3 Ways to Grow Your Business with Online Community-Based Customer Support

In my last post, I explained why 2017 is going to be a big year for online community-based customer support. Here’s a quick recap: online communities provide a space for customers to find authentic information they can trust in the most efficient way possible.

In this post, I’d like to give you three ideas on how to leverage this trend to serve customers in a way that captivates their interest, convinces them of your brand’s value, and ultimately drives future conversion.

Captivate Interest with Live Video

An overwhelming number of social media experts predict that live video will be an incredibly useful marketing tool in 2017. While customer support via live video chat is not a new concept, companies have yet to tap the immense potential of live streaming.

Live streaming portions of your customer support can be a great way to knock down barriers between you and your customers to capture their attention. Unscripted, raw, and personal—live video creates a more authentic customer support environment.

Here’s one suggestion for how you can implement live video streaming into your customer support efforts:

  1. Scan your customer service requests for common themes.
  2. Develop five minutes’ worth of talking points on your most popular support request(s).
  3. Stream a live response to the question(s) along with some helpful resources.

As a variation on this theme, you can set up a live Q&A via Facebook Live or Periscope dealing with a particular aspect of one of your products. Whatever the size of your live audience, you’ll now have a piece of evergreen video content to which you can direct further customer service requests.

While you want to maintain a high standard of professionalism, don’t worry too much about production values. Live streaming lends itself to a more authentic, off-the-cuff sort of customer interaction. A highly produced video would seem out of place.

Convince Your Members of Your Brand’s Value

Supporting customers online can be great, but it can also go horribly wrong. When done on the internet, your customer service interactions are open for all to see. If you mistreat a customer, it won’t take long for the entire world to know just how terrible you are.

On the flip side, digital media gives us the opportunity to magnify those magic moments that take place when customer service is done well. When set within the context of an online community, you have the benefit of a built-in choir of angels to sing your brand’s praises.

You can’t manufacture a truly magic moment, but you can create space for one to happen.

Choose one customer who will get an outsized proportion of your attention today. Don’t only answer their questions, but find out everything you can about them and why they use your product or service. Dig deeper and find ways to enhance their engagement with your brand.

Start a conversation. Build a relationship. Make the customer’s needs your priority. Turn this into a regular habit, and you’ll find the magic moments will take care of themselves.

Convert New Customers

From the perspective of search engine visibility, online community-based customer support generates a healthy supply of indexable content. Consequently, you’re eventually going to attract visitors with similar questions who may never have experienced your brand before.

To convert these new visitors, you need to train your support staff to think like marketers. In answering questions, they shouldn’t assume your customers know how to make the best use of your products.

Instead, they should always be explaining features and benefits in a way that trains customers to maximize their product experience. As they do that, they’ll organically craft a living sales letter that weaves in and out of genuine customer interaction. In the process, they’ll keep feeding the Google machine while giving new visitors every opportunity to get on board and give your company a try.

2017 is going to be an exciting year for doing customer support in the context of online community. What are you doing to prepare your organization for this upcoming shift?