Community Starts with Connection

Director of Community Experience Kaitlyn Jolley explains The Contingent’s approach to community connection

These days it seems everyone is longing for connection, a way to find a commonality between themselves and the person next to them… or the person across the digital device. This idea may ring true from age to age but seems increasingly relevant as we move from the information age to what seems to be an age of experience.

We gain full experiences through our connectivity to others using digital tools: artificial intelligence, social media, chatbots, and others. What seems to be the underlying and driving force of all this digital communication is our desire to find meaning and connection with others. 

Community is the Center of The Contingent’s Work

Connection with other people happens in, and is the foundation of, community. The community is the core asset of the Contingent. Theirs is the voice around which we center our work, and the community we serve are our “why”. Simply put, our work exists because our community needs it.

So, what do community and connection have to do with CX (or community experience)? Everything! Community experience is meant to be the opportunity to center the community voice, to understand their needs and to find a way to meet them, often even before they know what their needs are. Knowing the community’s “why” is what brings meaning to them, and ultimately, to us. 

The Average Customer Service Experience

The typical customer service approach has included attempts to provide excellent service to customers with the central goal of serving the businesses’ success.

Think about your own customer service experiences. You have often had to dial a number, listen to the menu options, press a number that best fit what you are looking for, end up in the wrong department, try to just talk to a human on the phone, and once you get there, you are already frustrated because you spent precious minutes of your day just trying to get one simple question answered. The reason for those dial directories and endless loops of talking to a robot (one that was likely NOT driven by AI) is because the business was looking for ways to decrease costs of having a real human do the work. By putting a system, albeit a clunky one, in place, it allowed companies to offer “customer service” with the least amount of human capital. 

To innovate on customer service, we must first listen

With The Contingent’s Community Experience, we aim to bring a new approach to customer support and customer service that will disrupt the old ways of doing things. In contrast to the traditional transactional and reactive methods of serving our “customers”, we are bringing experience as a service into play. This means starting with a real human connection and making use of new technologies that will allow us to scale exponentially our services and delight the community as a whole.

Our vision is to transform the service experience by prioritizing community members with empathy, personalized dedication, reliable support, discernment, and meaningful participation in our programs. We are seeking to engage and connect with our community through experience as a service by listening to the community, understanding their needs, acting in their best interests, and learning from their experiences. 

We have seen that in a sea of disconnection, offering a chance for genuine human experience will differentiate your organization from all the rest.