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Customer Communities Posts

A Simple Guideline for Online Customer Community ROI [Research]

Written by Joshua Paul | on June 5, 2012 at 8:30 AM | 2 minute read

Planning for the return on investment (ROI) on your business's online customer community is one of the most important and elusive exercises in your social business strategy.

I recently detailed a University of Michigan study that found that incremental revenue from customers who joined the organization's online customer community increased by 19% after they joined the community. That same study also had some tips and guidance for companies on ROI expectations and breaking even on their online customer community investment.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

5 Profoundly Helpful Social Business Articles You May Have Missed

Written by Joshua Paul | on May 25, 2012 at 11:14 AM | 2 minute read

Would you like to come back from a few days off with a better understanding of social business than you when you left?

For many in the United States, we are headed into a holiday weekend. Sometimes, time away from the office, coworkers, and customers give us the perspective we need to come up with our best ideas.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

How Online Customer Communities Can Increase Revenue By 19% [Research]

Written by Joshua Paul | on May 16, 2012 at 8:30 AM | 3 minute read

What would your bottom-line look like if your customers increased their spending with your company by 19%?

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

5 Employee Groups That Should Access Your Online Customer Community Daily

Written by Joshua Paul | on April 27, 2012 at 10:11 AM | 3 minute read

Online Communities in Business Are Not Just For Social Media Geeks

Online customer communities, private social networks where customers, partners, and employees are brought together by companies for the success of their customers, are often thought of as the domain of the social media team.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

What is Social Business? A Clear Definition

Written by Joshua Paul | on April 3, 2012 at 10:35 AM | 4 minute read

"Social business" is a white-hot buzzword right now. However, there is little consensus as to what it actually means. In a #socbizchat Twitter chat hosted by online magazine CMSWire last fall, top consultants, executives, and marketers spent over an hour debating the question, "What is Social Business?" without gaining an inch of common understanding.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, Online Community

Beware of the Private Social Networking Checkbox

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 16, 2012 at 8:30 AM | 3 minute read

Having a private online community does not, by itself, breed successful customer or member engagement. Many associations and companies are finding that out the hard way.

An often overlooked success factor is how the organization uses and positions their private social network in their overall customer or membership management strategy. Here are three common approaches.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Member Communities, Online Community Software, Online Community

How to Align Your Online Customer Community With Real Business Goals

Written by Joshua Paul | on February 28, 2012 at 8:30 AM | 2 minute read

Why Does Your Organization Want an Online Member or Customer Community, Anyway?

Online communities, private social networking, social CRM, member engagement, and social business are amazing, awe-inspiring, life-changing, and the new way that organizations do business. Why wouldn't you want these tools and strategies? Now, ask yourself, why DO you want these things?

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

Why Every Company Who Cares About Customer Retention Needs a Community [Data]

Written by Joshua Paul | on February 8, 2012 at 9:15 AM | 3 minute read

I am willing to bet that the question, "how can we find ways to grow?" is echoed through the halls of corporations and membership organizations over 10x more than a call for ideas to keep current customers.

One may be surprised by the impact that losing a customer can have on a business's performance. Not only do the strategy, marketing, and sales hours it took to get that customer to give you their money go down the drain, but there are many other long term consequences of weak customer retention.

This makes customer retention job #1 at any organization. Companies and associations must strive to meet and exceed the expectations of both individuals or business customers. It doesn't generally require large overalls or massive expenditures to engage and retain these customers, but holding onto customers or members is vital towards the stability of any membership organization and corporation. As the statistics below show, going after new customers is much more expensive than investing in holding onto current clients.

4 Important Reasons that Marketing and Customer Care Execs Must Focus On Customer Retention

Reason #1) It costs organizations 5 to 8 times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to retain a current customer.

The revenue that come in from customers is a result of an organization's business development investment. Most often this takes the form of outgoing cash flow focused on sales and marketing. The payday on the investment is only recognized if the customer remains a customer. Sometimes, it can take over a year to reach a break even point.

This means that holding onto every customer or member is vital for the longevity of any company. The cost savings resulting from holding onto customers, rather than having to increase your investment in attracting new customers, affords an organization additional funds to invest elsewhere. (Stat source: Lee Resources, Inc.)

Reason #2) A 2% increase in customer retention is the same as cutting expenses of the organization by 10%.

Profitability and sustainability are top-of-mind for most executive teams. Why not boost profitability in a way that won't kill morale and productivity? Businesses and member organizations can use the extra cash flow from their customer retention strategy to invest in new customer acquisition, expand into new markets, or upgrade current customer engagement systems to further improve the relationship between the company and its customers. (Stat source: Leading on the Edge of Chaos, Emmet Murphy & Mark Murphy)

Reason #3) 73% of customers leave a company because they are not happy with the customer serviced provided.

With the advent of simple social networks, real time support, and easily researchable alternatives, customers' customer service expectations of companies have spiked over the last decade.Companies and membership organizations are turning to online tools to keep customers engaged so they can catch at risk customers sooner and provide a much higher ratio of positive customer experiences to cushion the blow of the occasional frustration that all customers face.

Along with building stronger, more collaborative relationships with customers or members, many organizations are also utilizng social business tools to encourage peer-to-peer support in order to control customer service costs and focus their effort of higher-priority customers. (State source: Harris Interactive)

Reason #4) 91% of customers don't ever return to a company after leaving.

Compound all of the stats above and the fact is, once you lose a customer, they will most likely never do business with you again. This is why maintaining a high level of customer engagement and satisfaction is paramount to the wellbeing of any business or membership organization. (Stat source: Lee Resources, Inc.)

BONUS FACT: In some industries, as a customer or member stays with a given organization, the value of the customer actually increases.

The longer a customer stays with your company, the more likely they are to invest additional time and money with your organization. Customers or members who are just starting off with your company or association are generally more timid. They often only spend the minimum in order to check out the organization and see if it is worthwhile. This makes both engaging new customers and retaining long time customers extremely valuable and must be a top priority for any company and association.

Online Community Takeaway

Online communities and private social networks provide companies and associations with a platform to keep customers or members engaged. Some companies (usually B2C) are comfortable using public social networks as the center of the customer retention efforts, while other organizations choose to launch private online customer communities.

The flexibility of online customer community software allows organizations to reach diverse customer segments and shape their engagement strategy around the social tools and information that are relevant to each customer.

Customer retention relies on your customers finding success with your products and services. From peer-to-peer discussion groups to searchable file libraries to proactive customer service tools, there is no other format that can have a greater impact of your customers finding the answers, people, and advice they need to get results.

Download your free guide to buying and implementing a customer portal.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Customer Retention, Online Community

17 Tips for Planning a Private Social Network for Your Business

Written by Joshua Paul | on December 5, 2011 at 1:49 PM | 2 minute read

Marketers and membership professionals continue to see the value of leveraging their online community to increase revenue and control costs. However, the path of taking a social business strategy from business idea to business impact can be less clear.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

3 Online Community Software Features Your CEO Will Love

Written by Joshua Paul | on November 29, 2011 at 9:12 AM | 2 minute read

Your CEO doesn't care about your social business strategy in the same way that you do. As more organizations moved toward implementing social software to engage prospects and customers in 2011, marketing, customer care, and strategy executives have a lot for which to be thankful.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

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