“People talk about you on the internet, why not give them a place where you can listen to feedback and manage the conversation?” This is the question I pose when someone voices a concern about having a flood of complaints overwhelm them by turning on a community. The truth is, no matter what product you sell or what industry you are in, you will at some point encounter customer concerns.
One of the great benefits of an online community is that you can respond to a negative review and turn it into a positive outcome. You are able to instantly connect with the customer who had the complaint or negative review, solve their problem and learn from it to spearhead a change in your organization. Most customers will be surprised to get direct feedback from someone in the company and this can have a dramatic impact on their perspective. Customers tend to leave negative feedback when they feel that no one in the company is listening to them.
Unlike social media outlets, where you don’t own the data or overall experience, an online community will give you control of every aspect of the conversation. An online community provides the opportunity for other customers to join in the conversation and provide support with positive reviews or helpful solutions. If handled properly, you’ll learn from the interaction, turn the conversation from negative to positive and build new trust with your customer.
Don’t get me wrong, social media platforms are important too, I’m a big believer in supporting/interacting where your customers already are. However, once we’ve established a rapport there, we direct users to where we can help them the most with relevant information: our online community.
An online community does not replace your presence on social media, but it is a complimentary tool to work with and respond to your customers in a more meaningful way. Sharing content within your own environment (documentation, videos, other customer's knowledge) provides an all-around cohesive experience.
If you're thinking a community will enable the most vital part of your business to have a voice or can build stronger online relationships – we can help, we’ve been doing this for over 12 years!