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Customer Communities Posts

How We Know the 90-9-1 Rule for Online Community Engagement is Officially Outdated

Written by Heather McNair on June 29, 2020 at 3:30 PM | 4 minute read

A rule about online engagement has floated around the internet for a while, called the Rule of Participation Inequality, or the 90-9-1 Rule. The rule goes something like this:

User participation in any online internet community generally follows the 90-9-1 rule:

  • 90% of community members are lurkers who read or observe, but don't contribute
  • 9% of community members edit or respond to content but don't create content of their own
  • 1% of community members create new content

For anyone new to community management, this is a discouraging benchmark. If active participation is this low, what’s the point of creating an online community at all?

For organizations who’ve already launched an online community and don’t see high engagement, this rule might lead them to accept it’s the norm.

But we see communities generating impressive results for their organizations every day. To do that, a community needs to have solid engagement. The 90-9-1 rule just doesn’t align to that.

We decided it was time to re-look at the data so that we could have accurate expectations for engagement levels today.

Here's a sneak peak of what we found.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Engagement, Member Engagement, Online Community

Online Communities in 2020: Unlocking the Power of Community with Data

Written by Heather McNair on June 17, 2020 at 11:24 AM | 3 minute read

Heather is Higher Logic’s Chief Community Officer. She was the first to hold the position at Higher Logic and one of the earliest to hold the title in the industry.

I’ve been involved in community management for around 13 years. When I started, I didn’t even know it was a profession, and I was flying solo.

I think a lot of us started that way in the early years.

The techniques that we developed back then and refined over the years were based on gut instinct, combined with marketing techniques, behavioral psychology, and trial and error.

We accomplished many amazing things this way, but fortunately, we now have data that proves what we’ve always known: What we’re doing is worthwhile.

The Community Roundtable’s annual report, the State of Community Management, is one of the biggest data sources grounding the community industry and the community management profession.

Their research helps us power the things we do with data-driven decisions and enables organizations to feel confident about adopting communities.

And what does the data show? Change is happening because of communities.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Associations, Member Retention, Customer Engagement, User Group Management, Customer Retention, Member Engagement, Customer Support, Customer Success, Online Community, B2B

Online Communities in 2020: 28 Key Facts + Statistics to Know

Written by Elizabeth Bell on June 5, 2020 at 10:45 AM | 6 minute read

Every year, The Community Roundtable releases the State of Community Management Report. It’s always filled with insightful analysis on how online communities, both internal and external, are making a difference. 

This year is no different.

2020's report, The State of Community Management: Changing the Way the World Works, highlights three big themes:

  1. Advanced communities create generative value.
  2. External communities elevate the customer experience.
  3. Internal communities reveal untapped potential.

We pulled out 28 stats from this year's report that illuminate big community topics. 

But before we dive into those stats and facts, don’t miss out: The Community Roundtable provides incredibly helpful analysis on three trends in the report, along with specific recommendations you can apply at your organization, all available in the full report below.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, Member Communities, Customer Engagement, Member Engagement, Online Community

Intro to Customer Communities: 3 Ways a Branded Online Destination Builds Your Business

Written by Elizabeth Bell on May 28, 2020 at 11:03 AM | 5 minute read

Customer communities – what do they do for your business, really? Is a community a nice-to-have or a must-have?  

Michael Torok and Chris Detzel lead community efforts at their SaaS companies, Delphix and Imperva, respectively. 

They joined us to share why they began their communities, and the benefits they believe community will create for their customers and their organization.

We’re sharing those big ways a branded community benefits your customers and your organization.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, User Group Management, Customer Retention, Customer Support, Customer Success, Online Community, B2B

Our Customer Reviews Make Higher Logic a G2 Leader in Online Community Management

Written by Kevin Alansky | on May 11, 2020 at 12:18 PM | 5 minute read

G2, the leading B2B technology review platform, released their Spring 2020 Grid Report, and we are excited to announce that we’ve been named a Leader in Online Community Management for the 4th consecutive quarter.

This is a huge honor for us, as this ranking is based on reviews directly from our customers.

The backing of G2 and our customers proves we’re achieving our mission: Making organizations successful by bringing them closer to their customers through meaningful interactions and powerful insights.

This review from one of our customers says it all: “We've been on board with Higher Logic for 3 years now. I feel like it has just continued to improve and grow every year. I'm excited to continue expanding our use of all the Higher Logic software. The staff/support is extremely responsive and wants to make this a great experience for all their customers.”

Thank you to our customers who have shared their experiences to help us be recognized.

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Topics: Community Platforms & Updates, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Online Community Software, Online Community, Product News

Why Every SaaS Company Needs a Branded Customer Community

Written by Elizabeth Bell on May 6, 2020 at 2:18 PM | 3 minute read

Business-to-business software as a service (SaaS) companies are rushing to dedicate resources and specific teams to improve the customer experience (CX). In fact, 80% of customer success teams have grown in the last year (Totango).

The problem is, customer experience issues usually don’t lie just in one department, like sales, or product.

If you do a quick search on LinkedIn to find the titles of people involved in customer experience, you’ll find a range of departments and titles, speaking to this unique problem: CX teams have to address challenges that come from across the company, and it’s not often clear where to start.

Your team of customer success managers (CSMs) and support agents could be the hardest working, most personable people ever, and your customers may still be unhappy. The point is, it’s often a mixture of departments and processes that come together to create a poor or great customer experience.

With such complex challenges, it can be a painstaking task to try to create a plan of action or adopt new tools to support your customers better.

But one approach to solving this company-wide challenge is to pursue customer engagement, by connecting your customers to each other and to you in an online community.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Experience, Customer Retention, Customer Success, Customer Advocacy, Online Community, B2B

7 Tips for Engaging Your Audience with a Virtual Event Community

Written by Kaila Timmons on May 1, 2020 at 8:12 AM | 5 minute read

During the plethora of free webinars and events happening right now, how can you help your virtual event stand out from the crowd?

We’ve heard a lot about how difficult it is to keep people engaged when they’re participating at their desks. It’s probably even harder when they’re working from home, due to all the distractions.

To counter this, try adding an unexpected element: community engagement.

An event community can help you create that sense of connection and engagement that you miss by not being in person.

But it’s not just “feel-good” results. Engagement helps you accomplish your larger goals for the virtual event.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Engagement, Member Engagement, Collaboration Tools, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Events

Life After Jive-x: Choosing a New Home for Your Customer Community

Written by Billy Volpone on April 9, 2020 at 3:32 PM | 6 minute read

If you’re a Jive-x customer, you know Khoros has given your external community platform an official end-of-life date: December 2020.

This announcement got me thinking about my time at Jive Software and my transition to Higher Logic. I started at Jive in 2007 when the platform was still known as “ClearspaceX.” After Jive was acquired and things started changing, I knew I wanted to continue building customer communities that would make a difference for organizations and their members, but where to do it?

I joined Higher Logic because I saw (and see) in them a company who is passionate about community networks and understands the power of engagement to transform businesses and the customer experience.

As you decide on a new platform for your customer community, I think your journey will mirror mine. One of the most important questions I asked, and that you should ask too, is whether the vendor shares your vision for how a customer community should be defined and what it could potentially become.

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Topics: Engagement, Customer Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Online Community Software, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Collaboration Tools, User Group Software, Customer Success, Online Community, B2B

Run Your Virtual Event with Confidence: Tips for a Great Show

Written by Gina Vavra on March 19, 2020 at 12:56 PM | 6 minute read

As COVID-19 forces events from in-person to virtual, the first and most essential thing is a mindset shift: Going digital was not your plan, but it’s your chance to make the most of a bad situation.

While you take a step back and re-orient yourself to running a virtual event, you have some freedom to re-envision what your event will look like. Your virtual conference can still be meaningful and engaging for your audience.

Speaking of your audience, they’re craving connection and support right about now. Your event can be one of the things that meets that need.

Let’s refocus together.

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Topics: Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Online Community Software, Customer Engagement, Member Engagement, Online Community, Events

Why a Customer Community Should be Central to Your Customer Experience

Written by Elizabeth Bell on March 17, 2020 at 10:57 AM | 4 minute read

If you’re trying to improve the customer experience, start by looking at whether your digital customer experience is disjointed.

As a SaaS provider or B2B company, “digital” might be the only way a customer interacts with you. If all they experience is disconnected, frustrating processes where they have to login multiple times and go to multiple systems in order to get their problem answered, you’re not delivering an optimal experience. 

One approach to fixing the problem is to centralize the customer experience around a customer community.

A customer community creates a space where customers can connect with you, connect with each other, and find what they need for success.

Your customer community should be a digital hub; a place where customers can access everything they need regarding your company or product during every stage of the customer lifecycle.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Support, Customer Success, Online Community, B2B

Are You Facing These 3 Community Building Challenges?

