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3 Reasons to Bring Customers' Voices Together with an Online Community

Written by Hunter Montgomery | on April 28, 2015 at 10:00 AM

The ultimate question: how do we make our customers happy?

Whether it's direct feedback, getting to know them better or learning how they interact with products, we want to hear from them. This voice of the customer encompasses someone's experiences along the journey. As an organization, how can you better understand the wants, needs and changes that customers go through, and ultimately should dictate for your products or services?

Customers can be your biggest advocates, so you should be letting them do most of the talking. According to online surveys, customer reviews are trusted 12 times more than a marketing piece from an organization. The importance of unfiltered interactions extends past the research phase. A recent study completed by Oracle's RightNow Technologies indicated 9 out of 10 consumers said they would pay more to ensure a superior customer experience. Gone are the days of prospect and customer interactions being controlled by marketing and support departments.

Organizations can't filter or ignore these voices, nor should they. Online communities can be your gateway. They streamline support and act as the first line of defense for those customer success teams. Online communities can solve your customer experience woes.

We consider this list our top three for community benefits:

  1. Customer Happiness. It takes more than just a one-and-done survey tool to figure out why customers stick around. By offering the means to communicate with one another and provide unbiased feedback, an organization will see their customers shift from basic consumer to brand advocate.
  2. Product Enhancements. Product upgrades and changes are often driven by the voice of the customer. What else do they want for their product and its capabilities? Put co-creation into practice and improve products with your customers, whether it's an informal forum or larger product advisory council.
  3. Meaningful Interactions. The best feature of a customer community is simply a platform to voice needs and wants at any time. Leverage these online conversations with other survey tools or tactics, such as Net Promoter Score surveys, which customer support and sales teams alike can use to better understand with whom they're interacting.

Harness activity that takes place online, by providing a trustworthy space for customers to speak their minds and crowd-source useful content. Opinions, discussions, blogs and more will become the most useful and popular collateral, but also the preferred content for customers to share. What resources and programs are bringing your customers' voices together?

Topics: Customer Communities, Customer Experience, Customer Advocacy, Online Community

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