5 successful hi-tech communities

Khoros Staff

Few industries have seen the immense growth the tech sector has seen over the last ten years. With advances in mobile networks, social media, streaming platforms, cloud storage, and most recently, AI, the ways people do business, communicate, and live their lives have transformed rapidly. It’s no surprise that with this growth comes an influx in customer service demand. Consumers want easy, efficient solutions to their problems and ways to engage with their peers. Meeting this growing demand is a key issue facing tech companies today. That’s where online communities come in.

This blog explores how tech companies are innovating in terms of their products and how they serve their customers by using brand-owned communities.

Tech 101

What makes a company a “tech company?” The broad definition is that a tech company–short for a technology company–is an organization that primarily deals with the development, manufacturing, and implementation of technology-based products or services. Typically, they use fields like software development, hardware engineering, artificial intelligence, and data analytics to solve modern-day challenges. Some of those more modern services include eCommerce, fraud prevention, healthcare, remote working, and social connectivity.

Many tech companies are B2B (business-to-business), providing predominantly online services that give other companies a “tech stack” to help them run their internal operations. Within the B2B sector, many tech companies specialize in providing Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, products made available to customers over the Internet on a subscription basis.

The significance of online communities in the tech industry

Forrester forecasts that spending in the US tech market is on the rise and will increase 5.5% in 2024. With this growth comes new challenges and a growing need to properly support customers.

Online communities connect people by enabling members to troubleshoot and solve problems, share ideas, and discuss various topics. So, it’s no surprise that many tech companies have found online communities help bridge the gap between the customer and brand, giving their users a platform that fosters collaboration, knowledge sharing, and user engagement.

Better yet, a community where customers can find answers to problems independently provides a convenient, fast way for self-service, which 72% of B2B customers prefer, according to Forrester.

With an online community, users can instantly access forums, videos, or articles instead of contacting a customer service representative directly. This not only saves time for the customer but can deliver massive cost savings on call deflection back to the brand.

So, what makes an online community “great?” Here are some key attributes that have made some of the best communities rise to the top:

1. Supporting collaboration between members outside an organization and employees within leads to a stronger brand.

2. Using gamification and “superuser” programs to encourage engagement and recognize passionate and productive members in meaningful ways.

3. Keeping the answers to common logistical questions in one easily searchable place to free up digital customer care agents.

4. Helping a brand manage a high volume of interactions while fostering more robust brand-customer relationships.

    Highlighting 5 of the best tech communities

    Ready to see some communities in action? These five companies have seen major success, and their brand-owned communities have become part of their winning strategy.


    Cisco develops and manufactures networking hardware, software, telecommunications equipment, and other tech services and products. As a leader in these solutions, they need to connect their customers with over 4,000 of their engineers online, so they created a brand-owned community to help.

    Cisco’s community has now enabled them to gain record-high support content satisfaction scores through the number of views of engineer-authored articles. They have also run competitions within their community, including the “Knowledge Champions League (KCL).” It consists of engineers collaborating to create articles within Tech Zone, Cisco’s internal workflow-enabled community. Cisco measured the output of KCL participants and compared it with Tech Zone active users who were not part of KCL. On average, KCL participants created five times more content than non-KCL participants.

    Takeaway: Connecting users directly with engineers in Cisco’s online community has dramatically increased customer satisfaction.


    Zoom is one of the biggest cloud-based video conferencing platforms in the market. In 2020, when the global pandemic hit, Zoom's usage increased exponentially. Customers wanted online support available 24/7. To answer their needs, Zoom built an online community, and they did so quickly.

    Since its launch in 2021, the Zoom Community has provided a wealth of knowledge to all global Zoom users. It has grown to include over 250,000 community members, 20 million page views, 100,000 posts, and 10 million visits.

    Takeaway: Zoom gives its millions of customers self-service support with robust forums and articles.


    Fortinet is a cybersecurity company on a mission to protect people, devices, and data. As their client base grew, they needed a space for their customers to learn and troubleshoot product questions. Their online community has seen great success by bringing their support content conveniently into one place. While their forum is active and boasts a strong view of “solved” issues, they’ve also built a popular Knowledge Base that makes it easier for their customers to self-serve. The Knowledge Base has become a living, breathing part of their community strategy, with technical writers and engineers contributing content often.

    Takeaway: In a short time, Fortinet’s community already has millions of views on their forum and Knowledge Base structure, saving time and money for their support operations.


    Microsoft is a tech titan selling computing devices, cloud systems and services, software, and other products to consumers and businesses. Though they offer general support on their website and by phone, they wanted to evolve their customer support strategy to better engage with customers. That’s when they decided to start a brand-owned community.

    They have now built thriving communities for several products, allowing customers to solve their problems without connecting to live support. Since they started their first community, Microsoft has grown community activity by 600%, resulting in reduced response times, increased solution rates, increased customer satisfaction, millions of dollars saved through call deflection, and benchmarking data to measure success with future online communities. Now, 75% of their online community content comes from members — which means it is autonomous and highly trusted.

    Takeaway: User-generated content is one of the biggest keys to Microsoft’s online community success.


    Visma develops cloud enterprise software within accounting, resource planning, payroll, and transaction process outsourcing, such as debt collection and procurement, throughout Europe and Latin America.

    As they’ve grown, they’ve become so passionate about community strategy that they now have 270+ product and topic communities. They prove value from their communities using a formula they discussed during their recent session at the Community Innovation Summit in Zurich. What are two of their main keys to success? Personalization and AI chatbots. Watch the video to learn more.

    Takeaway: Visma consistently proves value from their communities by offering different options for self-service.


    As tech companies like these evolve and new challenges arise, addressing customer needs is a top priority. These five examples show how online communities can be instrumental to a company’s success.

    By encouraging collaboration, knowledge sharing, and user engagement, they offer a space for customers to tackle challenges and discuss emerging trends. The cost savings, improved customer satisfaction, and preference for self-service emphasize the important role online communities have taken in the tech industry, firmly integrating them into the customer support ecosystem.

    Build an online community with Khoros

    Khoros helps brands fuel growth with authentic, trusted online communities. Leading brands use their Khoros-powered community to acquire new customers, increase the lifetime value of existing customers, accelerate issue resolution, reduce service costs, and more. Learn how Khoros can help you create and manage an online brand community.

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