Written by Morghan Cope on February 27, 2020 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

Communities are becoming a staple for healthy organizations to reach and interact with their customers and members, but they can be hard to navigate.

To help guide your community building efforts, two of our 2020 Community Movers + Shakers sat down for a webinar to share advice in response big community challenges that attendees were facing.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Online Community, B2B

7 Hard Questions to Evaluate Your Digital Customer Experience

Written by Elizabeth Bell on February 21, 2020 at 8:45 AM | 5 minute read

The hard truth: Your digital customer experience may be disjointed. Forrester Research writes, “Digital experience delivery is a business-critical obligation.” 

For many companies today, especially B2B or SaaS companies, the digital customer experience is the customer experience. Your customers likely interact with you almost entirely online (as they do things like submit support tickets, tag your business profiles on social media, or visit your website), making evaluating your customers’ digital experience a key step on the road to improving it.

You might think your digital customer experience is pretty good. But you won’t know until you take a closer look. Asking these seven questions will help you assess and improve the state of your digital customer experience.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Retention, Customer Support, Customer Success, Online Community, B2B

Introducing the 2020 Community Movers + Shakers

Written by Elizabeth Bell on January 27, 2020 at 12:48 PM | 13 minute read

Online communities are powerful. Not only are they complex solutions for complex organizational problems, but communities can create real lasting friendships, powerful professional connections, and loyal brand advocates.

Today, we’re recognizing 20 influential people for their work in the online community industry.

Our 2020 Community Movers + Shakers are champions of communities, who see the value in the community movement, and we wanted to highlight, honor, and share the work of their creative and innovative minds with the rest of the industry.

Because online communities can transform any organization, you’ll see a range of industries. Because real change can start at any level of an organization, you’ll see a range of titles.

Without further ado, we’ll introduce the people you’ve been waiting to meet: Our 2020 Community Movers + Shakers.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Member Communities, User Group Communities, Associations, Online Community, Company News

7 Situations Where Customer Communities Improve Customer Experience

Written by Elizabeth Bell on January 3, 2020 at 9:15 AM | 5 minute read

When executed with proper planning and resources, a customer community can have a tangible impact on key business performance indicators, including ticket deflection, revenue generation, and customer satisfaction.

According to Aberdeen Research, firms with online communities:

  • Enjoy 5.4x greater annual increase in customer satisfaction rates
  • Achieve 41% greater average customer profit margin
  • Are 2x more likely to have a formal strategy to encourage loyal customers to become brand advocates
  • Improve (decrease) support costs by 32.9% year-over-year
  • Grow customer retention rates by 15% year-over-year

When your online community also integrates with key tools, like your CRM, ticketing system, and federated search (such as Salesforce, Zendesk, and Coveo), your customer community can become a one-stop shop for your customers.

Check out seven situations where an online customer community can be used as a primary tool to improve the customer experience at your company.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Support, Customer Success, Customer Advocacy, Online Community, Integration

What 5 Companies with the Best Customer Experience Can Teach Us

Written by Elizabeth Bell on December 27, 2019 at 8:30 AM | 8 minute read

Each year, the CX Network surveys customer experience professionals, solution providers, and industry experts on customer experience trends in the Global State of Customer Experience 2019. They ask respondents which companies they think have the best customer experience, and this year, these five business-to-consumer (B2C) companies rose to the top:

  • Disney
  • Apple
  • Uber
  • Amazon
  • Zappos

These B2C examples provide critical examples for business-to-business (B2B) companies to learn from and apply as we try to transform our organizations to become more customer-centric.

As companies that sell to businesses, rather than to consumers, it’s often hard to make connections between B2B and B2C companies. We play a whole different ball game.

But although our sales cycles often require buy-in across departments and take six-plus months, our customers are still people. And although our customer support and success processes are convoluted and multi-step, we can still use the same principles to transform our organizations to be more customer-centric.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Support, Customer Success, Online Community, B2B

3 Ways This SaaS Company is Humanizing Its Brand and CX with a Customer Community

Written by Elizabeth Bell on December 12, 2019 at 1:45 PM | 6 minute read

Have you had a recent brand interaction that impressed you? Maybe a company answered your support question quickly or accommodated you in a way that made you feel seen and appreciated. These experiences stand out to us, because too often, human, relatable customer experiences are rare.

For example, remember the video of the West Jet airline steward that went viral? He made his customers laugh, and they actually paid attention to the safety demonstration (a feat in and of itself). People all over the internet loved seeing him make a human connection with his customers. (Here’s the clip if you didn’t see it.)

For companies in the B2B space, especially in software or tech, we don’t always have the luxury of interacting in-person like this with our customers. Our customers often come to us with complaints or questions over social media, email, or phone, and we try our best to make a human connection through those channels. 

But what if you could create a place where your customers could engage with your other customers and your staff, 24/7?

That would certainly be a start toward improving the customer experience.

Genesys, a SaaS customer experience platform, is doing this through their online community (powered by Higher Logic).

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Support, Collaboration Tools, Online Community

5 Tips for Staying Sane During Your Online Community System Migration

Written by Elizabeth Bell on December 6, 2019 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

Most of us hate moving. It means hassle, stress, PACKING, money, and time, but it’s one of those things you just have to do sometimes. And in the end, it’s usually worth it for a bigger space, a better yard, a faster commute, and more bathrooms.

It’s the same way when you’re planning a system migration, especially when it’s a software platform you’ve invested a lot into, like your online community.

Just remember that moving your online community to get it right is totally worth it. According to Aberdeen Research, firms with online communities:

  • Enjoy 5.4 times greater annual increase in customer satisfaction rates.
  • Achieve 41% greater average customer profit margin
  • Are 2 times more likely to have a formal strategy to encourage loyal customers to become brand advocates
  • Improve (decrease) support costs by 32.9% year-over-year
  • Grow customer retention rates by 15% year-over-year

Since migrating your online community to a new community platform vendor is a big commitment, I’m sure you’ve carefully considered the change. As you project manage the migration, rely on these tips to guide you (and preserve your sanity) as you progress.

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Topics: Community Platforms & Updates, Online Community Management, Customer Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Online Community Software, User Group Management, User Group Software, Online Community

12 Examples of Thriving Communities for Online Community Builders to Learn From

Written by Elizabeth Bell on December 2, 2019 at 12:07 PM | 7 minute read

We’re always talking about building community and how engaged communities can have an undeniable impact on our organizations. However, sometimes the concepts behind an online community can feel a bit abstract. 

Aren’t communities built in person? How can an army of strangers online make a customer feel seen? 

To make the idea of an online community and its benefits more concrete, we used our internal employee community to crowdsource 12 of our favorite examples of thriving communities around the web. 

These examples can help us answer the question: What really makes a community a community?

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Engagement, Member Engagement, Online Community

How to Use Customer Engagement Data to Identify New Sales Opportunities

Written by Ryan Turcotte on October 10, 2019 at 2:00 PM | 6 minute read

Customer upsell and cross-sell is a huge revenue opportunity for subscription-based software businesses, but many sales teams tasked with account expansion face a similar problem: It’s not always easy to tell which customers are ready for an upsell or cross-sell pitch, and which ones you should continue to nurture. 

Determining where each customer is in their (ideally) lifelong journey with your company can be challenging, and just like new-customer acquisition, trying to make a pitch or close a deal without first segmenting customers will decrease your effectiveness.

But don’t worry: there’s something to look forward to in the world of customer expansion. In today’s business climate, we have access to more data on existing customers than ever before. You can follow your customer’s digital footprint to find qualified growth opportunities within your customer base.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Engagement, Online Community

3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Customer Effort Score (CES) with Online Community

Written by Elizabeth Bell on September 26, 2019 at 11:55 AM | 4 minute read

The Net Promotor Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) score, and the Customer Effort Score (CES) are the current trifecta of tools for measuring the customer experience. Together, each survey type provides a valuable, unique perspective on how your customers feel about their customer experience.

The Customer Effort Score is the newest of these survey tools and is gaining popularity as companies and customer experience experts uncover more of its value.

What exactly does the Customer Effort Score measure, and why does it matter?

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Experience, Customer Support, User Group Software, Customer Success, Online Community

Customer Retention: 7 Signs to Help You Identify At-Risk Customers

Written by Calista Rollogas | on September 12, 2019 at 9:55 AM | 6 minute read

Many customer success teams are short on time and understaffed. Maybe you’re even a team of one. In an ideal world, every account would get the same amount of time, but that’s not always possible. It’s imperative to prioritize your time and your customer list, especially when a customer might be at risk for churn.   

