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Customer Communities Posts

Public Social 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 | 8 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

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