Proposal:WMF Customer Service

From Strategic Planning

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Status (see valid statuses)

The status of this proposal is:
' Done'

This proposal is associated with the bolded strategic priorities below.

  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content.
  3. Increase Participation.
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation


The Wikimedia Foundation should create a position, Head of Customer Service, to work closely on community volunteers on issues of correspondence with external and internal customers, to focus on the issue of contributor retention, and to systemize and codify current and new procedures around customer service.


One area that is traditionally consider a "complaint point" for the Wikimedia Foundation is customer service. For instance, subjects of BLPs (Biographies of living persons on Wikipedia) often feel they are unfairly treated and call the Wikimedia Foundation. Those subjects are usually quite correctly referred to the OTRS queues, but there is very rarely systemized follow-up, any attempt to pair a complainant to a specific volunteer, or an audit and systemized tracking of outcomes to create best practices.

The same is true for customer service issues in other areas of the Foundation, and as content grows the need for this focused attention on customer service will grow as well.

This position should work closely with the Wikimedia Foundation's (extant) Volunteer Coordinator and other service oriented positions within the Foundation (including Head of Outreach, Head of Communications, etc).

This position should also work closely with existing staff to identify the reasons that contributors depart and determine what (if anything) can be done to modify existing processes and attempt to slow down the rate of member departure and turn the current plateau'd pattern into a net gain per month.

This position should specifically not attempt to replace existing community based customer service: it should, instead, empower and support the community in their efforts.


Systemized follow-up and metrics to measure success can help to capture best practices within the volunteer community to make customer service more regularly successful. These same lessons can be applied to another type of customer: our contributing community volunteer. Improving customer service in both of these areas results in a net gain of contributors and a streamlined customer service environment.

Key Questions

Potential Costs

Cost of staffing this role: (TBD? Probably in the area of $75-85,000 per year?)
Eventual cost of administrative support
Travel budget


The Foundation hired a Head of Reader Relations to fill this role.

Community Discussion

Do you have a thought about this proposal? A suggestion? Discuss this proposal by going to Proposal talk:WMF Customer Service.

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