Fortunately, we’ve identified seven key areas where you can watch for customer churn, and the types of behavior that signify they’re at risk. These indicators will help you identify areas where you can step in before a customer doesn’t renew.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Retention, Customer Support, Customer Success, Online Community

Reduce Customer Support Costs the Community Way

Written by Elizabeth Bell on September 5, 2019 at 9:30 AM | 4 minute read

Do you want to make customer support more convenient for your customers?

And reduce your support costs?

Well, we’ll let you in on customer support’s best-kept secret: your own customers.

Your customers are a wealth of knowledge about your product or service. They ask your support team questions that other customers may have already asked and gotten answers to. So why not create a space where they can search for answers and share knowledge, instead of sending them straight to a support ticket queue?

The benefits of connecting your customers in an online community are vast and varied. You might see improved brand awareness or customer loyalty. You will gain valuable insight into your product.

But one area where communities are particularly effective is reducing customer support costs.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Experience, Customer Support, Customer Advocacy, Online Community

Build Your Customer Journey Map with 7 Community Touchpoints

Written by Elizabeth Bell on August 29, 2019 at 10:15 AM | 5 minute read

A great customer experience is all about delighting your customer by making them successful. After your customers complete the buyer’s journey and become customers, they enter the post-sale customer journey, or the “delight” phase.

For many software as a service (SaaS) companies, the delight phase is shared across multiple teams. For example, your customer success, support, product management, implementation, and customer marketing teams may all have a hand in influencing the customer journey.

You may have a customer journey map – an agreed-on, cross-departmental plan for how you will support customers throughout their experience with you, with the goal of delighting them and creating loyal brand advocates.

So where do online communities come in?

An online community, besides being the next wave of customer engagement, is the cross-functional tool or Swiss Army knife you need to support each step of your customer journey.

Learn how to build your customer journey map with these seven online community touchpoints.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Experience, Customer Retention, Customer Support, Customer Success, Customer Advocacy, Online Community

4 Reasons Great Customer Experience Makes a Difference in Your Revenue

Written by Elizabeth Bell on August 22, 2019 at 9:45 AM | 5 minute read

Everybody’s talking about how to improve the customer experience (or CX) these days, but if better customer experience doesn’t translate into dollar signs for your revenue growth, then is the effort even worth it? Maybe focusing on customer experience is just a feel-good idea. 

For quality answers to these concerns, we’ll defer to data from Qualtrics XM Institute’s study, ROI of Customer Experience, 2018. They analyzed feedback from 10,000 U.S. customers and used CX scores from the 2018 Temkin Experience Ratings, which analyzed 318 companies across 20 industries.

They used this data to estimate how a modest improvement in customer experience would impact the revenue of a typical $1 billion company across 20 industries.

Their top finding puts a dollar value on customer experience:

"On average, companies can gain $775 million over three years. Software companies stand to earn the most ($1 billion over three years), while utilities stand to earn the least ($476 million over three years)."

So is customer experience worth the expense? This data suggests a resounding “yes,” that even a modest improvement in customer experience could change things big time for companies.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Experience, Customer Retention, Customer Success, Customer Advocacy, Online Community

How to Give Your Customer Success Team Superpowers

Written by Calista Rollogas | on August 8, 2019 at 9:45 AM | 7 minute read

Is your customer success team burnt out? How about stressed? If the answer is yes, I’m not surprised. With recent emphasis on customer success programs and the rise in rapidly scaling tech companies, customer success teams are often strapped for resources and time.

Obviously, burnt-out customer success teams digging through disparate data sources and patching resources together for customers isn’t ideal.

These issues are roadblocks to your customer success team’s ultimate goal of improving customer satisfaction and growing your revenue. But how can you get past these roadblocks to activate your customer success team’s success?

It comes down to connecting your customers online.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Retention, Customer Support, Customer Success, Customer Advocacy, Online Community, Integration

Creating a Great B2B Customer Case Study: 16 Tips for Marketing + Sales Enablement

Written by Elizabeth Bell on July 25, 2019 at 11:17 AM | 8 minute read

Quantifiable, well-presented customer case studies are how business-to-business (B2B) companies prove their solution works. And what does a great B2B case study come down to? A compelling customer story that demonstrates the success of your product or service, and makes others want to buy.

It’s no secret that consumers rely heavily on reviews, and buyers of enterprise software or other services are the same:

  • Prospects view case studies before requesting demos
  • Sales teams rely on case studies to support and close deals
  • Executives use case studies to prove to investors that your company’s product works

So, when customers will vouch for your company and back up your claims with numbers, that’s gold.

But now we get to the reality, which is that finding and producing effective B2B customer case studies is challenging for marketing teams. Why? Customers are busy, they might be unhappy with your company, or they simply might not be ready to share their story. Often, case study requests end in some form of “no” or a non-answer.

However, great case studies can be created! We’re here to help customers marketers rise to the top with 16 case study tips, organized by each stage in the case study process.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Advocacy, Online Community

What is Net Negative Churn? 4 Strategies to Grow Your Revenue

Written by Elizabeth Bell on July 10, 2019 at 1:22 PM | 5 minute read

Even the greatest companies out there are bound to lose a customer once in a while. It can be hard to pinpoint a single reason that your customers stay with you or leave. However, if there's one thing we know for sure, it's this: change leads to churn, especially in the SaaS world.

When services or products evolve, your new offerings aren’t always going to be the right fit for all your customers. Customer churn simply comes with the territory of doing business.

Since we know at least some churn is a given, is there any way for businesses to offset these costs? 

This is where net negative churn comes in. Although the wording can be confusing (isn’t churn already negative?), this metric is actually an effective growth strategy to help you counteract churn and increase overall revenue.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Experience, Customer Retention, Customer Success, Online Community

A New Perspective on Negative Feedback in Your Customer Community

Written by Shannon Emery on July 2, 2019 at 1:01 PM | 7 minute read

What if we build an online community and customers just use it to say bad things about us 

Any company adopting an online community has had this fear. Opening your community to your customers, and even prospects, can feel like you’re handing them pitchforks to use against you. It’s scary to think they might be right outside your digital door ready to attack.  

However, I’m here to give you a different perspective. 

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Topics: Customer Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Support, Customer Success, Online Community

2019 State of Community Management: What Now? 5 Stats with Action Items for Executive Stakeholders + Community Leaders

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on June 26, 2019 at 1:08 PM | 5 minute read

The data published in The Community Roundtable’s 10th Annual State of Community Management report was collected from 325 community programs between January and March 2019. ICYMI: We shared a collection of 39 nitty-gritty stats from the report in our first blog recap.

Communities are change agents, there’s no doubt about it. The 2019 State of Community Management report reveals that communities are transforming organizations in fascinating (and profitable) ways. Program outcomes can be connected to a variety of complex business objectives like customer retention, innovation, and culture change.

Because communities are complex, adaptive systems, they have the ability to address a variety of complex problems with a multitude of different solutions.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, Member Communities, Online Community Software, Customer Retention, Customer Success, Online Community

From Stagnant to Stand-Out: 3 Strategies to Differentiate Your Customer Experience

Written by Kate Zimmerman | on June 19, 2019 at 11:04 AM | 4 minute read

Customer experience executives from around the world gathered in New York last week to receive some disappointing news from Forrester Research at the Forrester CX NYC Conference. Despite investments of $56 billion last year, customer experience index scores remained stagnant for the second year in a row.

Thankfully, the mood was far from despair. To combat the problem, many organizations are looking at ways to deliver a better customer experience and differentiate themselves in the market.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Success, Customer Advocacy, Online Community

39 Online Community Stats You Should Know From 2019

Written by Elizabeth Bell on June 13, 2019 at 8:58 AM | 6 minute read

Check out 2020 online community stats here

The Community Roundtable annually releases The State of Community Management Report, and it’s chock-full of timely online community stats to help inform your strategies in the year ahead.

Community is increasingly recognized as a valuable and effective way to create complex organizational change, and The Community Roundtable’s research has backed up and lead that effort by finding hard data and facts.

We’ve pulled out 39 of our favorite stats from the 2019 report that you should know going into 2020 (but don’t worry, there’s more stats and info to be had in the full report!)

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Online Community Software, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Online Community

4 Ways to Use Events + Conferences to Increase Online Community Engagement

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on June 11, 2019 at 1:23 PM | 5 minute read

There’s something special about attending an event that leaves you feeling invigorated, inspired, and better off for having participated. Making new connections in an environment like this can be energetic, powerful, and truly productive. It can also boost community engagement.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Associations, Customer Engagement, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Events

Public Social Media Network or Private Online Community? 11 Tips to Guide Your Decision

Written by Elizabeth Bell on June 6, 2019 at 2:10 PM | 8 minute read

Would you build your house on rented land? Or move all your belongings into a hotel room?

The answers are obvious. No, you wouldn’t, because you’d be trying to create something permanent in an impermanent place that you don’t own, where things could change at any moment.

