Web3 Creators and Projects Have A Responsiveness Problem. The Weakness: Customer Service!
And in this article, I’ll highlight how they can be beat by corporate and web2 minded individuals. Don’t tell these web3 pioneers, or point it out, because you’ll be banned from their projects. This vulnerability is ripe for exploiting.
It’s fun to harken back to the days of the California Gold Rush, or the mythical stories of the Wild West, that continue to inspire generations through media and television. The comparisons with Web3 are abundant and relevant.
One can expect, walking into any fantasy western town, to be greeted when they enter the saloon. An enterprising bartender cleans glasses, while tables are tended to, rooms are made available to patrons — this is a great example of a properly functioning business. Entering into these Web3 projects is not the same, it’s often a terrible experience, where we’re left waiting for a drink.
“Damn, what do I have to do to get a drink around here?” This is common feeling when entering into spaces hosted by projects. This is taken to a more extreme level, where patrons (not employed) begin to wait the tables due to outcry by new entrants to the bar. They often have no connection to these projects, yet begin to answer questions and work for free. See: Grinding.
Grinding is a term used for new entrants who enter a project, creating activity and hype around a particular project; grinding is done with the hopes of earning a community management role, early access to a sale list, and generally to get an early foothold and voice in a project. There are success stories where these people are rewarded, while others unappreciated.
I have spent a month in a community, simply to watch a new person come in to receive a community moderator spot within 5 posts. It happened this week.
Infuriating as this was to witness, there aren’t many saloons here in the wild west that are a good fit for me. I’ll continue to patronize the place, because my train has not come to town yet. My eyes look out the window in wait, as I sip on a drink, and although I’d have rather been busy and working during my days in this one-horse town, I’ll let these newcomers clean up peanut shells.
I take into consideration that these bartenders haven't looked at the work on my table, and haven't noticed that I am writing proposals involving 10’s of million dollars worth of ApeCoin. This year I’ll make incredible proposals that highlight the power of this token and the DAO. It would’ve been nice to have been able to help during my stay, but soon I’ll be leaving for The Otherside.
This example happened in a top-notch community. The extremes that occur in smaller communities is even greater; talent is overlooked and underpaid.
Currently, there are a few stereotypes that are picked to help with community management. There are famous bandits — who’s previous projects may have soured but generated great money; the second type are sheep — who aren't able to answer questions, simply filling the spot; the third are professional moderators — the most rare, because projects don’t typically pay for these.
Let’s be real: Projects that don’t pay for real moderators — who engage with the community every day — these are exploitable, and their days of success are numbered. New waves of motivated people and projects are coming.
There is going to be new set standards. It’ll be easy for these Web3.1 groups to “WOW” their new prospective clients. Entering into their community spaces will be like being welcomed to a party, the attendants and hosts all asking “hi there, how are you? Have you met so-and-so? Come, I’ll introduce you!” That will become the standard, awkward and cheaply ran communities will fall.
Through either self-governing or regulation, we will see it become harder for projects to get off the ground without existing community and moderation in place to welcome new people. Customer service will gain incredible value in the space as answers and help are provided in a consistent and professional manner. Even large DAO projects like ApeCoin will benefit from these ideals.
Newcomers like me, when not properly engaged and guided, continue to look for opportunity. We’ll ultimately remember the groups and communities that welcomed us, the ones that shunned us; and we’ll work to maximize our own impact on this world with new ideas and a welcoming spirit. Many of us may even favor other newcomers, choosing not to work with outdated influencers.
Effectively, these groups that are appointing managers and moderators that haven't come from their community are harming themselves. I’m not going to interact with these randoms being promoted, who are they? And why did they get preferred positions over paying patrons like myself who have continued to grind and show up. These type of decisions being made will have an impact.
Here are recommendations for immunizing your communities:
- Become more responsive. Make time to answer questions.
- Commit to appointing helpful people from within communities
- New communities should hire moderators that truly work hard
- Professional communication ability should be a requirement
- Putting bandits and known bad actors on moderator list is bad
When I go to multiple communities, seeing the same moderators — who are not actively engaging with the community, it sends these messages to me:
- We are filling moderator spots because we cannot find real help
- We are struggling to bring up new people from our own community
- We are buying social proof by adding known bandits to our project
These crappy moderator spots you’ve chosen to give people will harm you, and more and more the “Newcomers,” are going to learn how to spot them. As we’re passed by for positions — instead seeing them given to lazy individuals, we’re going take our talents elsewhere. We’ll connect with each other, with VCs, anywhere to get funding, so that we have the ability to rise above you.
Customer service even in the imaginative fantasy of the “Wild West” is better than nearly every Web3 project at the moment. There are very few that are considering how to better treat and serve their customers. Instead of learning from corporate and real world examples, projects choose to recreate their own version of wheel. Innovation in customer service occurred already in Web2.
We can look at how customer service centers were setup, how brands and organizations have successfully implemented user support; doing better than them in this regard is impossible. We must learn and study from companies who have perfected the art of call centers, support lines, and more. This isn’t something that can be done differently. It’s the greatest vulnerability of Web3.