A community is one of the most effective technology in the groundswell. It connects customers with each other and with the company. Communities provide information to customers and customers can comment or review products in the forums. This creates value and loyalty towards the company. We all know customers are vital to every business, that is why companies have thought of communities where they can connect with customers, listen, and talk to them. This platform has also contributed to reducing the use of traditional call centers that are costly. The costs associated with call centers add up, and much of the information customers are looking for can be found elsewhere (Li & Bernoff, 2011). The online community is a technology that has brought customers and company closer together.
Before starting a support community for your company, there are things you should ask yourself:
- What problem is your support activity trying to solve?
- How will you participate?
- Why build it if you can join it?
By answering these question, you will have an idea how are you going to proceed and use support community to grow your groundswell.
Now, here is some suggestion for getting started with a community to support the groundswell (Li & Bernoff, 2011).
Start small, but plan for a larger presence – you have to start small and know more about your target market. By doing this, you will be able to plan and execute strategies that fit the taste or the preference of your customers. Take small steps until you reach that bigger goal. Starting small is important especially if your company has many product lines that would need a lot of attentions. Find a base foundation that would support your expansion plan for a larger community.
Reach out to your most active customers – to know what you should do in the community your building; you have to ask you most active participants that are willing to share what they need or what to expect in your small community. Then, you will learn how the company can create value to these customers.
Plan to drive traffic to your community – when you create the community, no one will know that it existed. You have to do a little or a lot of advertising for your community to let the customers know that the company has an online community that can help them. For example, posting a tweet on your twitter telling to the followers that you have an online support in a form of community. Another way is to put an advertisement on the company’s website.
Build in a reputation system – “ a well-built reputation system encourages users to participate and behaves in the right manner” (Li & Bernoff, 2011). Creating a community that provides professional and quality service allows the customer to build trust that can prolong the customer relationship.
Let your customers lead you – Listen to your customer as they have opinions about the service of the community that can help improve and the innovate your groundswell. You have to make sure you capture any suggestions that the customer leaves. One way to do this creates a thread that will contain any suggestions or opinions.
ACMsoft. (n.d.). Think Big, Start Small [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/images/XzVbMD
Li, C. & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing