Community? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Community!
“We have our customers. They signed our contract. The rest is up to them. They can deal with Support on a case to case basis.”
This kind of mentality may appall you, but it is sadly all too common among B2B organizations. At first glance, an online community may seem like a lame ploy to add a unique branded B2B social media aspect to your website, but it’s actually the best thing to come to Support since online chat! Basically, a B2B online community consists of a collection of people online sharing knowledge and perspectives with one another. This not only builds customer service and success, but boosts brand loyalty and awareness to a new level of respect.
We’ve thrown together some key reasons why having an online community is an essential component of a successful revenue engine:
How much does each support call cost you? How much time and manpower do you put into each customer support ticket submitted? Imagine the freed resources if users of your product were able to simply click on an icon and be redirected to an interactive online encyclopedia whose content is run by other users of the product – employees and customers alike!
- Customer Loyalty
When a particular subscription is up for renewal, if you feel a connection with your current vendor and fellow users of that vendor’s product, are you more or less likely to shop around for other products? Chances are, your customers will feel the same way.
This was not made by a marketing team with a soft spot for 7th grade science fairs, but by actual consumers of the featured products. Within an online community, knowledge, theories, and innovation can flow freely among customers, employees, partners and suppliers. Not only can your customers benefit from this wealth of experimentation, but you as the vendor can even discover new and exciting ways to use your product!
- Gaining Insights
Yes, the basic concept of an online community is customer-vendor communication and relationship building, but it can also be a valuable tool for departments (support, product development, account management, marketing, etc.) to disperse information amongst each other.
No, having a successful online community does not mean throwing valuable time and money into an abyss of vanity statistics. In fact, an online community is a low cost, high return way of increasing customer satisfaction and building brand power. Check out our Online Community Cheat Sheet for a quick, easily digested outline of how to build an online community with the right initiatives in mind.