We all appreciate great customer service, no matter who we are. As a company in the internet age, there are lots of ways to get help with issues, and many different avenues customers can interact with a brand. Beyond keeping track of all these avenues and responding in a quick fashion, customers expect rapid resolutions.
In this fast paced environment, cutting edge companies are adding a new tool to the mix. To complement ticketing systems, CRM and phone systems, companies are creating customer communities. If you have not done so, here are at least 5 reasons why you should consider adding a customer support community to help your customers:
1- Communities Can Help Your SEO
When you have a problem or an issue with a product or service, where is the first place you are likely to go? A search engine of course! And why not? Isn’t it better to find your answer yourself than remain on indefinite hold listening to muzak?
Communities are a great way for customers to discover your website. They are search engine friendly and easy to index with their clear link structure. Better yet, with all the fresh content, Google and Bing are happy to spider your site regularly with new topics showing up almost immediately. Best of all? The content or questions are written in the language of your customer, using the terms they would use instead of marketing or product jargon.
2- Social Data
The word data is on everyone’s lips. Funny thing is, when you use Twitter or Facebook for social customer service, you are giving them the data about your customers and you get little in return.
With a community you get all the data. You can see what questions customer are asking, you can create marketing material, spruce up your website content and even gain insights to provide better customer service training for other channels.
Customer feedback can also be used to drive product innovation, or identify bottleneck issues in driving growth. You can create special or private groups to gain feedback from a subset of your community. Think of it as a free focus-group for people that use your product.
3- Always Open
The beauty of active online communities are that customers no longer need to wait for business hours to get a response. Customers now have the ability to engage with you, and a world-wide network of fellow customers and brand advocates. Members of a community are able to answer each other – 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
4- Crowdsourced Knowledge
If your customer support consists of email or a contact form, chances are your team is being inundated with repetitive questions. Sure you can create an FAQ, but why not have a live, constantly updated FAQ? Eventually the answers and content also becomes a knowledge base of your product. In essence, it can become self-serve support.
Also with a Community, users can search and find the answer they are looking for prior to posting. This means your support teams will see less repetitive questions and will be able to focus on the more complex issues. Your company might even learn something new from your power users.
5- Doing More With Less
Of course your support team will be involved in customer engagement, but now you can be more effective with the resources you have. Not only will you have help from others in the community, your customer service agents can now address a common issue for multiple users with one discussion.
As customers can connect with companies across multiple touch points it’s becoming harder and more expensive for organizations to effectively manage and engage with their customers.
Using an online community software for customer support helps not only in controlling this cost, but helps in providing your team with great data and insights, while providing excellent support.
Regardless of how your organization is currently handling customer support looking at adding an online community should be considered. The flexibility and breadth of customer engagement warrants a serious consideration of adding a support community to help your customers.