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.
Branded Online Communities – Is This a New Approach?
Online community? Connecting your customers? This might sound like a non sequitur or a solution that’s been around for years, but customer engagement in a community today is a refreshing and powerful approach:
“Community programs are compelling because their outcomes can be connected to complex business objectives like innovation, culture change, and customer retention. These are some of the most tenacious challenges that organizations face today, making these findings particularly encouraging and exciting.”
The Community Roundtable, Communities Powering Change
Online communities, in the form of discussion boards or online networking sites, have been around for a 15+ years (remember when communities looked like this 2009 video from Microsoft?), but true customer communities today are much more than that: they are modern, powerful solutions for complex organizational problems, purpose-built for engagement across the customer lifecycle.
The Draw of an Online Community for Your Company and Your Customers
Future-focused companies invest in online communities, because they know that communities will impact far more than just customer loyalty.
Benefits from the community trickle down to increase satisfaction, revenue, and help grow entire businesses. Companies can focus on and support their customers’ most urgent and pervasive problems, early. They’re differentiating themselves, forging strong relationships with customers, and recognizing potential losses much earlier.
Companies with online communities create a link between customers and real people at the company. Customers with questions can tag the CEO in a discussion, or post a question and expect a response from a customer support member in the community.
This introduces an element of transparency that’s hard to develop anywhere else and creates a relationship of personal accountability between customers and the company.
Plus, customers can share creative ways to resolve issues and innovative ways to use your product, improving the value for every customer reading the discussion.
Imperva, a SaaS-based cyber security company, launched their community in 2019. One way they’re using their customer community is to improve the digital customer experience and grow retention. Their Global Community Manager, Chris Detzel, shares more:
CX teams have to address challenges that come from across the company, and these complex challenges require an innovative approach. Enter: customer engagement. A customer community that’s purpose-built for engagement across the customer lifecycle can help you solve complex organizational problems.
To learn more about how a branded customer community can impact your customer experience, download our eBook. We cover how communities can help you:
- Provide effective customer support
- Increase customer retention and revenue
- Scale customer success’s impact
- Turn users into champions
Elizabeth Bell is a Content Specialist at Higher Logic. She’s passionate about communities, tech, and communicating about both effectively. When she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her cooking, reading, gardening, or playing volleyball.
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