If you are a particularly proactive community manager, you might notice when a member starts to become inactive and check in with them to make sure everything is OK or to see if there is anything you can do. In demonstrating that you care, you might be able to bring them back into the fold.

Why isn’t community software helping us do this?

I envision this working as follows. The person managing the community can define scenarios that would demonstrate a meaningful change in activity. For example, if a member has not made a post this week, but had made at least 30 posts in the 30 days before that, I want to see a flag in my dashboard.

Let’s say that a long term member has disappeared. In that case, you could be notified when a member, that has made 500 posts or more, has not made a post in two weeks.

This feature could even be used to find members who disappeared and came back. If a member hasn’t posted in more than 6 months, but they posted today, I want to know that. That’s valuable to me. I want to welcome them back.

This feature could even be used to find members who have suddenly become more active. Such as someone who made 10 posts this week after making less than 10 in the last 30 days. I could thank them for becoming a bigger part of our community.

The dashboard would include relevant links and data, such as the last visit date and links to view their profile, contributions and send them a private message. It could tell you the last time you contacted them regarding activity and give you the option to mute notifications for a specific member, so that you don’t receive endless notifications for the same person. Or it could be programmed in a way where the system knows not to notify you repeatedly regarding the same trigger for the same person.

If you are receiving too many matches, then you can scale the filters to fit your situation, so that you can have the most impact. That’s why it’s important to be able to define the numbers and the variables.

There might be some room for automated messages here, but I’d generally prefer a more personal approach, so that these don’t turn into “happy birthday” emails.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a feature like this exists, in some form or another, within one or more of the enterprise community software platforms. But I haven’t seen it in practice myself. Even if it is, more widely used community software (free and lower cost options) are where the most good can be done.

Call it CRM, call it whatever you want. I’ve shared many free ideas for community software vendors in the past. This is one more that I’d like to see.

Thank you to Carlos Andrade for making the suggestion that inspired this post.