Building online customer communities and forging deeper relationships with prospects and customers alike is how a business goes from merely creating competition in the market to delighting customers and achieving trust and loyalty.
Today, your customers are part of your business’ community. They are a dynamic group of website visitors and paying customers with rapidly evolving expectations that your business will have to address, or risk losing to competition.
Smart businesses are starting to realize the importance of communities and insights they offer into the combined intelligence of prospects and customers. As a result, these companies are leveraging communities across various departments; customer support and service, sales, marketing, and product development, to enrich the customer experience and enable the co-creation of customer value.
While this may not come as a surprise, research confirms that engaged customers are more loyal to businesses. Customers who engage in online communities have higher satisfaction and tend to buy more than those who do not.
Gartner strongly recommends driving customer retention and growth by using advocacy marketing and customer communities. A survey conducted as a part of their report on “Tech Go-to-Market: Use Community Programs to Encourage and Expand Customer Advocacy,” reveals that 91% of customers who engage in community, user group, or advocacy programs feel that their providers value them more because of those programs.
Let’s take a closer look at the various advantages communities can bring to your organization:
Communities offer businesses a way to engage with customers and manage the conversation effectively
Engaging with customers through a customer community is a great way to foster customer trust and loyalty. Communities offer a convenient and accommodating environment for existing customers to discuss their insights, struggles and questions. They also offer companies the opportunity to monitor these communities and address issues promptly, thereby ensuring customer satisfaction. No matter what stage of the sales cycle a customer is in, businesses can engage, interact, and have meaningful conversations with customers. These are excellent formats to gain important insights for business improvement.
Build brand advocates
Customers are no longer swayed by loud marketing and promotional messages. But, current customers are an excellent source to boost your reputation and build inherent trust with prospective customers.
Communities are a great way to show both existing and future customers that you truly care. By engaging your users throughout the customer lifecycle, you turn them into brand advocates who will talk about your brand and drive loyalty in a meaningful way. Communities offer you a way to monitor what’s being said about your company in third party channels and use that information to build better products and offer improved services.
Drive loyalty and revenue
Companies with high rates of customer engagement can increase revenues by cross selling and upselling; but that’s not all. Online communities assure customers and prospects that you are transparent in your communication and dealings, which is a great way to build loyalty and earn trust.
Since user-generated content has greater credibility in building brand trust than employee-generated content, customer loyalty also generates revenue through demand generation.
Provide low friction engagement to the “Digital Native” audience
A large section of your customers comprise “digital natives”, i.e. a generation that has been raised with some sort of digital devices being a part of their daily lives. They don’t want to be entered into exhaustive phone trees or have to log tickets every time they need a problem solved.
This customer segment requires quick, effective and personalized answers that they can easily find by performing a Google search; or by identifying the right forums or communities, where they can talk to other customers who can address their concerns.
Get instant feedback and insights
Communities create a channel for product and service teams to connect with customers and get feedback on, and insights into the adoption of your product. It’s a place for your customers to share what they love about your product, discuss issues they may be encountering, and what they’d like to see in future releases.
Everything you need to make your product better than ever and delight your customers lies in the meaningful conversations you are helping foster amongst your customers.
Reduce customer support costs
If you are providing enterprise support and looking to reduce support costs, communities offer a great self-service opportunity. Not only will your customers appreciate being able to take care of an issue themselves, but you will save money by helping customers help themselves.
Watch now: Are you Driving the Customer Experience?
Providing a customer community is no longer optional for companies
It is projected that by 2018, 50% of customer support interactions will be digitalized and occur in online communities. By integrating communities with customer service systems and data, companies can provide a seamless self‑help experience for customers while obtaining views into customer behavior.
Source: Customer Experience at IDC
INRY can help businesses build communities
We leverage ServiceNow Customer Service Management to implement communities that have the capabilities of forums, portals, and knowledge bases all rolled into one. Our customized communities will enable you to effectively market to prospective customers as well as improve current customer sales, engagement, satisfaction and retention. We ensure that the communities we build aren't just solving problems, but actively adding value to your business outcomes.
ServiceNow Customer Service Management has gained impressive endorsements as a forward thinking approach to customer service compared to CRM based tools. With ServiceNow, you can engage with customers on a deeper level, provide personalized self-service options, drive accountability for issue resolutions and most importantly, leverage Internet of Things (IoT) to proactively work on preventing issues.
ServiceNow Communities, is a major new application in ServiceNow’s Customer Service Management solution that takes a step forward in the market. Now every customer can have access to a community of experts and peers with a personalized, integrated experience that enables companies to build long‑term relationships and customer loyalty.
A closer look at what ServiceNow Communities offers:
- Personalized self‑service experience for every customer. Customers can easily obtain information that matters to them by interacting with peers and experts and from contextual search.
- An engagement platform where users can ask questions, collaborate with other users and get quick responses from experts.
- Community managers can easily convert unanswered questions into cases and harvest formal knowledge out of solved answers.
- Companies can reduce case volume, obtain new perspectives into product use or customer needs, and expand overall reach to new prospects.
- Companies can leverage core capabilities such as managed forums, curated topics, support for multiple content types, moderation and granular permissions.
Ready to get started?
Take a look at the INRY Approach
For successful implementation of ServiceNow CSM you will need a meticulous and well-crafted approach to leverage communities to their fullest capability.
As a ServiceNow Gold Services partner, we deliver CSM implementations that are thoughtful and people centric. We understand requirements, nuances and objectives that are specific to your organization and use them as the foundation for defining an approach that will enable you to achieve your business goals. We also take into consideration specialized SME knowledge and combine it with our technical platform skills and experience to implement ServiceNow quickly and successfully.
Introducing the PASS methodology
INRY has developed a proprietary delivery methodology called Process Area Specific Sprints (PASS). This methodology relies on a combination of AGILE© and PRINCE2© methodologies. PASS is designed to rapidly deploy and introduce ServiceNow functionality into the organization’s departments with a targeted focus. Clients are engaged throughout the delivery cycle and rapidly start using the functionality developed.
No matter your reason to implement communities at your organization, these interactive forums are designed to increase engagement and guide conversations, have quickly become imperative to businesses across the board.