For many brands today, focusing on what their competitors are doing carries more value than strategizing to retain their own customers. However, it should be the opposite.
Why, you ask?
Well, we all know that customer success is a long-term business objective. The success or failure of your business largely depends on what your customers think about your products and services. If they love what you do, they’re sure to stay and promote your brand as strong advocates.
But how do you ensure customer success and deliver diligent support to them throughout their buying journey? Enter – online communities!
Online communities are the perfect medium for brands to promote their products and services by adopting a more humanistic approach. They serve as a channel through which brands can not only identify their users’ needs but also increase customer loyalty.
Leading industry experts discussed all this and more at our recent virtual conference, Marketing (re)Focus, 2021 in a fireside chat session on “Driving Your Brand With Online Communities”. Our distinguished speakers for this session were:
- Heather McNair– Chief Community Officer, Higher Logic
- Dani Weinstein – Senior Director, Customer Community, and Growth, Kaltura
- John Summers – Senior Manager, Community Practice, Grazitti Interactive
Let’s take a deeper look at some of the key highlights from the session and explore why happy customers are the key to unlocking true business potential via online communities.
Communities are a Key Medium to Keep Customers Engaged Throughout Their Buying Journey
A major mistake that brands can make when trying to achieve customer success is that they invest fewer resources and less energy on deepening their ties with the existing customers.
In the session, Heather highlighted that your objective should not be limited to simply signing a customer, you must strategize to connect with them and introduce them to the range of products and services that you offer and generate brand loyalty.
Online communities can be the perfect channel to educate new and old customers about product features, new product enhancements, and introduce them to groups where they can exchange knowledge.
Data received can also be used by brands to keep a track of their customer’s progress and identify their preferences. When you empower your customer to navigate to relevant content easily, that’s when you take the engagement quotient a step further.
Communities are a Safe Network for Customers to Cross-Collaborate
Your customers want to be heard. They don’t look at your brand as a corporate entity but as a medium where they can cite their true experiences and connect with people who share similar interests.
For your customers, your online community is a channel where they can engage with their peers, develop strong relationships, and find answers to their queries. Your community empowers your customers to build meaningful connections that help them to be successful.
The possibilities of what customers can do in a shared space are endless. Thought leaders can share insights with fellow peers, customers can look out for support or best practices to follow for their queries, and can share innovative ways with brands to use your product or even better share an idea that could be your next product.
Communities Highlight Customer Pain-Points and are a Channel to Provide Solutions
Consistent user interactions are a core element that keeps online communities vibrant. Brands can ensure that they communicate with their customers and keep them engaged throughout by taking their regular feedback.
Highlighting this specific community objective, Heather mentioned that brands must ask themselves if they’re doing enough to track their customers that reveal insights about what delights them, what their pain points are, and what the causes are behind those problem areas.
Dani, sharing his experience and expertise on the subject, stated that the success of online communities depends on the feedback obtained from the members on different topics. As the customers progress in their buying journey, they build stronger relationships with fellow community members. This brings forth an opportunity for marketers to improve upon their understanding of the user’s emotional state, identify their preferences and other key moments in their journey.
Communities Bridge the Gap Between Self-Service and Support
While talking about the importance of implementing self-service in online communities, John stated that online communities are a one-stop solution for users to solve any issues that they might be facing, on their own.
By making relevant and valuable content accessible in the form of articles, blogs, answers, and more, brands can cut down on support costs and make it easier for customers to resolve queries through self-support. In the event where a user is not able to find a solution, the support staff can jump in and provide diligent customer support.
Online communities contain massive amounts of information in the form of user-generated content, FAQs, product documentation, video tutorials, along with many other self-service tools like help forums to help customers find answers quickly.
Communities are Ideal for Personalizing Customer Experiences
Online communities extend beyond being a mere medium to boost engagement and provide customer support. Supporting this fact, Dani mentioned that with online communities, brands can get a 360-degree view of all user activities. Integrated with CRM, organizations can get a deeper view of what their customer’s preferences are.
Also, with key data insights, brands can take a step ahead and analyze consumer behavior, underlining their actual customer demands & interests, and ascertaining how they can improve their products to meet customer expectations with tailor-made solutions.
The Future of Brands With Online Communities
Wrapping up the session, the three community experts discussed what communities have in store for brands in the future.
An advanced online community supported by killer community management strategies and relevant content that promotes user convenience and enhances CX – that’s what brands need to focus on to thrive in today’s competitive landscape.
The informed customers today need value for their time and dime. Therefore, the future of brands surely looks community-oriented.
Learn more about building dynamic online communities. Talk to us!
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