How a Strong Community Builds a Better Customer Experience

How a Strong Community Builds a Better Customer Experience

It’s no secret that unhappy customers want to be heard. The success of a product or service is at the mercy of a customer’s experience. An unhappy customer has incredible power, and their bad reviews and negativity can be damaging. So, how do companies take these unhappy customers and turn them from hater to advocater? They leverage their community. Happy customers, super users, champions, promoters - these people are the most powerful customer success tool you have.
Here are five ways a community helps create a better customer experience:

1. Word of Mouth - The most powerful marketing tool

We call it customer to customer (C2C). There’s no one people trust more than someone they trust. Right? Building a customer success community is about listening to the customer’s voice, and about building a community in which that voice is heard. A customer’s experience is enhanced when users are given the opportunity to discuss challenges, celebrate success, and learn from each other. By allowing them to experience the brand in new and creative ways, more detractors become promoters, more unhappy customers become happy ones, and you turn those haters into advocaters.

2. Self Sustaining Communities

It’s like watching your child head off to college or seeing a baby bird take its first flight. So much time, money, and energy have been invested in this community, and there comes a time when mama bird has to take a step back and watch the community thrive. There’s little better for a company than a self-sustaining customer community. Members are helping and supporting each other, answering questions in forums, posting discussion topics, voluntarily meeting up in-person. Why? Because they want to see each other succeed. They want to see the community succeed.

It’s these types of organic connections that a brand can leverage when it comes to community building. Passionate customers are empowered to contribute, and the community is the place for them to shine. These super members are the first to fill out surveys, provide feedback, and help with user-testing. This then becomes valuable data to use to continue boosting the customer experience.

3. Discussion Boards, Forums, and Meetups!

There are many forms a community can take - forums, discussions boards, Facebook groups, Slack Workspaces, in person events and meetups, and more. The community members will help determine which format works best for them. Many companies use a combination of both on and offline spaces in order for their members to get exactly what they need. The more resources community members have, the more supported they feel. The more supported they feel, the happier they are. Happy customers. Isn’t that the goal?

4. Trust and Transparency

These days, consumers are more with it than they ever have been. No longer can the company tell the consumer what they want or need. No longer can the consumer be fooled by the promises companies make. Customers want to connect on a more personal level with the brands they love. They want to feel like they are a part of the growth and success, and they want to know about the challenges and hardships. Transparency has always been the key to good customer success, and by building a community, the company has the opportunity to be transparent with its users, and build trust with them.

5. As an additional support offering

There are many ways a customer can connect with a customer success team. Email, live chat, phone support, the list goes on. A community can be a major addition to this list. Online communities have room for discussion boards and forums to have questions answered quickly and wholly by the company or other community members, but what about in person communities? Some brands host in person user events to onboard new customers and introduce them to the company’s culture. Asana, for example, has in person user groups open to all their customers. These user groups allow Asana to leverage the power of in person connections and give their customers, seasoned and new, yet another support resource. Read more about Asana's in person events community!

What to read next:

Gainsight is the customer success (CS) company. The Pulse Local Program allows customer success managers to plug into the local community of their peers, and through that local community, connect with a global network of chapters. Read How Gainsight Created a New Category with Community.

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