Why Building a Customer Community is Important
A prime focus for many of our organizations is getting more leads. But, what many of us fail to see is that catering to our current customers is equally as important when it comes to growing our business. After all, this group already believes in what we’re selling, and there’s huge potential for ROI if you can encourage them to stay and grow with your company. Stats even show that a 5% improvement in customer retention can result in a profit increase between 25% to 95%. So there’s that for motivation.
But how exactly do you ensure customer satisfaction and get results? One very important way to engage customers, that many businesses tend to ignore, is building a customer community. This can exist as a dedicated space where customers can interact with you and with each other such as a LinkedIn Group, customer portal or message board. But less defined community spaces, such as social media, can also be very effective. Creating a place dedicated to customers provides an avenue for them to ask questions, share tips and provide you with feedback.
But, that’s just one key aspect of what a customer community can do for you. Establishing a customer space can enable you to better engage them, improve retention and help them continuously see results using your product or service, while allowing you to grow your business as well. Today we’re summing up a few other benefits that building a customer community can have on your overall marketing and business efforts.
Create Opportunities to Upsell and Cross-Sell
One of the main benefits of building a customer community is that it results in happier customers. Having a space dedicated to your current customers lets them know that they’re still at the top of your mind even after a deal is closed, and that encourages them to choose you time and time again. And, in turn, this continued relationship offers you an opportunity to help them reassess their needs and find opportunities to grow.
One way you can do that is by being active within your customer community. Whenever you see a customer pose a topic or question that can be solved by upselling or cross-selling, make sure to reach out and let them know that you’d like to chat more about their options. You can also offer them relevant content, such as videos or eBooks, so they can begin to become more informed before one of your representatives reaches out for a conversation.
Better yet, you can let your current customers do the talking whenever possible. Your customer community should be a space where your customers can learn about the benefit of upgrading their current package, or adding new services or features through advice and real-life examples from their peers. If you build a strong community and encourage engagement, your customers will jump at the chance to chime in and offer their expertise and thoughts whenever possible.
Encourage Customers to Connect With and Help Each Other
This is particularly important if you offer a product such as software. As the primary users of your product, sometimes your customers can be your greatest resource to each other. Therefore, a customer space is a great way for customers to share how they’re using your product or service in a unique way to get the results they want.
And experts tend to agree that communities can be a solution for providing customers with the answers they need. In this article discussing how customers are moving away from calling customer service reps, Forrester recognizes that it can be hard for companies to produce enough content to answer all of their questions and needs. Instead, Forrester suggests that one of the ways to respond to the demand for excellent and quick customer service is by guiding customers to question-and-answer threads featuring tips generated by their peers.
By doing this, you can avoid having customers call your support team while in panic mode by providing them a space where they can interact with customers that have dealt with similar problems.
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Interact with Customers and Get Their Feedback
A huge part of keeping customers happy over time is anticipating what they want and being able to quickly respond to those needs. And nobody knows what your customers need better than your customers themselves. So if you’re looking for a way to expand business, innovate your product or service and improve overall customer satisfaction, your customer community is a great place to turn to.
Are you not sure how to get your customers feedback? It’s as simple as initiating a thread updating your customers on proposed updates and asking for their opinions. Or you can chime in on existing threads and ask customers to fill out a survey. And, if you have time, you can also browse through threads to make note of trends in questions or topics that interest your customers.
Current Customers Can Be Your Best Ambassadors
A customer community is a great place to get your customers talking about how great you are, before they go out and spread the word to their peers. Keep an eye out for customers who are seeing great results and love raving about you. Reach out to them to collaborate on a success story that you can push out to both current customers and leads, so each group can see the benefits of doing business with you.