From day one, Infinite Flight has endeavored to be community-centric. After implementing global flight, this became even more important for us. What is it that drives us to continue nurturing an engaged community? This article takes a closer look at the what, why, and how behind our community management at Infinite Flight.
What is ‘Community Management’ at Infinite Flight?
Community management is a term you will hear constantly thrown around. It is easy to pass off as a term with little meaning, used primarily as an umbrella term for all community-wide discussion, engagement, and communication. To an extent, community management does indeed encompass that. However, here at Infinite Flight, we like to elevate the meaning a little higher than a generic buzzword; community management is important and a vital tool for building a successful company.
At Infinite Flight, we focus on two key components of community management. First and foremost we promote engagement between users, not just between the company and the community. For our global community, this is key.
Our community forum is a pinnacle of this, and we have focused on this to enable intra-community engagement. On social media, you will regularly see us nudging people towards the forum for answers to their queries, amongst other reasons. This isn’t due to laziness in our social media team [we promise], but is instead a catalyst for peer to peer interaction. When we get users to the forums, the gravity of the community discussion is a strong factor in keeping them there. This is both a benefit to us since dialogue between the company and the community can be more direct, which further enhances the user experience. From our users’ perspective, having a host of other users to interact with makes the experience more enjoyable. From there, the community creates its own links, and the huge balloon of virtual airlines, virtual organizations, and real-world friendships that have come from this are a testament to the power of user-to-user communication.
However, community management is not just getting users to talk to one another. To be successful, it also has to guide and set frameworks for discussion to take place. Guiding discussions can be done in various ways. Simply reacting positively to negativity is one such example, with another being a set of rules found on the forum. On social media, you may even see us reacting with emojis to certain comments. This is us trying to nudge the direction of the discourse and setting indirect examples of what is acceptable or not. A prevalent example many of our users may know is the high number of female pilots found in the cockpits of our aircraft. By setting the framework to create a positive discussion based on the lack of female pilots in the industry, we get the community talking.
Why we engage our community
Many brands and companies have a poor digital footprint. It is almost a certainty that those companies are harder to engage with, poorer at communication, and their user base is a fraction of the potential it could be. Pursuing a greater level of these key community components is the first and foremost reason for us to invest in community management.
Furthermore, our product is an intangible one; you cannot touch or feel our product like a food or furniture item. In the event of the product malfunctioning, a user cannot visually see what is wrong with it. This means finding a solution may seem harder to attain than with a tangible product. Providing online support is therefore key to us at Infinite Flight. The ability for users to get a quick and clear response from us is something we pride ourselves on. This is no longer a bonus feature, but now is a key component for any successful company who operates online.
When community management is most vital
Specific to us as a company is the factor of crisis management. Our product is ever-changing and constantly being updated and adapted. With this comes a higher capacity for either human error or device malfunctions. With each update, this risk is at its highest, as any underlying issues will arise quickly. During this time our team is on high alert for issues, and the effort and time spent investing in community management shines.
One recent example of this was our 19.1 release earlier this year. This brought many amazing features such as live replay, with the Airbus A330 family also getting a host of new features. Upon release, an issue with the A333 was found by our users. This issue was due to the feature that enables aircraft downloads being completely reworked behind the scenes. During this time, the aircraft configuration files were mismatched between what it thought the aircraft should be and what the aircraft actually was. This issue was widespread, and many of our users experienced it.
Throughout this time community management and support were shining. Setting a clear and obvious channel of communication on our forum and social media, we kept users in the loop with the latest information of a ‘hotfix’. It is worth noting here that a hotfix is a very normal phenomenon in software development. Throughout this process, our community was spreading this information between one another. Now, remembering that community management is encouraging user-to-user interactions, this was a clear example of the power of community management. Within minutes of the issue being realized and a fix on its way, our wider community was already informing each other without prompt.
Infinite Flight does have the perfect recipe for this. Like any good pilot, we're always learning. We do know that when you utilize the power of your community, you unlock one of the keys to building and maintaining a successful company.