Earlier this year analyst firm IDC reported that the #1 social business initiative is creating online communities. Many companies, having seen the power of social media and customer-to-customer interactions, are now looking to create a cohesive ‘on domain’ community for their customers and partners rather than trying to manage interactions across multiple social networks.
Creating an online community is a key building block in a company’s overall customer experience strategy. Online communities can significantly reduce support costs, can allow a greater number of employees to interact with customers therefore improving two-way feedback and can increase product adoption as a result of peer-to-peer sharing of best practices.
For many companies, the corner stone of an online community is a customer forum. For customers, forums are a place where they can have meaningful, in-depth discussions and where they can develop a reputation that isn’t contaminated by their personal social activity. For companies, forums provide immense business value through support cost reduction and better customer insights. Also, forums can be carefully branded, configured and integrated into backend systems such as CRM.
If a customer community is a part of your customer experience strategy, a modern, well designed and branded forum should be at the top of your priority list.