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5 Reasons to Get Involved in a Customer Community

By June 10, 2013

guest-wayneby Kathy Lueckeman, Senior director of Customer Relationship Management and Director of the Office of Graduate Admissions at Wayne State University

I hate to admit it, but the first time I logged into Salesforce, I was overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start. Luckily, my Account Executive pointed me to the Higher Ed Chatter Community– a private Chatter group for Salesforce users working in the higher education sector. There, I quickly discovered what an invaluable resource Communities can be for new users. Here are five reasons to get involved in Communities.

1. Learn from experienced users on relevant topics

System administrators at other schools provided instrumental advice on setting up my ORG. Posts by other users helped me define industry relevant use cases for many features in Salesforce. Importantly, the Community serves as a forum to share best practices and get support.

2. Boost your social capital and sector influence

After I joined the Higher Ed Chatter Community, I quickly noticed that questions about getting started in Salesforce outweighed posts by veterans who work in the system every day. Noticing this, I decided to be a resource to newbies as often as possible. That simple “decision” led to numerous emails, conference calls, live demos of my org, visits to other schools, the honor of being named a Salesforce MVP and, most recently, helping to organize a special event for the Higher Ed community – the Higher Education Summit, slated for June 25th.

6a00e54ee3905b8833019102c65f06970c-320wi3. Get inspired by what’s possible

Through the Community, I have met some incredible higher ed rock stars, many of whom I have had the privilidge of being able to bring together at the upcoming Higher Ed summit.

When I learned how Yale was leveraging to develop custom apps, I started to think more about how my university could create an even better end-user experience for our students. Hearing how Tuck School of Business uses Chatter for student clubs and to match students with employers through their career services office gave me insight into how other departments at my university might take full advantage of Salesforce. As a member of an open and collaborative community, I can take lessons learned by schools like Algonquin, Western Governors,  Kettering and Eastern Michigan as they have developed innovative solutions to recruitment, retention and social media and take them back to my institution – where they make me look like a rock-star in my own right.

4. Grow your identity

Speaking of feeling like a rock-star, the higher ed community has also helped shape me both personally and professionally. Through the group, folks from across the nation have reached out to me,  from California – I had a chance to speak at University of the Pacific – to  Nebraska (they came to see me!) and from Ireland to Arizona, Florida, Chicago, Minnesota and more. These valuable connections have broadened my understanding and knowledge of the higher ed industry, an industry like no other in its commitment to sharing best practices and leveraging great ideas to help our students achieve their educational dreams.

5. Influence product development and solutions

Whether you realize it or not, being connected in a customer Community means that you have influence, and you help shape others in their use of Salesforce. You also get noticed by Salesforce, itself. Certainly, my interactions with led to speaking at Dreamforce and at regional events like the one held last fall at Yale. My new MVP status gives me further access to talk with Salesforce’s executive management to advocate on behalf of higher education.  The beauty is that any Salesforce user can do what I did, just by being active in the Community.

Who has time to participate in yet another Community? Make the time. Reach out to an MVP. Join me in the Higher Ed Chatter group and consider attending the free Higher Education Summit on June 25.


Kathy Lueckeman serves as senior director of Customer Relationship Management and director of the Office of Graduate Admissions at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She has been with the university since 2004. She is also a MVP.