Onboarding is an essential component of B2B customer success—and customer communities have a major role to play in making (and keeping) new customers satisfied.
Why does onboarding matter in the first place? In a marketplace where there’s more competition than ever before, customer satisfaction counts. Especially in SaaS, where switching costs are relatively low, retaining customers means keeping them happy.
Moreover, customer satisfaction can’t be reactive. The best-performing businesses proactively track CSAT and engage their customers to help them get the most value from their investment.
This is where communities—always-available online portals where customers can interact to ask questions and share insights—really shine. How exactly can you leverage a community for user onboarding?
1. Tap into the wisdom of your most engaged customers
Successful communities typically have between 15 and 30 “super users”: people who make an outsize contribution by posting topics, answering questions, and even moderating discussions. In many inSided communities, super users are responsible for a quarter (or more) of the total content posted.
If your community is mature enough to have super users on board, you can leverage them to assist with onboarding new customers. A smart approach—as we talk about here—is to point newbies to a dedicated “Welcome” topic. Not only will they feel both welcomed and supported, they can get any preliminary questions answered.
Because super users typically possess a wealth of knowledge, they’re a great ongoing resource, too. Not only do they know all about a brand’s products or services, they’re also community experts. They can point other members to relevant community content, or highlight the correct answer to a member’s question.
2. Build a knowledge base of help content
One of the biggest benefits of a community—in both B2B and B2C—is that it serves as a constantly expanding library of content.
Some brands use their communities as a content marketing resource. Others leverage theirs as support portals, an approach that not only slashes support costs but provides customers with a knowledge base of constantly updated how-tos.
Customers can then search the community any time they need information about a brand’s products or services. If they don’t see the solution to their issue, they can post a new question. When someone responds, the answer will live on in perpetuity for other customers (and get indexed by search engines, helping make it even more visible).
3. Proactively engage customers (and prospects)
According to consulting firm North Highland, half of businesses don’t think they do a good job of providing what customers need during onboarding. Poor communication and a failure to understand customer needs are two major reasons why, North Highland goes on to say in this whitepaper [PDF].
The good news is, a community can open up new channels of communication early on in the customer experience. By enabling 1-to-1 and 1-to-many conversations, communities improve communication and enhance what brands know about their customers.
Furthermore, community platforms like inSided’s include a survey tool. Community surveys help brands learn more about customer preferences; some inSided customers, like online bank SNS, even use their communities to refine customer communications and improve how they share information.
By Martijn Terpstra
VP Business Development at inSided. Originally from Amsterdam but moved to New York at the end of 2016 to launch our US operations. Connect on Linkedin