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Customer Success Posts

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

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

8 Practical Ways to Boost Engagement with Mobile Event Apps

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on April 25, 2019 at 1:00 PM | 7 minute read

Here’s a fun forecast: The number of mobile users worldwide is expected to reach 7.26 billion in 2020. With (nearly) the entire human population walking around with a mobile device in their pocket, it should come as no surprise that people expect a certain level of connectivity in their experiences. Businesses can tap into this potential with a mobile app for their events.

Meeting and conference attendees increasingly expect ways to engage organizers, presenters, and each other – from the moment they register until months after the event. Mobile event apps can be integrated with an online community platform to drive engagement prior to and following an event. This can help demonstrate value to attendees and improve their overall experience.

Let’s get ‘appy and talk about how organizations can cost-effectively enable staff, attendees, speakers, and sponsors to connect and provide feedback during a conference or other event.

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Topics: Engagement, Customer Engagement, Member Engagement, Customer Success, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Super Forum, Advertising

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

Talkin’ SaaS Stats: Customer Success is Having a Moment

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on April 11, 2019 at 1:47 PM | 6 minute read

Which begs the question…what took so long? It’s simple. Without customers, you don’t have a business. Without happy customers, you don’t have a successful, profitable, sustainable business. For B2B Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies, investing in customer success isn’t optional – or, at least it shouldn’t be, at this stage in the game.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Customer Success, 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

SaaS Customer Onboarding: A 3-Step Guide for Streamlined Success

Written by Elizabeth Bell on February 12, 2019 at 8:18 AM | 5 minute read

Like making a first impression with a new acquaintance, SaaS customer onboarding has a big effect on whether your customer’s trajectory with your company is positive or negative.

Imagine you’re the main point of contact or user of the software element your company has purchased. You had a great experience with the salesperson, but now that you’ve signed the deal, you’re unsure about next steps. You find yourself poking around on your own and investing lots of time figuring out what to do next…

This situation doesn’t spell great news for a new customer.

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Topics: B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Experience, Customer Success, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Integration

Customer Journey Mapping 101: The What, Why, and How

Written by Renee Schaefer on February 5, 2019 at 8:01 AM | 8 minute read

Renee presented on this topic at Higher Logic’s annual user conference, Super Forum.

Talk about the importance of the customer experience is everywhere these days, and it’s not just analysts or leading organizations doing the talking anymore. Delivering a consistent, low-effort customer experience from end to end has huge business benefits, but requires a fundamental organizational commitment that must cut across departments and teams.

A great way to get your organization on board to measurably improve the customer experience is to step into the customer’s shoes and experience that journey from their perspective – what your customers are doing, thinking, and feeling along the way.

Customer journey mapping will help you identify, with data, what’s working, what’s not, and will compel you to take necessary actions to improve.

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

3 Ways Online Communities Help Software Companies Drive Revenue

Written by Brian Sugarman on December 20, 2018 at 8:17 AM | 8 minute read

As consumers, we know that brands that consistently deliver value and make our buying experience effortless will continue to win our business over time. In my household, for example, we’re more likely to buy add-ons like Audible and Amazon music because we know the same level of convenience we get with our Prime membership will exist.

Our relationships with companies like Amazon remind us of the high bar that’s been set for the modern day customer experience, not just in the consumer world, but also for business-to-business (B2B) sales. Whether consciously or subconsciously, this standard of service influences our expectations for our buying relationships with B2B technology vendors.

This is nothing new, by the way...although technology has changed how and where we buy, successful brands have always focused on delivering valuable products to their customers and making it easy for them to purchase. However, companies that compete in markets with little to no competition have found ways to be successful over time, simply by being the best or only option available.

Think old school cable television – with so few consumer options, your area provider could win your business despite a reputation of delivering horrendous customer service. Now, with the rise of Over-the-top (OTT) streaming subscriptions, I’ve found that the level of service and ease of doing business has actually improved with my cable company.

The software business model is another example with (historically) limited competition – until now. In a sea of growing competition, it pays to focus on your customers.

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Topics: Marketing, Customer Experience, Customer Retention, Customer Success, Online Community

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