2019: The Year of the Customer Community
Our prediction on why 2019 will see customer communities become an integral part of your company’s customer experience strategy.
Each year, the need for a holistic user experience is becoming more and more vital. This upward trend is predicted to continue into 2019 with Gartner reporting that “81% of company leaders predict they’ll compete primarily on customer experience in the near future”. Here at Zoomin, we believe that the customer community will be at the forefront of customer experience strategies in the coming year.
So why create a user community?
Users are always searching for shortcuts, best practices or recommendations on how to use your product better. They don’t enjoy having to work hard for that information. A quick online search of a software product that you use will almost certainly include tips and advice from forums like Quora or Reddit. These platforms are great, but they aren’t designed specifically for your product or with your unique customers in mind.
This is why your community can be a crucial element of your customer’s experience. A user community provides a centralized digital forum where your users go to collaborate, learn and engage with one another. It adds a new dimension to the users’ digital experience where their voices are heard.
There are three main reasons to create a community:
1. User-driven innovation
2. Customer advocacy
3. Customer support
Users often experience your product in ways that you never imagined. By giving them a platform to share these discoveries with other users (and your product managers) you create a situation where everyone benefits. This engagement allows users to discover new ways to get the most out of your product in ways that they had not considered. Through the information from these forums, they are able to drastically improve their experience.
Your product managers can also see how users are using the product in ways that you hadn’t envisioned. By gathering insights from your community, they can create guides for these new use cases and enable your company to take advantage of the insights generated by your users.
This engagement is valuable because it gives the users that share their knowledge an elevated standing as ‘experts’. This can be even further elevated through gamification (a topic worthy of a blog in its own right).
With 74% of buyers conducting the majority of their research online before making a purchase, B2B communities can assist buyers. Your customer community brings trust and authenticity to the buying process by providing an opportunity to learn from existing customers experiences and offer space for community feedback.
Encourage customers that are experts with your product to share their experiences in the community forum. They can create meaningful dialogue with your potential customers and partners. By giving your customers a voice, you empower and engage your product’s biggest advocates.
A customer community is a great way to maximize your support resources through three main methods:
- The wisdom of the crowd – customer answering each other’s questions in forums
- By your support agents providing answers to resolve frequently asked questions.
- Customer Self Service – having all relevant info and documentation at their fingertips.
Frequently Asked Questions
When a question is asked in a forum – this is a great opportunity for your support team to leverage your existing documentation. By integrating your existing documentation into the community, you can attach the relevant articles to the support case. Not only do the attached articles answer the question being asked, but additionally they will be there for all future users who are looking for answers to the same question.
Customers resolve each other’s questions
Customers answers to each other are often able to deflect support cases, which frees up your customer support team up to handle more complex support cases.
Customer Self Service
With Zoomin, you can quickly publish product docs directly into your Salesforce Community Cloud, transforming it into a powerful delivery platform for all product-related content. Users can seamlessly search all content related to your product, to find and view support knowledge articles, community forums, and product documentation, all from within your community.
This offers a new dimension of customer service – higher traffic, more engagement and happier customers.