Today’s consumer is becoming more and more self-sufficient.  When they require information, they go out looking for it.  If your company doesn’t currently provide an Online Customer Community, your customers are taking one or more of the following actions when they need information:

  • Online searches – Using a search engine will almost certainly and immediately introduce your competitors.
  • Visiting your website – Most websites are designed to drive new engagements rather than retain current customers so the excess of high-level information may be frustrating for someone that has a more in-depth question or issue.
  • Interacting with your Support team – Your team is full of experts and they’ve heard many of the same issues countless times, but they come from an internal perspective. Even with the best intentions, they may put your customer into a box and try to provide a solution that doesn’t exactly fit.
  • Scouring your Help Site – Even the best documentation is created with thoughtful intentions but is then immediately static.  Updates may be slow, it could be difficult to search, and it’s not custom-tailored in any way.  Help Sites are excellent for assisting with onboarding or how to use your product, but they fall short when you get into more situation-specific issues.

So, how would this experience improve with an Online Customer Community?

  • Search-Give your customers the ability to join your fully-branded, secure online Community and easily search within the Community for any information they seek.
  • Collaborate-Customers can ask explicit questions or start conversations in Forums, and organize or join Groups based on common interests, issues, or industries.  Notifications and Mobile capabilities keep people engaged from wherever they are.
  • Support-Allow your customers to connect directly with other customers to share best practices and provide assistance.  Expand your expert Support team to include the real-life people who have already survived a particular issue or figured out a time-saving workaround.
  • Inform-Your company can understand and directly oversee the content that your customers consume.  Utilize intuitive analytics to proactively provide the information you know they need and want them to be able to most easily find.  Allow them to rely on your Community for their knowledge and reduce their need to seek answers from anywhere else.

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