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Managing successful online communities

Matt
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What are the benefits of a support community?

When your customers buy or use your products, they will have many questions. They may have issues using the product, or they may have requests for future versions based on their needs.

Managing and responding to those questions and requests quickly increases conversion, satisfaction and the likelihood or purchasing again.

The statistics back this up.

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There is no doubt that unless you have a support community for your brand,  you are not delivering the best experience for your customers and risk losing them to competitors that do.

"We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It's our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better." - Jeff Bezos

Building a support community around your product or service will positively drive your business across all departments from product development through sales and into customer support.

Let's break it down and look at the key benefits for each department.

Customer Service

Encouraging your customers to visit your support community is the simplest way to reduce the cost of supporting your product or service. Creating a self-help culture allows other more experienced customers to offer assistance and troubleshoot any problems they have.

73% of customers fall in love with a brand because of friendly customer service representatives.**

Quite often, new customers encounter the same issues that would flood customer support if they were all channelled to your support desk. For example, consider a company that produces an internet-enabled smart device. Less technically savvy customers will likely contact support to troubleshoot initial connectivity issues which can quickly be resolved by peers in the support community.

These questions and answers form a crowdsourced knowledge base that will allow customers to help themselves without any intervention from your team. Furthermore, these questions will feature in external search results, driving more traffic to your site.

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Sales

The primary purpose of your community may have initially been to help support your customers, but it quickly becomes a valuable resource to help drive sales.

Your support community will be a relaxed place where customers talk to each other honestly and openly. They will be less inhibited than they would if they were talking to your sales agents.

Customers might be discussing a need for more functionality that you have in another product or service. Your sales team can move these conversations from the community to your CRM to curate new sales leads.

72% of customers will tell 6 people or more if they have a satisfying experience. - Esteban Kolsky

Customers that have had positive interactions with their peers and members of your support team will become advocates for your brand. They will help sell your product over social media and among their friend circles. Given than 90% of customers are influenced by a positive review when buying a product*, having brand advocates is critical to your growth.

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Marketing

There are several costly routes to learning about your customers and their wants and needs. You can conduct external surveys, or pay for research groups to look at your products and offer feedback.

56% of customers don't mind sharing their personal information in exchange for better service.**

The most effective method is to look at your community.

Your customers will be posting their thoughts daily. They'll tell you exactly how they use your products, offering you valuable insight into the problems they are solving with your product. This information should be used as the basis of new marketing campaigns.

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Project Development

Your support community is a direct line to your customers. You no longer need to use external tools and services to determine which features you should add next. You'll be told directly!

55% of customers are willing to spend more money with a company that guarantees them a satisfying experience.**

You'll find that some feature requests bubble up regularly. These are the ones you will want to move to your product roadmap.

Invision Community allows you to segment your community into private areas for beta testing. Your developers can interact with this group to work directly with your customers to shape new functionality.

Harnessing analytical data will inform development decisions. Invision Community can track keywords in user-generated content. If you have released a new feature, you can track how often it is mentioned in conversations to monitor its uptake.

52% of customers believe that companies need to take action on their feedback.*

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Setting up your Invision Community

Now we've looked at the compelling reasons you should create a support community around your products, let's take a look at how to set up your Invision Community.

Support Desk

Invision Community has a fully-featured built in support desk functionality. Commerce has all the features you need, including multiple support desk categories, reply by email, pre-written reply templates and private notes.

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However, if you already use another support desk such as Zendesk then our API tools mean that Invision Community can integrate with your existing support flow seamlessly.

Keyword Tracking

Invision Community allows you to track how often specific words or phrases. This is useful to monitor which of your products are trending or monitoring uptake on new features.

To set this up, visit the Statistics section of the Admin CP.

Question and Answers

To formalize a support or ideation area within your support community, Invision Community offers a Question and Answer forum type.

Question and Answer forum types allow your members to post questions and enable other members to upvote the questions and replies. Your support team can also flag specific responses as the "best answer" which turns historical questions into a crowdsourced knowledge base.

Showcasing Great Content

Invision Community has several tools to highlight great customer-created content. You can pin topics, and feature specific replies within those topics.

You can also convert posts into new articles within a formal knowledge base or blog to further help your customers find the right answers to their questions.

Extensibility

Invision Community has OAuth and a REST API out of the box. This means it's trivial to extend Invision Community to work within your existing flows. Integrate Invision Community to your SalesForce CRM and Zendesk support systems seamlessly.

Create a federated search to integrate your external knowledge base with client-generated knowledge.

The options are limitless, and we can take care of any custom integrations for you.

If you have any questions, please let me know below, or contact us to see how we can help you harness the power of community for your business.

https://www.customerthermometer.com/customer-service/customer-service-and-satisfaction-statistics-for-2019/
** https://www.qminder.com/customer-service-statistics/

Edited by Matt

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