Could the same concept apply to building a community for your customers or members on social media? We think so.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Associations, Online Community Software, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Online Community, Integration, Advertising

8 Ways Online Communities Improve the Customer Experience + Retention

Written by Elizabeth Bell on May 28, 2019 at 12:09 PM | 6 minute read

On the day you’re reading this, at least one of your customers is watching a webinar, downloading an eBook, or fielding a phone call from your competition. 

But you know what? Big deal. When you focus more on becoming competitor-proof than on true customer success, you’re getting your priorities wrong. Why?

Making your customers successful is a long-term retention strategy. Your business rises and falls based on the customer. If they love you, they won’t leave you – no matter how many competitors come knocking on their door.

And one of the best ways to ensure your customers’ success and support them throughout their journey?

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Topics: Customer Communities, Customer Experience, Customer Retention, Customer Support, Online Community

Listen Up + Level Up: How to Actually Hear What Customers Say

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on May 22, 2019 at 12:14 PM | 6 minute read

Once upon 1995, Lisa Loeb released a song that includes the lyric, “You say I only hear what I want to.” I am telling you this (not only because the song is stuck in my head) but because it might serve you to ask yourself if you are being selective about the customer feedback coming your way. When you peruse customer discussions in your online community, how do you react?

Are you only hearing what you want to, or do you know how to actually hear what your customers (both happy and dissatisfied) have to say? Tougher question: Are you even asking for customer feedback?

There is a clear distinction between simply hearing someone, and active, engaged listening (especially when you’re responding to discussions posts within your online customer community or interacting with folks at live events). Alas, it all starts with y o u, yes, you.

In this piece we’ll tap into the three levels of listening: internal listening, focused listening, and global listening.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Customer Experience, Member Engagement, Customer Support, Customer Success, Online Community

15 Tips to Help Successfully Move Your Social Media Community to a New Platform

Written by Elizabeth Bell on May 14, 2019 at 8:41 AM | 8 minute read

No matter the reason for the change, anyone who has grown an online community to maturity on a Facebook or LinkedIn or Yahoo group can tell you that the thought of moving that community to a new platform is enough to keep a person up at night.

There are logistical and personal challenges to migrating an entire community, like:

  • What if engagement totally dies?
  • What if we lose all the activity from our old group when we transition?
  • What if community users don’t move?
  • What if users start their own rogue communities because they hate our new platform?

But whatever your worries are, moving your community to an official community platform could be what it needs to become even better. Plus, with Yahoo Groups shutting down, it's definitely a good time to think about a new home for your community.

To get you to that new, better place, there are some strategic elements to think about as you transition your community from a social media group to an official community platform. 

(Not sure you want to move to a platform built for community yet? Let this post convince you.)

We’re here to help you meet your goals while avoiding these pitfalls.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Online Community Software, Customer Engagement, User Group Management, Member Engagement, Online Community

3 Benefits of a Customer Advisory Board for Your Software Company

Written by Elizabeth Bell on May 9, 2019 at 10:53 AM | 5 minute read

Do you have a Customer Advisory Board (CAB) or customer advisory council? A lot of software companies do. It’s one of those boxes that you check because you know it’s a best practice.

But something else that’s common is when companies check the CAB box just to have one, but don’t end up doing much with it (likely because of the workload it takes to manage). Rather than becoming the product and customer experience-changing entity that it has the potential to be, many CABs go into hibernation, never to be heard from again.

It’s time to change that. It’s time to mobilize your CAB for action.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Support, Customer Success, Customer Advocacy, Online Community

8 Reasons Your Customer Support Improves with an Online Community

Written by Nick Mignogna on May 1, 2019 at 10:14 AM | 9 minute read

In today's global economy, you're no longer competing with just the businesses in your town. You're competing around the world, and you may offer similar products and services to half a dozen other vendors, maybe more. You need a way to differentiate yourself outside of product and price, which can only be tweaked so much.

Smart businesses that find themselves in this situation turn to customer support as the differentiator.

Excellent customer service and support are highly effective ways to stand out because they also build loyalty among your customers. It will often cause them to select you for renewals and recommend you even if your prices are higher than the competition. Just consider these stats:

  • 95% of global consumers said good customer service is an important influencer of their brand loyalty [Microsoft]
  • 61% have stopped doing business with a company due to poor customer service [Microsoft]
  • 75% of companies believe they’re customer centric, while only 30 percent of consumers agreed [Capgemini]

Clearly, there’s a major divide between perception and a hard reality.

So how do you create a great customer service experience that puts you on the right side of these statistics?

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, B2B Communities, Customer Experience, Customer Support, Collaboration Tools, Customer Success, Online Community

What is a Social Business Model? 8 Companies Doing it Right

Written by Elizabeth Bell on April 23, 2019 at 12:19 PM | 17 minute read

Once upon a time, during the initial rise of social media platforms and online communities, people were aflutter about what these new developments would mean for their business. The term “social” seemed to compound every business buzzword, making it difficult to understand what a social business really looks like.

In today’s world, the social business model has become an expectation, rather than a new idea.

Here’s our formal definition:

What is a Social Business Model? The social business model is a framework utilized by companies to improve their customers’ experiences, using online channels to prioritize customer success and customer engagement.

Now that we (and the social business model) are older and wiser, we can reflect on what the impact of the introduction of these platforms. To help illustrate the concept better, we’ve compiled a list of eight companies we think are using the social business model well. Spoiler alert: Netflix is one of them. 

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, Online Community

Build a Sustainable Brand with Purpose-Driven Marketing

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on April 18, 2019 at 1:48 PM | 5 minute read

Purpose – what is it? If you’re thinking “the name of Justin Bieber’s fourth album”... that would be correct, but this word carries more weight than his millions of fans.

In the 14th annual Global Consumer Pulse Research, titled ‘From Me to We: The Rise of the Purpose-Led Brand,’ Accenture Strategy defines purpose in the following way:

“pur·pose /ˈ pərpəs / Noun: The reason why something exists. For companies, it is the foundation of every experience. It is the underlying essence that makes a brand relevant and necessary.”

In an increasingly competitive landscape, purpose-driven marketing is about more than building your brand or boosting your revenue. It’s about building a better world, long-term, alongside the people who share your brand’s passion to drive positive change and make a real impact.

To build a sustainable brand, equipped with valuable brand advocates and stakeholders, make an effort to strengthen it by delivering something beyond price and quality.

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Topics: Engagement, Customer Communities, Customer Engagement, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Collaboration Tools, Customer Success, Customer Advocacy, Marketing Automation, Online Community

3 Lessons from a Unicorn: How to Harness Customer Feedback to Drive Brand Growth & Success

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on March 28, 2019 at 8:49 AM | 5 minute read

Facts: The Unicorn is Scotland’s national animal; you are reading this right now; and Glossier, a direct-to-consumer beauty brand, recently joined the ranks of other female-founded “unicorns” (privately held startup companies valued at over $1 billion). How? Customer listening.

Emily Weiss, Glossier founder and CEO, managed to transform what started in 2010 as her beauty blog Into the Gloss... into a beauty brand valued at $1.2 billion, and they recently launched Glossier Play, their colorful spin-off brand. On what she did differently, Emily says:

“Many of the beauty brands I grew up with were expert-led. They told me what products were in style and how to use them. From the start, I wanted to take a different approach with Glossier by co-creating the brand and products with customers.”

If you haven’t harnessed the power of customer feedback, you’re missing a serious opportunity to grow your brand into a community of advocates with customer success and satisfaction in mind. 

You don’t need to have the same business structure as Glossier to heed lessons from their approach - B2B brands can benefit from using engagement tools like online community and marketing automation to tap into their customer base on a more personal level for product collaboration, customer feedback, and brand growth. 

So, let’s talk about the power of people, since all companies are really “people to people” at their core, you know?

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Topics: Marketing, Customer Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Retention, Collaboration Tools, Customer Success, Customer Advocacy, Online Community

The Importance of Creating an Online Customer Portal with a Sense of Community

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on March 14, 2019 at 11:30 AM | 9 minute read

Have you ever spent time with a toddler who is discovering their independence? The moment a growing tyke learns how to do something new, they feel the need to try and do it themselves. There is a certain level of excitability that comes with their newfound independence and fierce determination – not to mention, a common distaste for being told ‘no.’ Sound relatable?

As grown adults in the modern age of tech booms, DIY-everything, and continuously rising customer service expectations, I don’t think we’re that far removed from the demands of a toddler who wants to be in the driver’s seat of their own experiences (and I’m not surprised).

Did you know that 89 percent of U.S. consumers expect brands or organizations to have an online self-service support portal?

