How Community Data Can Inform the Customer Experience

4 minute read

July 19, 2022

How Community Data Can Inform the Customer Experience

 

Creating an outstanding customer experience is something that’s much easier said than done. Not all customers have the same needs, or even the same standard for what constitutes a great experience. With all the potential variables at play, coming up with a game plan of what to do can be difficult to say the least.

Though difficult, it is still possible and if you have an online community to turn to, the job can be made that much easier. Online communities are an incredible source of data for what your customers want from you, and the ways in which you could improve the current customer experience.

An online community or customer community can become a leading source of customer data – data that a business may not previously have had access to.

This data can not only improve the community experience or internal workings within an organization (efficiency, communication, customer understanding), but it can also inform and improve Customer Experience.

How?

In this article we cover four ways you can use community data to improve your customer experience.

Product Improvements

Customer feedback is a key element to an excellent customer experience. It’s necessary to harness the conversations and ideas your customers have to improve your product and optimize their experience.

Online communities are a place where customers are able to interact and share their experiences. By virtue of that, it’s normal for people to have conversations about what things are working for them, things that could be improved, and also what they hope to see in the future.

Since these conversations are generally happening between peers, they tend to be much more open and honest as compared to when they may be when talking with a representative from your company. Having an online community gives you access to those unfiltered conversations, and invaluable product feedback and ideation.

You can funnel this information directly to your product team who can use it to inform the product roadmap and build better products and features that are market ready. You can also use a community to close the feedback loop and speak to your customers about the ideas and feedback you’re not only listening to, but actually implementing.

More Complete Content

Offering your customers one place to find all your content resources is essential to a good customer experience, ensuring the content is complete is the key to excellent CX.

Community forums serve a lot of different purposes, but one of the primary things people use them for is to find information. The type of information they’re looking for can vary quite widely. And not all of it will directly align with the types of topics you cover in your company content. That said, some of it will.

For example, if you’re thinking of new things to write about you could check out your community forum to see what conversations people are having. You could also look to see what threads are most active, or what questions seem to be most common.

Ensuring that you are constantly building on your content resources and offering useful information that is updated and complete is going to exponentially improve your customers’ experience.

Better Onboarding

Good customer onboarding is a crucial aspect of good customer experience. Now is the time to prove the value of your product and its important to do so with clarity and speed – the faster your time to value (TTV) the better your chances of retention.

Similar to content, community forums can shine a light on gaps you may have in your onboarding process. Again, if you notice people regularly asking about a certain feature, then it could be a sign you need to offer more robust training and better onboarding practices.

You could also review whether people are posting about interesting ways they’re using your product. With those insights you might be able to add additional information to your onboarding process, or use it to build guided processes that can be used by all customers.

Personalization

Mass messaging makes the customer experience worse – customers expect you to understand their personal needs and requirements and ensuring you offer a personalized experience is essential to building a good CX.

No matter what you sell there are going to be different customers with different goals. For a long time many marketing departments have taken a one size fits all approach to messaging, but along with that not being very persuasive, it also makes the customer experience worse.

With personalized content you’re able to speak directly to someone’s needs, making it much easier for them to understand the value your product can offer them. Having that higher understanding can also arm them with the information they need to pitch your product internally improving your adoption and expansion rates.

Use your community forum to find any niches, or specialized groups using your product in a specific way, or to solve a specific problem. You could even find the most active members in those groups and ask to chat with them directly to get even more insight, allowing you to personalize the experience further.

Moving Forward

Making a great customer experience is certainly a challenge, but it’s not impossible. By utilizing things like your online community you can find invaluable data that can inspire new ideas, or help guide ones that are already in the works. When you create a better customer experience everyone wins. So, take the time to be curious, turn over a few rocks, and keep moving forward.

Learn more about how an online community can simplify and improve the customer experience in our exclusive CX eBook. Download it for free here.

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Nuala Cronin

Written by Nuala Cronin

Nuala is the Content Marketing Manager at Vanilla by Higher Logic. She has adored writing since a young age and graduated with a Master's Degree in Publishing and Literature from the National University of Ireland, Galway.

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