How-to Guide

5 Signs Your Company Needs an Online Community

If you have passionate customers, chances are you already have a community. Now you just need a platform where your customers can connect and collaborate.

Not sure if an online community is right for your business? Here are five signs your company needs one:

1. Your call center is overloaded

By cultivating customer-contributors in an online community to answer questions from peers, you’ll see a reduction in calls to your contact center. In addition to having a significant impact on call volumes, an effective online community can reduce complaints and improve customer satisfaction. With communities, support agents can go to the website, see the issues customers are having in real time, and immediately address them.

2. You’re looking for a non-monetary way to reward your customers

Customers expect more than just information and service online. They expect engaging experiences, motivations to interact, and opportunities to contribute and be rewarded for their efforts. Games provide a means for customers to enter a highly rewarding mental state where challenges motivate them to keep playing and participating. An online community gamification system goes a long way towards making your customers feel valued without having to offer coupons or discounts.

3. You need compelling content that’s easy to find and share

Trust us, your customers have a lot to say and are eager to share. It may start with solutions to problems or discussions about favorite products and services. However, your customer enthusiasts can also develop educational content for new users, and create articles about how to make the best use of products they’ve already bought. By turning your best community content into an enterprise asset, your customers have a powerful platform to crowdsource their knowledge and ideas for everyone’s benefit. When executed correctly, an easily accessible tribal knowledge base not only reduces customer frustrations but increases agent productivity.

Your best experts and brand advocates are in your community, so they should be at the center of your product and service strategies.

4. You want to improve your products and services

Through active listening, you’ll get actionable insight to improve your existing offerings. However, don’t settle for just collecting customer feedback; instead, engage your customers to help define your next generation of products by inviting their ideas and opinions. Your best experts and brand advocates are in your community, so they should be at the center of your product and service strategies. Not only does crowdsourced innovation deepen relationships and increases sales, it can also accelerate innovation, putting you several steps ahead of your competition.

5. Your customers buy once and never return

Despite all the money you’re pouring into advertising, are you having a difficult time fostering repeat business? It could be because consumers, especially millennial consumers, inherently mistrust advertising. Only one percent of millennials said that a compelling advertisement would make them trust a brand more.1 So, who do they trust? Friends, family, and peers. An online community provides an opportunity to harness the loyalty of your fans, giving them a platform to influence the purchase decisions of—you guessed it—friends, family, and peers. It will not only increase loyalty with existing customers but also heighten product and brand awareness and attract new prospects. As a bonus, user-generated content boosts search results and drives more traffic to your site at a fraction of the cost of paid advertising.

Brands consistently see that customers who engage with their online community spend more, remain customers longer, are less expensive to serve, and are more satisfied than customers who don’t engage in those channels. However, how do you choose a community platform and vendor that will enable you to deliver the digital customer experiences your customers expect? We’ve put together a short checklist to help you analyze and compare vendors, and look for the features that will best support your community. Download the free Online Community Checklist.

1 Elite Daily Millennial Consumer Study 2015

Get Lithium insights and best practices delivered to you.

Thank you for signing up!

Keep your eye on your inbox for insights and best practices from us.

Don’t miss out on key insights and best practices.