If you’re finding it tough to convince your organization of the benefits of an online community, or you simply want precise reasons why communities drive business growth, we hear you. And we’ve got you covered. Here we arm you with the undeniable advantages B2B communities offer for your Customer Success and Product teams, the customer experience and above all, your company’s bottom line.
It's our belief that Customer Success communities and B2B SaaS companies go hand-in-hand. 🤝 What does that mean? Well, we think your organization needs a community platform to scale your Customer Success effectively while keeping the customer at the heart of everything you do.
But we would say that, wouldn't we? Let us explain.
Firstly, before showcasing the benefits, here are 3 stand-out reasons for companies to adopt a user community:
1. To facilitate effective self-service. Communities are a great way to boost customer self-service. Users can answer each other's questions and/or find answers to their queries in company-created content on the community. This takes pressure off your Customer Support and Success teams and allows them to focus on higher-value, greater-impact tasks in your organization.
2. To increase customer retention. Communities centre around driving customer engagement. And, as we all know by now, increasing customer engagement is a sure-fire way to boost customer retention. Still not sure? Check out our ultimate guide to Customer Success for a detailed description.
3. To easily gather user feedback and build a better product. Using your community for product ideation allows the voice of the customer to help shape your product roadmap and ensure you are building a product that fits the needs of your users.
These use cases give a clear idea of the business benefits you can expect when you launch an online community. Of course, more often than not companies adopt a community to take advantage of more than just one of these use cases—download our eBook, The Business Value of B2B User Communities for some real world examples of how organizations are successfully using their community platform.
As a snapshot, take Customer Success leaders, Gainsight, for example. While their community boosts customer engagement, one of its main use cases centres around product ideation—gathering customer feedback to improve their product.
On the other hand, networking software company Extreme Networks launched a community in order to scale their quality support effectively and ensure users could exchange learnings and best practices easily. They currently enjoy a 91% peer-to-peer (P2P) support ratio, meaning that 91% of customer questions on the community are answered by other users. Imagine all the time that frees up for your Support team, and all the happy customers who get reliable, trustworthy answers from their peers!
All in all, it goes without saying that you need to understand your company and your customers' needs in order to make sure your business gets the most from your online community. For more tips on starting your own B2B community follow our 10 step guide here.
Now that you know the main use cases behind online communities, let's dig deeper into the tangible benefits for your business:
1. Increased Engagement:
As we already mentioned, communities are built for engagement. They are, by nature, platforms for customers to engage with your organisation, and each other. Having a secure platform where you can engage with your users on a one-to-many basis (as well as regular one-to-one, of course) is essential when it comes to making sure customers get the help they need and get the most from your product. The fact that online communities offer a safe, transparent, platform where the content is owned by you (not a third party), really makes community platforms a much more reliable and effective option than, say, social media groups.
We find that more than 50% of the content on B2B Communities is created by users themselves within the first 6 months and, over time, an average of 59% of content is created by community members. Communities also use gamification (think up-voting, awarding badges to users and having a points leaderboard) which is a great way to keep customers engaged and more invested in your brand.
The benefits of community engagement
2.Reduced pressure on your support team via self-service
One of the best indicators of how your community is helping your business is your P2P support %. Why is P2P support so valuable? Well as we saw with the Extreme Networks example, any time a customer answers another customer’s question, it not only saves effort for the Customer Support or Success team but produces a solution that other people can view in the future. Hello constantly up-to-date help content :)
Given that customers nowadays expect to be able to self-serve, rather than to contact your support team, P2P support via an online community is the perfect way for users to get answers from the people who use your product everyday. At inSided, we find that average peer-to-peer (P2P) engagement on our B2B communities is 70%—that’s 20% above the industry average of 50%. This can reduce tickets by up to 50%! Oh and remember, the likelihood is that users actually trust their peers more than your brand!
These are just two business benefits of B2B communities—there are, of course, a whole host more. So, to find out how communities help you build better SaaS products through ideation, drive customer retention and are drastically boost your organic traffic—download our free eBook, The Business Value of B2B User Communities.
Oh, and in there we also give some case study examples of successful communities. No more needing to prove the value of community—it's all there, plain to see! 👍 If you have any questions around user communities, or just want to share your thoughts on customer engagement and Customer Success with us, we'd love to hear from you—get in touch!