Unleashing the Community

The Dell Community Forum has been in existence for over 19 years under many different names. Over the past 3 years, we have discussed the forum’s potential, and considered many different ways to make it better. Five months ago, my team set out to unleash the community. Currently there are over 750,000 registered users in the forum. We had 3,000 new users just last week and have more than a million visits every month. That said, we realize that numbers themselves don’t equal a community.

Up until now, the Dell Community Forum provided a place to get technical problems fixed by discussing your problem with other users. Technical support is only one value a community can provide. With the redesign, we hope to give users a place to talk about product usage, get advice on purchase decisions and getting the most out of the hardware you currently own.

With input from our users, we set out to create areas that foster sharing of news, events and training in three areas—Gaming, Digital Life and Tech Talk. If you have participated in the forum before, we aren’t removing anything. The product support aspect remains under Tech Talk. If you have a passion about Gaming and/or Digital Life, you now have specific content and a community to share and learn from.

But we’ve just gotten started. We will have a formal recognition program for the community members that contribute and help customers in the forum. We will have a better way to score content. Currently we measure success by volume of content created. Moving forward, we’ll provide community scoring based on user feedback—did the content resolve your problem or answer your question? We will upgrade our technology so forum members can easily find what they are looking for. We will establish forums in non-English languages for our international community and add additional interest groups based on your feedback. We will ask you about how you use your Dell products, share the information with the community, teach and learn from others about wireless networking, digital photography, home theater … the list continues on. If you are currently a community member, thank you. If not, please consider joining—there is no charge and we welcome you to be part of the Dell community to deliver improvements. Please visit the site and tell us how you use our products—we’re running a Purely My Technology sweepstakes to encourage initial dialogue.

My team needs your help to continue to improve. Please give us feedback on the changes. Let us know what you like and what you don’t. In this vlog, Dawn, Chris and Stephen from the DCF team discuss some of the enhancements and explain how they intend to use the site, not only as Dell employees, but as users of Dell products.

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About the Author: Sean McDonald