaluate the entire user journey. When you request feedback, make sure you cover all areas: acquisition, onboarding, education, support, and submission. After receiving the responses, collate the feedback, and run an analysis to determine the areas that are important to adjust.

If you are having trouble getting responses, personalize the approach or offer a reward for participation. Depending on your audience, this may be a more difficult task, but I assure you, the return will vastly improve your developer or partner program.

Given these tips, tricks, approaches, and recommendations, your ecosystem will be more effective and efficient than ever before. Missed out on one of the past articles? Catch up: (1) Three Tips to Attract Developers or Partners & (2) Two Approaches to Educating Developers or Partners. These articles detail how to promote the ideal experience for all stakeholders, whether that’s acquisition, onboarding, education, support, or submission. For additional information on how to effectively launch, maintain, scale, or revamp your ecosystem, visit: http://bit.ly/2sfAI70.