Customer relations are quite important for companies. Listening to their problems, providing a great service, and solving their problems are essential for a successful business. If you can build a healthy customer community as a business, you can grow more easily and steadily. In this article, we provide the necessary information about the customer community including the benefits and types of customer community, and a guide to building one.
What is customer community?
A customer community is either an online or physical special place where customers can interact with each other, have a discussion about products or services, ask questions, and communicate with company representatives.
Brands and companies can choose different platforms to build their customer community. Yet, choosing an online community platform has so much to offer. There are so many different software companies that can help you build a customer community. They offer extensive tools to facilitate customer engagement and help your business grow. We will discuss online platforms more in upcoming sections.
Now, let’s understand why it is beneficial to build a customer community.
Why building a customer community is important?
A customer community can tell a lot about your business during promotion/marketing. There are several benefits of building a customer community:
1. Increases customer engagement.
Companies can get closer to their customers and build long-term relationships by building a customer community. Customer community becomes the bridge between a company and its customers, or potential customers, and offers valuable interaction. Customers find the opportunity to talk with other customers and get in touch with brand representatives which are significant to customer satisfaction.
2. Helps you gain customer insights.
If you pay close attention, a customer community can tell so much about your brand’s current situation and the next steps to take. The community constantly offers invaluable information about your audience, purchase behavior, liking, and what’s to improve. The data you collect will be pretty beneficial to set up new strategies based on your customer feedback.
3. Builds brand loyalty.
Brand loyalty is one of the most important elements of a stable brand and company. An engaging customer community can give your customers a reason to be loyal to your brand because the customers that find value in being a part of a community are highly likely to associate that value with your brand.
The more a customer feels valued and important, the more they are likely to make repeated purchases from the brand.
4. Encourages customer advocates.
Your loyal customers become brand ambassadors. You can show your love to your loyal customers through rewards and recognition. They can review your products and share their honest opinions about their experience with your brand. You can offer them benefits and discounts that they will love. They can promote your brand and this way, your brand will receive recognition from a bigger audience.
5. Offers better customer communication.
If you provide your customers with a community where they can interact with each other, they can ask their questions in the forums before coming to customer service. You can use these conversations to help out customer support to provide guides and solutions. You can identify frequently asked questions and provide a better service based on these. This will improve your communication with your customers.
Types of customer communities
We can categorize customer communities into 4 different types based on different features and needs.
- Social community: The community is based on a social media platform like Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. The members can engage through posts, comments, likes, and dislikes. Social communities can help your company to reach out a bigger audience and advertise your brand.
- Support community: The community is based on offering support to other customers. This group can be based on forums or company websites. This community can come in handy when the customer service team is dealing with lots of other tasks. Customers can advise solutions in a quicker way to each other.
- Advocate community: The community where your loyal customers are. Companies often invite influencers and other loyal customers to test their products and share their ideas. Companies also provide free products to encourage customers to advocate and share real opinions on their products.
- Insight community: The community that is gathered to be researched. There can be surveys, Q&As, and other methods to receive feedback and compose better strategies. It is also a great reflection of the customer profile.
How do you build customer community?
You need all the essential knowledge about the customer community. Now, it is time to build one. Let’s go through all 5 steps one by one.
1. Set your goals
First and foremost, you need to have a clear understanding and idea of what is your purpose in creating this customer community. What do you expect to gain from it, how can you achieve your goals, and what should you provide and offer?
You can even interview or send out emails to your existing customers regarding their needs, preferences, and opinions about your company. You can go through the Internet to find out more about customer experience.
These will ease the process of decision-making and finding the right strategies.
2. Provide incentives for your customers to join in
The second step is to give your customers reasons to join your community. You can start by searching for customers who are already connecting with your product. Pay attention to what they are talking about to direct the formation of your community. This will show you what to offer them to be a part of the community.
3. Choose a platform
As said earlier, there are so many different platforms you can build upon your community. You can choose one of these platforms:
- Social media
- Public forum
- Company website
- Emails and surveys
- Community Software
Lots of brands and companies are working with community software companies to engage with their customers. An all-in-one community platform like Raklet can offer all the tools you need to increase engagement, manage memberships, process payments, send out emails and SMS, organize events, and more.
You can give your customers their own digital membership cards to show them they are unique to your brand. There are so many great features that Raklet offers which will facilitate customer engagement.
If you like to be more informed about Raklet, you can schedule your demo and talk to one of our specialists.
4. Engage with your customer community
After creating a community, it is bad for your brand image to sit back and let your customers engage alone. Don’t forget to join them and connect in a meaningful way. You can join discussion groups, share fun posts, tweet, encourage your customers to voice their opinions, and organize events -both virtual and offline!
5. Receive feedback and find better strategies
The customer community is a great source of information about your current situation, brand profile, customer profile, and preference ranking among others. Keep listening to your community, receive feedback and find better strategies to make everything right. You can use polls, surveys, quizzes, and more to gather the information you need.
Now you’re ready!
Now that you have the essential information about the customer community, you are ready to go! Before you build your amazing customer community, don’t forget to check these out for more inspiration: