22 Oct Cultivate Community For a Better Customer Experience Read
People are talking about you—and, let’s be honest, you might not like what they’re saying.
Customers will always be discussing your products and services out in the wild—conversations between real human beings, from power users sharing their knowledge to folks just ramping up seeking tips and tricks. Even if you don’t always like what you see, you definitely need to be part of the conversation.
Creating the space for those conversations and joining them ensures customers remain at the center of everything you do. Because elevating the voices of many customers—their use cases, ideas, and opinions—in an open, transparent way is about as customer-centric as you can get.
A robust user community is a powerful combination of support, social networking, and communications that streamlines the customer experience across the board. Here’s how it can start driving results immediately.
Provide support that’s scalable and transparent
Many of our customers have deployed a community forum to help scale support with crowdsourced and expert input. Contributions from a ready and willing set of peers meant customers didn’t have to contact support through traditional channels, freeing up traditional channels while still providing the experience customers are looking for.
With a structure that includes participation from external moderators—community superheroes who are motivated and incentivized to share their knowledge and engage others—and in-house support agents, an open community forum won’t turn into the Wild West; conversations are steered in a productive direction, and more complex needs can be escalated to the right people if needed.
A lasting, always-on self-service resource
The community is also a lasting, always-on resource, serving as an extension of your self-service.
A help center is often the first stop for industrious users in need. While it contains the literal truth about your product and its newest features, it’s realistic to expect customers will be using different versions, have different customizations, and therefore encounter problems that lie in a support gray area. The open dialogue in a community fills this gap, with a bonus: it helps ensure your content stays relevant across different use cases and contexts. The community won’t be shy about letting you know if a self-service article is inaccurate for their use case or doesn’t fully answer the question, which only makes your customer-facing content more helpful. In this way, community members are key partners in helping your business curate self-service content, ensuring it remains relevant for a diverse range of users and others who join the community in the future.
An always-on support channel means customers can post questions and answers on their own time, picking up threads and dropping out of them as needed. They can also tailor their own experiences, asking and responding to as many or as few questions that may fall outside of the realm of traditional support queries. For a grocery delivery service, for example, questions about recipe ideas may not be applicable for support agents. But you may find community members will gladly jump in.