When Fitbit Took Their Private Community Public

Allison LeahyAllison Leahy, Fitbit’s director of community, is the architect of the company’s 80+ member community team. After building a large private community that required login to view, she led an effort to make that community publicly viewable by all.

This type of move presents a series of challenges. How will current members react? What are the legal ramifications? Will it lead to an increase in disruptive members? On this episode, we discuss how Fitbit navigated these issues, resulting in a 300% increase in traffic and a 175% increase in content. Plus:

  • The struggle to unify customer service data
  • Allison’s favorite KPIs
  • Why Fitbit tries not to answer community questions for at least 24 hours

Big Quotes

“[When a customer posts a question in the community, but is told to contact customer service,] that’s not really a good experience, because then they have to bounce out of the community and go fill out a contact form. What we really don’t want to have happen is, now that they’ve gone to fill out this contact form, the next time an issue happens, they just go straight to the form because they’re concerned that their issue can’t be resolved by the community.” -@zapleahy

“Part of the reason we [have avoided answering community questions for 24 hours was to allow] our community council and regular community users, who maybe didn’t have as much of an opportunity to find their voice, to start answering some of those questions. There are a lot of very common and ‘easy to answer’ questions on the community that our community team might cherry-pick and just answer those easy ones as they came in. The thought was that the more challenging content would then filter, and there would be a little bit more of a time lapse there, so that it would be obvious that we would need to step in and address that content.” -@zapleahy

“What I don’t want to see is that the latest answers are always coming from somebody on the Fitbit team.” -@zapleahy

About Allison Leahy

Allison Leahy is director of community at Fitbit, where she helped launch the company’s global community and social support programs. A graduate of Vassar College, Allison kicked off her career as a community builder working to bring non-profit donor development programs online before joining Ning, a platform for creating online communities. She’s an avid cyclist, burgeoning runner and longtime walking enthusiast.

Related Links

In order of reference:


Your Thoughts

If you have any thoughts you’d like to share, please feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email or a tweet. If you enjoy the show, we would be grateful if you spread the word.

Thank you for listening to Community Signal.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *