User communities

4 Min Read

The Top 4 Advantages of Running a Customer Community

In a rapidly changing digital landscape with increasing customer expectations, companies struggle to provide a good experience to their customers. Online communities are essential to improve this.

Customer communities have proven themselves over the last decades to be very effective tools to provide a great customer experience. So let’s take a look at the advantages of implementing one yourself. We’ll cover how next-generation communities continue to evolve and adapt to the current landscape, leaving behind traditional online communities.

To learn more, view our recent webinar about next gen customer communities. Watch the replay here.

The Top 4 Advantages of Running a Customer Community

There will always be a need for real human contact

Customers engage more frequently and through more channels than ever before. In turn companies turn to digital and automated communication to keep up. As a result, communication is less human than ever. The problem here is that people want to talk to real people, which leads to a technology paradox.

Although companies want to keep individual and human communication with their customers, this requires hiring more and more customer service agents. As businesses spend more money and resources on customer service, automated communication becomes a tempting alternative even though it compromises the customer experience.

The answer is hidden in plain sight. In online communities customers can interact and get advice from other customers. Communities fill the gap between the customer’s desire for human contact and the company’s need to scale customer service. It even empowers self-service. By optimizing your community with the latest tech, customers can find answers to their questions without having to contact your company or disrupting their customer journey. How’s that for a good customer experience?

Communities drive traffic to other digital assets

Communities are also a source of high quality web traffic. Search engines rank community content very highly. Thus, an active community raises your SEO value significantly. On average Google generates 70-80% of traffic to the community. The average click through rate (CTR) to your own website is 8%. In total, community-generated traffic can add an additional 10% of traffic to your website. This makes an online community an important traffic driver for your digital assets.

Communities outperform FAQ systems

An online community can do more than facilitate great conversations. When online communities are used for customer support, it becomes the perfect channel to capture answers that are in-depth and written in your customer’s tone of voice. Thus, next-generation communities also function as a social knowledge base, filled with user-generated content, long tail questions and rich answers.

In this case community content can be extremely useful and indexing it is a great idea. Nowadays we see online communities outperforming FAQ systems in terms of depth and detail of content. 1 question on an FAQ normally relates to 20 solutions on a community. More importantly, this is achieved without having to hire a knowledge team to think of possible Q&A’s which result in a static and oftentimes incomplete FAQ section.

Communities will become the cornerstone of other service channels

As mentioned earlier, these days people can ask support questions through all kinds of channels. These channels are evolving fast. They can call or chat with an agent, email your team or deal with a chatbot among many others. Before they get to your service channel Google is an important starting point. In the US, 20% of all Google searches already come from voice. So what you really have to think about is, how can you provide relevant content on so many different touchpoints?

With the right technology, a community can unleash community content to other touchpoints like Google cards, voice and even bots. Communities built with inSided are well-prepared for this. Our customers can use clever algorithms to show relevant community content to a customer looking for answers, anywhere they are on your website.

Companies also get great value from embedding community content on their webpages. When a user searches for something on your website, relevant content from the community is shown. This means that unlike other communities that are isolated and well-hidden, inSided communities are better integrated to the website, becoming visible when your customers need it to be. What’s more, embedding community content straight in the website means that customers can get value from community content, but don’t have to leave your website and abandon their current commerce or service process. This provides a smoother customer experience.

Watch the webinar and learn how you can make your community future-proof

Watch the replay of our recent webinar on next gen customer communities. Would you like to learn more about how you can make your own community future proof? Get in touch for a good conversation.