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

What is an Online Community? The Basics & Benefits

Written by Hunter Montgomery | on March 7, 2019 at 11:25 AM | 6 minute read

In the fast-paced world of modern technology, many leadership executives and organizations understand that building online communities for their customers or members to learn, share, and collaborate is critical for increasing growth and relevancy.

They know that successful online communities can help them engage and inspire their audience, creating the unique and individual experiences that improve the overall customer experience (CX). Focusing on CX in tandem with your online community is incredibly valuable in terms of driving loyalty, by the way.

Research from the Temkin Group found that companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to gain, on average, an additional $775 million over 3 years of investing in customer experience (with SaaS companies standing to earn the most, at $1 billion).

For those who are still learning or want to brush up on their knowledge, we’re here to offer some clarity on what a successful online community is and how it can benefit organizational growth by helping you deliver value to your customers, partners, members, or prospects.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, Customer Experience, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Online Community

Engagement, Upsell, Advocacy: How Community Tools Can Transform Your Customer Marketing

Written by Elizabeth Bell on October 2, 2018 at 7:45 AM | 5 minute read

Marketing to your customers is hard work – sometimes it can feel like you’re pushing the same boulder up a hill every day, like good ol’ Sisyphus.

Customer marketing can come with great rewards, though, especially if you’re using tech tools to make your life easier.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Retention, Customer Success, Customer Advocacy, Online Community

From Blastoff to Outer Space: How Jama Software’s Community Became the Best Resource for All Things Jama [Case Study]

Written by Elizabeth Bell on September 11, 2018 at 8:02 AM | 6 minute read

Since its founding only 12 years ago, Jama Software has made a huge impact in the product development software market. With clients like SpaceX, Caterpillar, Boeing, and NASA, Jama Software helps companies developing life-and-economy-critical products keep a system of record and action. After Jama launched an online community, the staff has seen their community become the best resource for all things Jama, from customer support to product improvement.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Customer Experience, Online Community

How to Increase Your Sales Without Hiring More Reps

Written by Paul Schneider on September 4, 2018 at 8:01 AM | 4 minute read

Online communities are becoming more mainstream every day, with many companies using them for customer support and retention. No question, they’re great for that.

However, there is another HUGE benefit you can get from your online community – increased sales. Are you ready to learn how? Here we go:

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Topics: Customer Communities, Customer Support, Online Community

2018 Forrester CXNYC Forum Recap: How Communities Add Value to the Customer Experience

Written by Kate Zimmerman | on July 2, 2018 at 8:26 AM | 3 minute read

Two weeks ago, I attended the Forrester Customer Experience forum in New York City. The forum focused on leveraging Forrester’s recent research to help customer experience (CX) professionals deliver better CX. What does CX have to do with communities, you may ask? Quite a lot, as I suspected and then confirmed while at the show.

Forrester conducts an annual survey measuring CX across various industries. While you would expect to see CX scores gradually increasing, they are actually stagnant year over year: the worst are getting better, but the best are actually getting worse.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Customer Experience, Online Community

Will Microsoft’s Xbox Customer Support Program Built on Volunteer Power Work?

Written by Elizabeth Bell on June 26, 2018 at 8:29 AM | 4 minute read

Can you have a successful customer support community built solely on volunteering? That’s the hypothesis Microsoft seems to be testing with its recent decisions for Xbox customer support.

Xbox Ambassadors are Xbox users who volunteer to help other users with their gaming issues. A news source recently reported that Microsoft has laid off twelve of its contracted Xbox customer support staff and is replacing them with these volunteers, supposedly in a cost-cutting measure. Two of the staff said they had recently finished training a group of Xbox Ambassadors who will now be their replacements.

Although Microsoft retained a couple support staff, they seem to be leaning the bulk of their Xbox customer support on these volunteers.

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Topics: Volunteer Management, Customer Communities, Online Community Software, Customer Support, Customer Success, Online Community

What’s the Difference Between Quantitative and Qualitative Community Data? (And When to Use Them)

Written by Julie Dietz on March 13, 2018 at 8:30 AM | 3 minute read

Customer data is one of the biggest advantages of online communities. As customers log in to your community, connect with peers, and start discussions, they not only become more engaged with your brand, they generate data on their needs, habits, and interests.

Your company can use that data to create better products, publish more helpful content, and improve the customer experience.

But not all community data is created equal. Your community collects several types of data that provide different insights about customers. To get the most out your community data, you need to understand what kind of data you have and the best times to use each.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, Online Community

Two Ways to Demonstrate the Business Impact of Customer Communities

Written by Julie Dietz on February 13, 2018 at 8:30 AM | 3 minute read

Revenue. Customer support costs. Acquisition. Retention. These are basic examples of business metrics companies track to evaluate their performance.

They’re also metrics any online community can use to show business impact.

The best community professionals measure, track, and compare metrics to demonstrate how their communities are impacting their businesses. They start by identifying the most important metrics to their company, then use them strategically to show impact.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

How a Major Corporation Crowdsources Product Innovation (And How You Can Too)

Written by Julie Dietz on January 9, 2018 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

Starbucks. You’ve heard of Starbucks, right? It’s one of those iconic brands that crosses generations. Everyone, including my grandmother and youngest cousin (she’s three and loves a Starbucks white hot chocolate) knows of and has tried at least one.

They’re massively popular and older than you might think – Starbucks will celebrate its 47th anniversary in 2018. So how have they managed to stay current, keeping their customers and winning new ones for almost 50 years? How do they come up with their offers? Their signature drinks?

Some of it is baristas, years of experience, and market research. The rest? It might just be their customers.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

The Anatomy of an Effective Customer Community Team

Written by Julie Dietz on November 30, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

Communities are naturally multi-disciplinary projects. They use diverse tools to provide the information customers need in the way they want to receive it, all to fill a business need like improving retention or increasing awareness about your products.

At any given time, professionals working in the online community space might be writing documents, talking to customers, editing videos, or sending emails.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, Online Community

Increasing Revenue per Customer: 6 Reasons Why Your Customers Don’t Buy More

Written by Julie Dietz on October 10, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

Eighty percent of your future revenue will come from 20 percent of your existing customers, according to Gartner. For businesses, that’s huge, underscoring just how important it is to focus on customer success and marketing.

If you want to grow your business, you need current customers to keep buying.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, Customer Success, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Is Your Company Using Online Community Data Effectively?

Written by Scott K. Wilder | on September 14, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 8 minute read

In my last post, I talked about folding community into your larger business operations to better serve customers and your company, a technique known as Community as an Integrated Service (CIS). I also laid out the fundamentals of PIE (Processes, Integrations and Ecosystems), a framework for building out CIS. Well, every pie needs filling, whether it is blueberry or raspberry. CIS’ PIE filling is Data.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, Online Community

How to Overcome Challenges and Use Community as an Integrated Service to Improve Business Results

Written by Scott K. Wilder | on July 20, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 7 minute read

Historically, organizations have struggled to integrate community into their infrastructure and customer-facing offerings. Community is often looked at as a standalone application or service that’s tacked onto a company’s overall suite of platforms, such as their corporate website, their marketing automation platform, their email engine, and their CRM.

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

4 Ways to Use Your Online Customer Community to Increase Upsell and Cross-Sell Revenue

Written by Julie Dietz on July 11, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

Eighty percent of your future revenue will come from only 20 percent of your current customers. That highlights just how important your existing customers are to growing your business. Understanding what makes them tick and how to keep them engaged and purchasing is key to long-term success. 

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, Customer Advocacy, Online Community

The 6 Biggest Business Benefits of Starting a Branded Online Community

Written by Hunter Montgomery | on June 15, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 6 minute read

What drove your last business initiative?

For most of us, the answer revolves around meeting goals and improving the bottom line. We launched our latest project to be more efficient, increase sales, or improve retention.

Those are the same reasons why business executives are starting branded online communities.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Customer Retention, Customer Support, Customer Advocacy, Online Community

5 Reasons You Need to Integrate Your Online Community and CRM Today

Written by Julie Dietz on April 11, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

My favorite childhood game was Telephone. My friends and I would sit in a circle for hours passing messages around by whispering in one another’s ears. Hearing how the original messages changed to something nearly unrecognizable at the end always made me laugh.

Telephone isn’t just an entertaining childhood pastime. It also teaches a valuable lesson: indirect communication is rarely accurate. You lose essential meaning when there isn’t a one-on-one connection. It’s a problem that happens not only with people, but with software systems as well.

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

LEGO Tries a New Type of Community - Will it Work?

Written by Molly Talbert | on March 28, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

LEGO recently announced it was ending its LEGO Message Boards (LMB). This upset many longtime LMB members as well as people in the larger community industry - especially because it didn’t say if there was going to be a replacement community, or why it made such a drastic decision in the first place.

