They say that the customer is king, but they can’t truly rule without a castle. And in this case, it’s no longer enough to simply have a good product to win over your customers if you don’t have a good customer experience to accompany it. 87% of corporate executives believe that having a well-developed customer experience is as important as having a strong product. But to get to this state of organization, you need to create a community where your customers are able to experience your company beyond your brand. Gartner found that the number one attribute customers use to make decisions about products is the customer experience. It’s the new way of measuring the value of your company in comparison to your competitors, but what does it really mean to deliver an exceptional customer experience?
A customer community further enhances the relationships between a company and their customers. It encourages a collective and encouraging culture in which you can deliver great customer service by giving customers what they want, when they want it. The customer experience is a huge factor that is influencing a majority of customer decisions today, so it must be taken more seriously. Great customer service is critical, but is an often overlooked aspect of the customer’s experience. In reality, each aspect is a chance to change customer satisfaction and retention.
Don’t let your competitors win your customers over. Here are the top three reasons why you should start creating a customer community immediately to improve your customer experience efforts.
The competition is all in the customer experience
The “customer experience” is not a new concept; rather, it’s a proven business strategy that creates compelling, user-friendly experiences at every customer touch point, and provides personalized information that align with their needs. Internet and mobile technology has opened up a whole world where customers have access to information so that they can easily compare companies to find what’s best for them. Potential customers are able to reach for their phones, and with a few clicks, they’re able to bring up and compare different companies on the spot. With all this comparative information at everyone’s fingertips, it’s more important than ever to stand out and make a meaningful impact on your customers. In a customer community, you’re able to showcase what makes your company special through providing a unique customer experience that’s different from your competitors. Tailor your customer community to fit exactly what your customer needs are, whether that’s having access to specific information or even opening up communication lines that they might not have with your competitors.
Customers expect to find answers online
A good percentage of buyers these days start their searches on the Internet to look for reviews about products even before having any interaction with the company itself. Sure, the products themselves can be similar when comparing competitor to competitor, but it’s the customer experience they provide that will set them apart from the rest. Customer expectations have changed in terms of how companies should deliver service and support. Customers don’t want to pick up the phone every time they have a question, and they certainly don’t want to be put on hold for long periods of time by service agents. Instead, research shows that 70% of customers prefer to find their own answers online. A self-service community allows customers to engage with your company by searching for their answers on their own terms without having to deal with a 3rd party. This way, you’re not only engaging your customers, you’re also empowering them.
The power of a customer community
Providing the right technology for your customers to engage in is the first step. In order to entice customers to be active participants in a community, you need to provide them with something to engage with. This can come in different forms: providing them access to a knowledge base that will answer their questions, storing and sharing files in a secure location, and more!
From a business perspective, online communities are viewed as a cost-saving measure that allows your customers to find the answers they need with less effort on your end. The customer experience doesn’t necessarily lie only in your product, but the way that your customers connect with your brand on an emotional level as well.
The best thing about an online customer community? Being able to socially collaborate. The beauty of an online community is that your customers are able to help each other through community forums and ideas modules. This opens up communication lines, which leads to building trust and stronger company/customer relationships. Every interaction companies have with their customers affects the relationship, whether this happens through marketing, sales, or a service. And creating a customer community is a great start to fostering this relationship.
Don’t let your competitors steal your customers and take the leap to this new approach to creating the best customer experience. Your customer community is the castle your customers need to reign supreme.