Does your brand offer a community-driven customer experience with online community software?
Gone are the days when we, as consumers, couldn’t take to social media to voice our opinions and experiences. That meant companies could often get away with cutting corners on things like customer experience and support. But now the bar’s been set a lot higher than it used to be, and online community software is all the more important.
Today, we live in a review-driven culture where consumers are the ones in the driver’s seat. Most of us rely on customer reviews and recommendations before we even start looking at feature lists. More than ever, loyalty is built on trust and shaped by what other people have to say about the companies they do business with. That’s why brands like Apple have managed to create cult followings.
By working closely with their communities, brands can also play a part in the conversation and place themselves in the shoes of those who matter most – their customers. When you invest in online community software, you provide your business the tools needed to become a hugely successful, customer-centric brand.
#1. Learn about your customers
Your customers are talking about you, but are you listening?
You’ve probably already heard about social listening tools, and how they can help you get insights about your customers from what they post on social media. But mainstream social channels tend to be noisy and overcrowded, with potentially valuable insights being buried beneath overused memes and cat videos.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Online communities can also serve as online focus groups. Instead of trying to be all things to all people, you can invest in online community software to build a community of like-minded individuals united by a single purpose.
With your brand being on the centre stage, that’s what people will be talking about. A quick glance into your community will reveal interesting information about your customers, such as their needs, desires, and pain points. That’s the sort of intel you can use to improve your product and the customer experience.
#2. Humanise your brand
Are you letting the robots take over?
Technology has changed our lives. But while there’s no denying the benefits of automation and digital platforms, customers are getting tired of being spoken to by annoying bots. From Microsoft’s chatbot going on a racist tirade on Twitter to the tone-deaf scheduled promotions during the Covid-19 pandemic, relying too much on automation is a reputational disaster waiting to happen.
One of the best things about online communities is that they’re about people. The online community software is simply the platform used to make it happen. Especially during times of crisis and uncertainty, people crave meaningful social interaction more than ever before. When they’re facing a challenge, whether something as simple as figuring out which software to buy or seeking a solution to a complicated support query, the last thing they want is generic or irrelevant advice from a clueless robot. More likely, they’ll want to ask a community of real people with real experiences.
Creating an online community of your own creates better communication channels by giving your audience a safe space to interact. This is important, because these communities exist for the benefit of their members. That makes them more authentic, which is a far cry from the self-promotional nature of traditional marketing.
#3. Unlock new revenue streams
Are you tapping into the value of online communities?
While the ability to learn more about your customers and build trust by humanising your brand adds value to your business, your community-building efforts can also help unlock new streams of revenue.
For example, online communities empower social selling, which is the process of developing relationships as part of the sales process. You can sell directly to your community with online shopping carts and payments, instead of customers having to go to a separate app or website.
Online community software is even more important for service-based brands. For example, professional coaches can offer livestreamed training sessions, allowing them to serve clients all over the world. There’s simply no better way to make your services more accessible than by taking them into the digital space. In fact, that’s how Terry the Trainer can now offer on-demand coaching services using our platform, without being restricted to a local audience. You can check out his story here!