Instead of offering reasons or an alternative, LEGO simply said it was shutting the community down and deleting everything - cold turkey.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

The Role of Online Communities and Customer Portals in Sales Enablement

Written by Mark Lowry on February 23, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 7 minute read

Sales professionals are some of the smartest, most people-savvy individuals you’ll ever meet. They can read your tone of voice, body language, and dig into your deepest needs to find the best product or service to meet them.

In the past, salespeople did all this either in person or over the phone. It’s certainly easier to read body language when you can see someone. But today, sales professionals don’t always need to meet prospects for lunch or call them to get the ball rolling. Now they can jumpstart the sales process – dare we say turbocharge it – by using online tools.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, Customer Success, Online Community

LEGO: Don’t End Your Community

Written by Calista Rollogas | on January 26, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

Is an online community ever too big to fail?

Unfortunately, just like everything else, no. In fact, LEGO Message Boards (LMB), a vibrant online community for LEGO enthusiasts, is being permanently shut down and deleted this March. The LMB story should be a cautionary tale for all community builders - it doesn’t matter how many fans your organization has or how many people participate in your community. If you don’t manage it properly, you risk failure.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Customer Communities, Online Community

4 Stats that Link Customer Satisfaction to Your Online Community

Written by Julie Dietz on January 16, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

According to a study from CMX and Leader Networks, improving customer satisfaction is the number one reason why businesses start branded online communities.

That means that businesses are investing big bucks in online community software, community managers, and helpful content to keep their customers happy. But does it work? Do online communities really improve customer satisfaction?

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

Harley Davidson Stumbled Upon Community (And It Saved Them)

Written by Molly Talbert | on December 19, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

 

What makes a Harley Davidson motorcycle special?

You don’t have to be a motorcycle enthusiast to answer this question - almost anyone can name something. Harley bikes have a distinct sound, look and feel. Even if you’ve never been on one, they’re an iconic part of American culture.

But it didn’t used to be that way.

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Topics: Marketing, Customer Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Advocacy, Online Community

4 Things To Do Before Starting a Blog Program in Your Customer Community

Written by Katie Bapple | on December 8, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

You did all the work. When you started your customer community, you created the content, wrote the blogs, and encouraged your customers and prospective customers to join. It was all on you.

And to some extent, the pressure will always be on you and your business.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

How the Customer Support Funnel Works for an Online Community

Written by Hunter Montgomery | on November 17, 2016 at 3:30 PM | 6 minute read

Funnels, chutes, hourglasses - they’re all used to help us plan the customer’s journey with our organization (or maintain a particularly organized baker’s kitchen - depends on your audience).

There are tons of models and terms we can use when we talk about customer acquisition, and getting people to engage with your brand or organization.

Online communities are no different. So, what shape should you use? How are you getting people engaged in the first place, and how do you make them stay?

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Topics: Customer Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Support, Online Community

Can Inbound Marketing Apply to Customer Marketing?

Written by Julie Dietz on November 7, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

According to The State of Inbound 2016 report, only 18% of outbound marketers consider their strategy effective. Compare that to 81% of inbound marketers and you have a compelling idea of just how well inbound works.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Customer Engagement: New Research Underscores Opportunities for B2B Companies

Written by Julie Dietz on September 16, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

My brother is a computer programmer for a major cable channel. He loves it. He loves computers, tablets, and technology in general. He always has the newest cell phone model (most recently the unfortunate Galaxy Note 7) and he's constantly lecturing me on staying up to date with the latest technology.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, Online Community

CXPA Elevates the Customer Experience with Community

Written by Caitlin Struhs | on September 15, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 8 minute read

The Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) was founded in 2011 as a premier, global non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and cultivation of the customer experience profession. The organization aims to increase both impact of visibility of customer experience professionals, facilitate effective member-to-member sharing, and establish respected industry standards.

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

Your Growing Organization Needs an Online Community

Written by Molly Talbert | on July 12, 2016 at 9:00 AM | 3 minute read

Ok, here’s the question: what do member retention, organizational growth and your website all have in common?

Answer: community (that is, if you have one).

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Topics: Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, Member Retention, Online Community

Build a Better Organization with Community

Written by Molly Talbert | on June 28, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

Community will help your customer relationships -- they’ll feel more connected to you and to other people who use your product.

But will community help your entire organization?

You bet.

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Topics: Engagement, Customer Communities, Customer Support, Online Community

Community Enhances Your Product Enhancements

Written by Molly Talbert | on June 22, 2016 at 11:30 AM | 3 minute read

It’s simple: online communities are the most efficient tool for knowing what your customers think, predicting what they’ll do or need, and retaining them for the long-term.

And that all adds up to a better product.

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

Customer Success Should Strive for Empathy - And Community Helps

Written by Molly Talbert | on June 14, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

Here’s the situation: you can’t figure out the new software your company is making you implement. You call customer success and get this response: “Sounds like you’re in a tough position and have lots to learn. How can I best help you figure out this software so you can do your job?”

That’s empathy.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Customer Success, Online Community

Startup Success the Community Way

Written by Molly Talbert | on June 1, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

Starting a business is hard. Even if you have an excellent product or service idea and a detailed business plan, plenty of funding and a smart co-founder, you’ll inevitably hit bumps in the road or stumble across problems you didn’t even know existed. (If you want an in-depth look at these types of trials and tribulations, check out the podcast, StartUp. Definitely start at the very beginning -- it’s worth getting the whole story.)

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Topics: Engagement, Customer Communities, Customer Success, Online Community

Close More Sales Using These 4 Insights From Your Online Community

Written by Julie Dietz on May 18, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

In 1998, marketing guru Seth Godin estimated that the typical consumer came in contact with an average of 3,000 marketing messages per day. Even though that sounds like a lot, that number is only accurate for a world before social media, before smartphones, and before our dependence on e-mail was fully developed. The number has likely skyrocketed.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, Online Community

What is Social Selling and Why Should You Be Doing It?

Written by Julie Dietz on May 16, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

Sales techniques are like empires, they rise and fall with the changing the times, and it seems like every few years there's a new method for connecting with customers and closing deals. One of the most recent techniques that's been getting attention and results is social selling.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Communities, B2B Communities, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Letter to MailChimp: You Spoke Too Soon

Written by Molly Talbert | on May 9, 2016 at 9:00 AM | 5 minute read

Dear MailChimp,

In 2012, you wrote this blog post, explaining why you were shutting down your customer community, The Jungle. You said that customer communities weren’t growing, that yours was unwieldy and that better alternatives existed.

We disagree.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, Email Marketing, Online Community

Why Offering Access to Your Customer Community Converts Better Than Static Content Offers

Written by Julie Dietz on April 27, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

Did you know that B2B companies that blog generate an average of 67 percent more leads per month than companies that do not blog? Creating high quality, relevant content, such as regular blog posts, is an essential element of effective content marketing strategies today.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Customer Advocacy, Online Community

How to Use Activity Data in Your Customer Community to Increase Revenue Per Customer

Written by Julie Dietz on April 20, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

It's one of the most well-known rules of doing business: it's much more expensive to acquire new customers than to retain the ones you already have.

While exactly how much more expensive is up for debate, you can estimate that new customers cost five times more than existing customers. Since selling to existing customers is cheaper (lower cost of acquisition), those sales result in higher margins. That line of thinking leads to this basic principle: one of the simplest ways to increase revenue per customer is to sell to the customers you already have.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, Customer Success, Online Community

Selecting and Purchasing a Customer Portal Platform: How to Get Started

Written by Julie Dietz on April 15, 2016 at 8:00 AM | 5 minute read

It's like choosing the perfect car. It has to be the right make, model, and have all the fancy features you could dream of. But with so many choices, making a decision takes hard work, hours of research, and even a few test drives.

Choosing the right customer portal platform for your organization is no different. There are so many options that selecting the right customer portal platform for your organization has become a major obstacle. How do you know which one is best for you? How do you choose between the different features?

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

When Do You Know Your Customers Want a Community?

Written by Molly Talbert | on March 23, 2016 at 9:30 AM | 4 minute read

Everyone is talking about customer communities these days. But when do you know it’s actually time to bite the bullet and get one?

There are tactics for ensuring a new customer community launch is successful, but at the end of the day, if your customers don’t want it, they won’t use it.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, Customer Engagement, Online Community

The Top 5 Reasons Why Companies Launch Branded Online Communities (and Why Some Succeed) [Research]

Written by Julie Dietz on March 8, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

According to a recent study from leading social and community business researchers Leader Networks and CMX, the marketplace is seeing a revolutionizing shift in both business and marketing behavior. Instead of focusing on traditional advertising and cost reduction businesses and associations are focusing on their relationships with customers to improve satisfaction and add value for existing and potential customers.

