This is an extension of my previous article in which I explained the role of communities in elevating the customer experience. In this article, I will be discussing five basic and simple to follow strategies that can enhance the customer experience even further.
These are very generic strategies and apply to both the internal and external communities. However, one can always improvise and apply their methods to yield better ROI – stands for Return On Investments. Data plays a crucial role in devising an effective strategy that syncs well with the organizational goals and delivers a streamlined and responsive customer experience.
Now, let’s look at these five very basic pointers that can produce high-quality results.
While it is great to have a community built around the brand, it is also important to rank it higher in Google searches. Communities are often rank higher as they offer instant solutions to a problem as compared to any other form of content and organizations can easily leverage their internal communities to target a segmented audience which might have been difficult through a landing page or a blog post.
For example, upon searching “install nodejs on DigitalOcean” in Google, the first six results that pop up are from their community lead tutorials and on the seventh result their actual NodeJS hosting page comes up.
In the case of external communities, organizations can piggyback popular topics to yield similar results. However, these communities are more restricted and competitive.
Be Present & Open
High engagement generates value and increases interest in other use cases. A successful community does not only provide solutions to its members but it is also a platform where people from similar interests can communicate and participate in sharing new ideas. All of these are the attributes of a healthy online community.
Remember, people always join a community with certain expectations and if they are not met they abandon it eventually. So, it is important to run regular audits and keep feeding the community with updated and interesting content. There is always something new and exciting that can be shared to boost the activity and more importantly the engagement among the community members.
Advocacy Through Recognition
Recognizing the most active and contributing members of the community can help you discover advocates who do not only promote the good name of your business but also help you improve the product/service through feedback. Recognition gives a sense of belonging to community members and a purpose to stay connected and keep engaging.
There are various ways to recognize members. For example, sending the company’s swag, grant exclusive early access to the most recent updates/features, shine their names with badges, give them priority support, send them to events, etc.
Remember, giving away swag is easier and making it exclusive is a real challenge. It is important that the member completely understands why he/she was chosen and what value the recognition trophy holds.
Work on Existing Aspects of Community
Sometimes, just improving on the existing aspects of the community can produce desirable results. All you need to do is to look for the existing opportunities and work on them. Communities are filled with such opportunities and one can tap them simply by focusing on the following aspects.
Feel Seen & Heard
Every member of the community either expects to be seen or heard. And being the Community Manager, it is your duty to hear each and every member and to make sure that they get a response either from you or from another member. He may or may not come with a query related directly to your product/services, but if he decided to post the question it means he trusts your community.
Building relationships is the core value of the community. If you happen to have a healthy community that asks questions, responds to queries, and gets engaged then it’s time to spot the individuals and build a relationship. In fact, these individuals expect to be approached for opportunities where they can commit more to your product/services.
Open for Ideas & Creativity
Feedback is vital for the sustainability of any product and none better serves this purpose than the communities. Be it an external or internal community, Community Managers should always welcome the ideas and listen to the feedback with an open mind. Remember, these are the people who spend dimes to buy your product and want to keep using it but with certain improvements. It is important to let them know that they are heard and their feedback reaches the concerned person or department for further consideration and also keeps them updated about it.
You’re likely to receive destructive feedback too but that’s okay as long as the majority think otherwise. The members should always be encouraged to speak their minds openly and to discuss what they like and dislike about the product.
Finally, pre-invest in the community and related activities. In my previous post, I mentioned that the communities that are pre-funded and who have a roadmap produce far better results than those which are not. Dedicated budgets and funded roadmaps are vital for the maturity of the community.
Organizations that take community processes seriously empower their teams to take long-term decisions and supply them with enough resources to take action and run experiments to yield high-quality results. Besides, having a funded roadmap, it is also important to invest in the training and grooming of Community Managers as they are the front-facing soldiers representing the brand and steering the community.