Mastering the Art of Building Successful Customer Communities

Mastering the Art of Building Successful Customer Communities

In today’s digital world, enterprises often come up with innovative ways to connect with their audience. Customer communities are one of the direct and prominent ways. In fact, a staggering 85% of brand owners believe that having an online customer community fosters trust among their audience. Moreover, it opens up new avenues for extending their reach and strengthening their brand presence.

However, building and maximizing the potential of a customer community is not a walk in the park. It requires careful planning and execution. Even if you nail the user experience, there may still be challenges to overcome before fully unleashing its benefits.

In this blog post, let’s explore some of the common hurdles community professionals face and find how to overcome them.

Cracking the Code: Understanding the Expectations of Community Professionals

  • Building a Vibrant Community from Scratch: One of the primary challenges community professionals face is building a customer community that is lively and engaging. It requires a strategic approach to attract and retain members, encouraging active participation and meaningful interactions.
  • Increasing the Footfall: In this age of overwhelming digital data and constant chatter, the presence of silos poses a significant obstacle for users within your community, i.e., the struggle to find relevant content. Community members may find themselves on a quest to search through multiple channels or discover that the answer they seek doesn’t exist.
  • Delivering Relevant Results: Community managers often encounter members expressing frustration over the inability to find pertinent information. For example, a new taxpayer might search for basic registration processes on an e-filing website, while an experienced taxpayer seeks updates. But if the same search results pop up, it leads to escalations. Therefore, providing personalized and relevant results is crucial.
  • Balancing Brand Control and Autonomy: Striking the right balance between moderating the community to align with the brand’s values and granting members autonomy is a delicate task. Brands must ensure that the community reflects their messaging, while also empowering members to shape the community in meaningful ways that resonate with their own preferences.
  • Moderating Content and Behavior: Just like any online platform, customer communities carry the risk of inappropriate or offensive behavior. Brands must invest effort into moderating content and member behavior, as such incidents can significantly damage the brand’s reputation. As the community grows larger, this task becomes increasingly time-consuming and challenging.
  • Limited Insights: As virtual communities take the lead in providing speed, convenience, and efficiency, it is essential to assess whether users are receiving the desired experience and whether the community is achieving the expected return on investment. Community managers need to evaluate the effectiveness of existing knowledge bases to identify and address any gaps that require attention.

Best Practices for Nurturing Customer Communities

While understanding the complexities involved in establishing and nurturing a thriving community, it is important to dispel the common misconceptions that merely setting up a community is sufficient. To overcome the challenges, they must debunk common myths and proactively find ways to mitigate them.

  • Start Small: Instead of overwhelming oneself with numerous goals, it’s beneficial to start with smaller objectives that provide immediate value to your customers and capture their attention. Once that is established, it is easy to achieve other goals in the future.
  • Choose the Right Platform: The platform a community professional selects directly impacts the community’s success and engagement. Consider factors such as user-friendliness, seamless communication across channels, collaboration capabilities, mobile compatibility, and more when making your platform choice.
  • Encourage Customer Participation: Driving customer participation has become increasingly important. A common example is running engaging polls or offering incentives in exchange for specific actions on a website, often through pop-up forms. Leveraging such tactics can entice customers to actively engage with your community.
  • Cultivate a Positive Community Culture: Creating an active and vibrant community requires proactive effort. Establish clear community guidelines that promote positivity, respect, and inclusivity. Encourage members to engage in constructive discussions while discouraging negative or disrespectful behavior. Active moderation plays a vital role in maintaining a harmonious environment.
  • Improve and Evolve Continuously: Customer communities serve as valuable sources of genuine feedback. Foster a space where customers feel their voices are heard by incorporating interactive elements such as weekly polls and live chats. Actively seek feedback to drive improvements, and ensure active participation from community members.

Building Revenue-generating & Customer Engaging Communities

Pioneering organizations realized the importance of customer communities long back.

Flexera, a leading SaaS-based IT management solutions provider, is one of them. By leveraging the community, it achieved a remarkable 31% cumulative case deflection and 40% self-service conversion.

To delve deeper into these achievements and explore fool-proof strategies, we recently hosted a webinar featuring Austin Grimes from Flexera and Todd Nilson from Clocktower Advisors.

Get yourself a copy of the on-demand recording here to watch at your convenience!