That means companies are increasingly looking to their customers as the source of their success and looking for more feedback on products, services, and practices.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, Customer Retention, Customer Support, Online Community

5 Innovative Ways Businesses Are Using Online Community Platforms

Written by Christina Green | on March 3, 2016 at 1:19 PM | 3 minute read

In the past, organizational innovation came from the spark of an idea applied to a well-funded research and development panel. The organization hatched the idea, grew it, and presented it all on its own timeline. This is no longer the case. Growth, engagement, and even the creation of ideas themselves is now fueled by faster processes and the closer interactions between companies and their customers, partners, and professional associations.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

Communities Help the Buyer's Journey

Written by Hunter Montgomery | on February 23, 2016 at 10:00 AM | 5 minute read

A community isn’t just an afterthought for your customers. And it isn’t only valuable once the deal is sealed and you sold them your product or services. Communities can support both you, your team and your customers throughout the buyers journey; every step of the way, from evaluation, decision, retention and, ultimately, creating customer loyalty.

It’s important to think of your customer relationship as starting long before the first contact. Rather than the transaction solidifying a relationship, it’s the relationship that triggers the transaction -- as it did for this man. A relationship with a potential customer begins before you even know them; in a community, they see how you interact with your current customers and how customers interact with each other.

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Topics: Marketing, Customer Communities, Customer Experience, Customer Support, Marketing Automation, Online Community

How to Measure the Business Impact of Your Customer Community

Written by Nick Davis on February 9, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

Online customer community platforms can do wonders to get your customers participating in and with conversations surrounding your industry, business, and offerings. However, that isn't always the reason that companies decide to invest in a community platform. Customer engagement isn't your end game!

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, Customer Success, Online Community

Researching Online Community Software: Three Must-Ask Questions

Written by Christina Green | on January 21, 2016 at 11:20 AM | 4 minute read

Have you ever noticed the verb used with online communities is always "build?" You build an online community. You build community. Rarely will people, even vendors, talk about buying an online community, because even though you purchase online community software, that is only the foundation. You still need to build your online community. The task isn't complete immediately after you purchase a platform.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community Software, Online Community

Why More Companies Are Building Communities

Written by Nick Davis on January 6, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 2 minute read

Why are so many companies building online communities?

I'm sure that I'm not the only one who is filled with that sense of dread when approaching a car lot. I know that the minute I step out of my car I'll be swarmed with sales people desperate to meet their monthly sales quota. Nobody likes a hard sell, and that's why companies are increasingly building online communities to keep current and prospective customers informed and engaged.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

What Do Your Customers Expect from You in 2016 & Beyond? A Guide Map

Written by Joshua Paul | on January 5, 2016 at 10:45 AM | 6 minute read

Your customers are logging into websites more frequently, signing up for new online services, and trying new apps every day. The well-documented consumerization of business product users is putting increasing pressure on companies. In many cases, companies can't keep up with the evolving expectations of their customer base.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Customer Experience, Customer Support, Customer Advocacy

I'm Interested in Starting a Customer Community, But What Does it REALLY Take?

Written by Nick Davis on November 24, 2015 at 8:18 AM | 5 minute read

So, you are considering building an online customer community, but where do you start? What is it going to take?

You have probably seen several other businesses, maybe even competitors, launch their own online communities as a way to drive business, increase customer satisfaction, and even reduce your operating and support costs.  And starting a community may not be as hard an undertaking as you might think. Take it from founder of the Center for Customer Engagement, Bill Lee, when he said that, “more companies can build customer communities than think they can.â€

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

How to Leverage Your Customer Community to Achieve Real Revenue Growth

Written by Katie Oakes on October 14, 2015 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

You've only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the role that developing strong customer communities will play in transforming and growing businesses. That is the common wisdom among the people who are in the trenches implementing customer community strategies for the world's leading organizations.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

The Secret to Creating a Private Online Community for Developers

Written by Katie Oakes on October 1, 2015 at 8:00 AM | 5 minute read

Online customer communities come in many shapes and flavors. Some online customer communities provide support for end users of products and services. Others are designed to keep partners engaged and informed.

Some audiences are more difficult to engage than others. Among the most challenging people to engage in an online community are developers. Online developer communities play an important role in helping enterprise companies to extend their products, create advocates in the market, and help customers get results.

How do you build a community for the people that literally wrote the code on the online community?

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, Online Community

Why is Building Community Online Essential to Inbound Marketing

Written by Joshua Paul | on September 15, 2015 at 8:15 AM | 4 minute read

What does it mean when you get nine hours of sleep over three days and you still wake up excited about your job? Yes. You are correct. It means that you just attended the INBOUND conference, one of the world's largest gatherings of growth-oriented marketing, sales, product, and support professionals.

Out team recently returned from INBOUND and we are still wired. You may be wondering why we'd send a significant portion of our company to a conference geared largely to marketing and sales people. You may be thinking, Wait a minute! Higher Logic is an online community software company. What does creating an online customer or user community have to do with inbound marketing?

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Topics: Communications, Customer Communities, Customer Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Top Customer Engagement Resources for the Week of August 23, 2015

Written by Joshua Paul | on August 28, 2015 at 5:30 AM | 3 minute read

The  Top Ten for the Week of August 23, 2015

Finish the weekend smarter that you started it. Check out this past week's most useful online community management and customer engagement advice.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

Can You Build a Customer Community Without an Online Community Software Platform?

Written by Katie Oakes on July 22, 2015 at 8:30 AM | 7 minute read

People who regularly visit online brand communities are likely to repurchase products associated with the customer community at a rate of over 2 to 1, according to research from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. In order to capitalize on this trend in customer relationship management, businesses are increasingly devoting resources to building community among their customers.

This emerging strategy opens the door for an important question:

Can companies build a customer community without an online community software platform?

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community Software, Online Community

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

Written by Hunter Montgomery | on April 28, 2015 at 10:00 AM | 2 minute read

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

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

Why 2015 Will Be the Year of the Private Online Community

Written by Hunter Montgomery | on February 23, 2015 at 4:31 PM | 2 minute read

At Higher Logic, we've always believed that the key to engaging members, customers and constituents is through building a private community over which your organization has control, rather than building that community on a public social media site. But because of the popularity of sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn - and the fact that those platforms are free (although the time your staff spends managing them is not) - many organizations think that member engagement efforts are better spent on those free social channels than on an owned community or collaboration platform.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Social Media, Customer Communities, Member Communities, Online Community

How to Sell Your Online Community Strategy to Your Boss: A Proven Framework

Written by Joshua Paul | on February 17, 2015 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

Even though online communities have proven to be an effective strategy for many businesses, you can't expect everyone in your organization to fully understand the potential right out of the gate. Whenever you're proposing an emerging strategy, such as bringing your customers, partners, and employees together into an online customer community, you have to work a little bit harder to convince others of the value - even if, to you, it seems quite obvious.

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

13 Characteristics of Online Customer Communities That Work - Part 1

Written by Joshua Paul | on February 11, 2015 at 9:45 AM | 4 minute read

What does it mean when an online customer community "works"?

It might seem like a simple question at first, but creating a successful and sustainable online community is significantly more complicated than meets the eye.

First of all, claiming your online customer community works well immediately begs the question “who does it work for? Your company? The customers?" This is an important distinction.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

Tips for Selecting the Best Online Community Software Platform for Your Business Strategy

Written by Katie Bapple | on February 5, 2015 at 11:20 AM | 4 minute read

Choosing the best online community software platform for your organization can be overwhelming and confusing.

There are lots of great options out there, however none are going to be a perfect fit. Narrowing down the advantages and disadvantages of each viable online community platform can be a serious undertaking – especially if you don't know exactly what you're looking for.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community Software, Online Community

3 Smart People Who Know How Important Online Customer Communities Will Be to Digital Marketing in 2015

Written by Joshua Paul | on February 3, 2015 at 8:35 AM | 5 minute read

It's no secret that we're big fans of online customer communities and what they are doing for businesses. Obviously, if you follow this blog even a little bit, you're probably well aware of what a great asset online communities are to marketing, sales, support, and product management teams. And while that opinion might seem a little biased, it also comes from a genuine belief in the benefits of highly engaged customers and the enormous potential for company growth that comes from having better customer relationships.

However, while we've been singing the praises of customer communities for quite a while now as we watch our customer repeat the rewards of their online community strategies, it's always nice to see other important figures in the business and marketing world join in the chorus.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Why Online Customer Communities Need a Purpose Bigger Than Building Community

Written by Joshua Paul | on December 3, 2014 at 10:45 AM | 5 minute read

A few years ago, I penned what I believe is still one of the most concise and clear definitions of social business:

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, Online Community

The Evolution of Community and the Customer Experience

Written by Mark Lowry on October 22, 2014 at 10:30 AM | 2 minute read

Forward thinking organizations are moving away from traditional help desk models. No longer do customers need to sit and wait for an automated support queue - they can and should expect real-time responses. An integrated service model for customers, including a support portal, social media engagement and an online community, can provide faster response times and give customers and members the option as to how they interact with the organization. In addition, the idea of crowd sourcing content for a robust knowledge base from your best experts, your customers, has taken hold.

