There are two things every company tries to do whenever they are looking at purchasing a new tool, raise the bottom line by reducing costs, or increase their top line by increasing sales. The main problem we see with people researching community software is a lack of focus in what they want the product to do, and what business objectives they want to accomplish. Before moving forward with a solution, you need to ask yourself what your goals are, and can this tool help me accomplish those goals?
Online communities can help your company build stronger brand awareness, nurture deeper relationships with your customers, relieve pressure on your employees, validate product roadmaps and gain new business insight necessary to adapt to changing markets.
Baby Boomers, once America’s largest generation, have been surpassed by millennials, also known as Gen Y. With this increase in numbers comes more purchasing power. According to Ad Age, millennials are expected to collectively spend more than $200 billion annually beginning in 2017 and $10 trillion in their lifetimes. Millennials are also increasingly becoming decision-makers at major corporations – the businesses your company wants as customers.
In the age of the digital customer, delivering differentiated customer service has become a strategic imperative. 78% of customers have ended a business relationship because of bad customer service. It is also estimated that it costs a company six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. And that’s just the beginning – there are plenty of reasons why companies should invest in strong customer service.
Across all age groups, self-service support is becoming increasingly popular. Web and mobile self-service interactions are rapidly overtaking all other channels. Online community use among US adults jumped from 31% in 2012 to 56% in 2015. Why? Because customers expect companies to value their time and provide accurate, relevant, and complete answers to questions upon first contact.
70% of customers prefer using a company’s website to get answers to their questions over phone or email. However, a survey included in the book The Effortless Experience and Customer Experience 3.0 showed customers struggle with two main issues related to self-service support: they “couldn’t find the answer” and “instructions weren’t clear enough.”
Nothing is scarier than a terrible customer support experience. Customer frustration, coupled with the lack of and resources, can tarnish your brand or organization’s reputation, send customers running for the door, and negatively impact your bottom line.
Great customer service is about more than fixing problems; it’s about listening to what your customers are saying and understanding their needs, wants and frustrations. Knowledge-Driven Support (KDS) accomplishes this goal by combining self-service resources with an online community to nurture deeper relationships with customers.
An online community can be the perfect outlet for transforming customer support into a powerful and engaging experience. Online communities provide efficient support through improved customer knowledge; people can resolve problems at their own speed and learn as much or as little as they want. Companies can pre-populate communities with strong content to address frequently asked questions. Further, customers can connect with others based on similar interests, such as product inquiries or support issues – and even route questions to experts for immediate answers.