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

Why Creating an Online Customer Community is the Ultimate Post-Sale Inbound Strategy

Written by Joshua Paul | on October 14, 2014 at 10:50 AM | 6 minute read

At this point, you're probably tired of hearing about inbound strategies. However, there's a reason inbound marketing, sales, and customer communication has changed the way people do business. There's a reason they're so popular.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Customer Success, Customer Advocacy

How to Generate Compelling Content Ideas for Your Online Customer or Member Community [Infographic]

Written by Joshua Paul | on July 31, 2014 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

When your private online customer or member community is in its early stages, you have to rely heavily on content as the driving force that brings people in. Your online community is not just competing against other communities and social spaces, but other priorities as well.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Member Communities, Online Community

The Evolution of Customer Engagement: Where is Your Business?

Written by Joshua Paul | on June 12, 2014 at 12:20 PM | 5 minute read

The information age has changed a lot about the way we do things. Companies are marketing products differently, consumers are shopping for those solutions differently, and customer engagement has become more important than ever.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Customer Engagement, Online Community

Think You Know Your Market? 13 High-Value Insights from Your Online Customer Community

Written by Joshua Paul | on May 15, 2014 at 10:00 AM | 6 minute read

In many cases, your organization is only as good as your insight into your market. This market data is the foundation of decisions about everything from products to positioning to messaging.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Customer Support, Customer Success, Online Community

Where Do Businesses Get the Most ROI from Online Customer Communities?

Written by Joshua Paul | on April 22, 2014 at 10:00 AM | 4 minute read

Creating an effective customer experience is a top priority for many companies right now. Businesses are spending a lot of time and money trying to understand and properly address both the pre-sales and post-purchase opportunities to engage their customers.

A CEI survey from last year revealed that 86% of buyers would rather pay more for a better customer experience"”but only 1% reported getting the experience they wanted. With such stark data indicating what customers want, why is it so difficult for so many companies to live up to customer expectations?

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

How to Increase Engagement in Your Private Online Community: Six Things to Share

Written by Joshua Paul | on April 11, 2014 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

Your private online community is only as good as the value it offers members. With as busy as your target audience is, your community has to offer them something of useful and exclusive value to capture their attention, especially among all the other competing forces in their online, work, and personal lives.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Customer Engagement, Online Community

Six Strategies for Crowdsourcing Ideas in Your Online Customer Community

Written by Joshua Paul | on April 2, 2014 at 9:10 AM | 5 minute read

You work hard to add people, content, and tools to your private social community that provide value to your customers or members and keeps them coming back.

However, that is only one half of an effective social community strategy. The best customer community strategies balance benefits to community members with leveraging the community to the meet business-level goals of the host organization.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, Online Community

Is This The Secret Sauce In Active Online Customer Communities?

Written by Joshua Paul | on January 22, 2014 at 8:44 AM | 5 minute read

How to Capitalize on One of the Most Underutilized Online Community Management Tools

You have numerous tools at your disposal for growing and managing your online customer community - from content calendars to analytics.

What if there was one tool you weren't using that could make a substantial difference in delivering consistent engagement in your community?

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, Customer Engagement, Online Community

How to Launch a Private Online Community Without Angering Your Customers

Written by Joshua Paul | on January 14, 2014 at 8:30 AM | 6 minute read

Change Management Tips to Ease the Transition to a Community-Based Customer Experience

My wife and I love Walt Disney World. Like many people who frequent the parks, we have developed our own ways of avoiding lines, hitting a ton of attractions, and getting the most for our money.

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

How Your Online Customer Community Helps Close More Sales

Written by Joshua Paul | on December 19, 2013 at 9:01 AM | 4 minute read

Many companies are experiencing real benefits of managing customer and partner relationships through online customer communities.

Active communities provide valuable insight into your customers' challenges and motives, which in turn helps your company to create even better products and services. Providing an always-on network of peer-to-peer support can also lower customer service costs by taking some of the burden away from call centers and other support personnel.

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

6 Steps to Creating a Content Curation Program for Your Online Customer Community (Part 2)

Written by Joshua Paul | on October 16, 2013 at 8:29 AM | 3 minute read

One of the central characteristics of thriving online member or customer communities is that the organizations behind these communities position the communities at the center of an industry or business ecosystem. They find a niche and people who care about those values or market, then create a community around it.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

3 Insightful Social Customer Service Articles That You May Have Missed

Written by Joshua Paul | on May 20, 2013 at 11:41 AM | 2 minute read

According to Nielsen's 2012 Social Media Report, over 50% of customers use some type of social channel to engage companies to report satisfaction, ask questions, and lodge complaints. One third of consumers prefer social customer service to getting answers by phone.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

Four Elements of Enterprise Social Networking

Written by Andy Steggles | on April 21, 2013 at 11:00 AM | 3 minute read

Social Networking in the Enterprise

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Communities, Collaboration Tools, Online Community

Why B2B Companies Need Private Online Customer Communities [Example]

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 28, 2013 at 9:55 AM | 5 minute read

I love the marketing software I use! I like their approach, the company's culture, and the solution itself.

However, like all products and services, my marketing software and its provider are not perfect. A recent attempt at sharing a new feature with customers turned into a less than positive exchange.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, Online Community

Online Customer Forums: Are You Prepared for These 7 Types of Questions?

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 21, 2013 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

If you have ever worked in a customer-facing role, you know that if something is possible with your product or service, customers will probably bring it up in your online customer forums at some point.

Each type of post or question in your customer forums represents a different persona that your community management team should prepare for. For instance, a post where a new customer introduces themself to the community comes with an entire set of needs, expectations, and next steps which that individual can take, than a discussion started by a veteran customer advocate.

It will improve your customers' experience and save your community management team time to train and prepare for a large portion of the questions that you know will be asked in your discussion forums.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, Customer Engagement, Online Community

The Modern Rules of Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 12, 2013 at 10:30 AM | 7 minute read

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." - Charles Darwin

One of the keys to business growth has long been the strength and nature of the relationships an organization builds with its customers. All businesses with customers have customer relationships. They exist whether you like it or not, and whether you are focused on it or not.

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

The Risks of Waiting to Build Your Online Customer Community

Written by Joshua Paul | on February 28, 2013 at 10:45 AM | 6 minute read

I get far fewer funny looks than I used to when I give presentations on why customer communities are the future of customer management. It may be because the data is beginning to play this out.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, Customer Engagement, Online Community

12 Roles that Employees Must Play in Your Online Customer Community

Written by Joshua Paul | on February 19, 2013 at 8:41 AM | 5 minute read

It takes a village to keep a customer happy.

Branded customer communities rarely form organically, nor can the operation and success a strategy as central as a private online community ride on the shoulders of one individual. It takes a village of staff members.

When a business uses an online customer community to increase the value of doing business with the company and manage customer relationships, there are many roles that have to be filled to maintain the level of support, engagement, and benefit that your customers and executives expect.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

How to Sell Your Online Customer Community Strategy to the C-Suite

Written by Joshua Paul | on February 7, 2013 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

You've done your research. You've developed a sound plan. Now, you must sell your online customer community strategy to your boss's boss.

Getting a meeting with top-level executives is a great opportunity. While they are very busy people, setting up a block of time to talk to them about your online community strategy is critical to securing funding, solidifying buy-in, and setting expectations for the long haul that is community-building. You need to make sure that you are taking full advantage of it so that it is not a chance wasted.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community Software, Online Community

How to Stay Competitive as Your Industry Goes Social [Social Business Study]

Written by Joshua Paul | on January 25, 2013 at 8:30 AM | 3 minute read

Study: Social Software's Importance in Your Business Will Grow 45% in the Next 3 Years

Executives must walk a tight rope on social software. It is true that there is a lot of hyperbole around social strategies. It is also a reality that businesses which don't embrace online community platforms and other social software will get left behind. Your customers expect to be able to engage you in customer communities. You competitors are rapidly researching and implementing social business strategies as well. Where does that leave your organization?

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities, Customer Engagement, Online Community

11 Powerful Features You Should Have in Your Online Customer Forums

Written by Joshua Paul | on November 14, 2012 at 9:57 AM | 5 minute read

While customer forums are only part of a full online customer community, they are usually the most trafficked and vibrant area of the community. The central role that customer discussion forums play in connecting customers with one another and lowering support costs, made customer forums a natural stepping stone for companies before social community platforms were widely available.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

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