Customer Success Leadership Community

Creating a Community for your customers

  • 1.  Creating a Community for your customers

    Posted 14 days ago
    Hi!

    I just discovered this community in The Customer Conference and found it really great and useful for all of us working in this industry so I decided to give it a go with a first question:

    I work in a location intelligence SaaS startup in Spain, our tool supports mainly the retail industry and helps them take informed and data based decisions when it comes to location planning and everything related to the retail strategy. 

    Our tool is a bit complex as it has many different features and possible use cases and something we struggle with is being able to show our clients all the potential and value they can take from it as they usually just use the most basic features. 

    We provide a lot of training, help center, in app chat, support system and are thinking about hosting webinars but sometimes it is not enough.

    We tried some time ago to create a community where our clients can talk peer to peer and share their questions and learnings with the tool but it didn't really work. We did it trough a slack channel (many of our clients didn't know that tool so doesn't come natural to them to use it) but they didn't really interact or even connect.

    So, my questions are: do you have a community for your customers in your company? does it work and help them engage more? which tool do you use? what do you do to make them participate?

    Thanks so much for your help!

    #CustomerSuccess

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    Irene Giménez
    Geoblink
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  • 2.  RE: Creating a Community for your customers

    Posted 7 days ago
    Hi @Irene Giménez,

    Building a customer community is a great idea and there can be so many benefits that you get from having it. However, there are a few very important points to consider before pulling the trigger. Below are a few caution-flags and also pros​ to building the community.

    • First off, use a proper platform (https://vanillaforums.com/en/) is excellent in my experience. You want it to be easily accessible from within your software. You want it to be as seamless as possible for the customer.
    • You will need to spend some money in order to make it a success. 
      • Understand your main drivers for building the community and then set some goals against those. Ideally, if you can show a potential revenue stream from having the community and then being able to track that, you'd be set!
    • You will definitely need to hire a "community manager" or if you have a social media manager they could cover it. 
      • You want to monitor the chats (to get good info) but also you need a moderator to help keep the forums focused and "clean".
      • You will also need to drive users there, to begin with, and they would need a strong reason to keep going there.

    Some pros in my experience
    • Even if you have an "ideas portal" where customers can submit product ideas, you probably won't get to most of those. Having the community would allow users to help each other solve problems in your platform.
    • You'll learn more about your customers than you would through marketing or even direct CSM conversations
    • Your product team will have a field day - they'll get a real insight into problems customers need solved and also how they're using your product/s.
    • Marketing will also be able to pick out some gems to use for case studies and testimonials.
    • You'll find out who your real advocates and champions are

    All-in-all a community is a great idea, especially if you have engaged customers. But, it does come with a lot of work and some potential fires you'll need to put out.
    As with most things in life though, most things of value come from work and effort.

    Jarren

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    Jarren Pinchuck
    Global Head of CS and Operations
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  • 3.  RE: Creating a Community for your customers

    Posted 6 days ago
    Hi Jarren,

    Thanks so much for your answer, it is really helpful.

    As you said it means a lot of work so I'll think about how our customers will react to this and see if now its a good moment or we need to wait a little bit.

    In any case the information you gave will be very helpful for when we decide to start this up so thanks so much!

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    Irene Giménez
    Geoblink
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  • 4.  RE: Creating a Community for your customers

    Posted 5 days ago
    There seems to be too much friction getting people to download Slack to join your community.

    Have you tried out Facebook groups?

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    Customer success made easy.
    💜 Engageful.app
    Farouq Aldori, Founder
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  • 5.  RE: Creating a Community for your customers

    Posted 3 days ago
    Thanks Farouq!

    We haven't! We did a small attempt with Slack and then we postponed the community idea until we have more users.

    We are going to think and plan it carefully and we may launch it during 2021.

    Thanks so much!

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    Irene Giménez
    Geoblink
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  • 6.  RE: Creating a Community for your customers

    Posted 3 days ago
    Hi @Irene Giménez​ your situation sounds very similar to mine. We're also a SaaS suite of products with a comprehensive / high-value set of features and have found our customer community to be invaluable. The forum allows our customers to connect globally, get help, and inspire one another. I'm currently migrating from the Jive platform (which is sunsetting) over to Higher Logic. On Higher Logic, I'm going to have the ability to identify customers who are working toward specific use cases and serve them relevant content.  Let's see how it goes :-) and feel free to reach out to me directly.

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    Rhonda Keller
    Apptio
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  • 7.  RE: Creating a Community for your customers

    Posted 3 days ago
    Thanks so much Rhonda! I will!

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    Irene Giménez
    Geoblink
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  • 8.  RE: Creating a Community for your customers

    Posted 3 days ago

    Hi Irene,

    This is a really great question that everyone in the company should be thinking about. Jarren makes some excellent points about both the value you will receive and the resources you'll need to commit.

    I've attached two diagrams that I have used over the years to help teams understand an embrace the VOC model. This is very important when you are designing a community. You and your leadership team will need to be aligned with the following:

    1) Why do we feel we need a community?
    2) What is the objective of our community program? How will we measure our success?
    3) What persona are we designing for (e.g. why type of customer, what type of company, other parameters?) (Hint: don't try to be all things to all people.)
    4) What content needs to be produced to support the community?
    5) How will we manage the community? (Who owns it? Who are the internal stakeholders? Who else (other than the owner) will commit to providing materials and guidance?

    If you can figure out the answers to these questions first, then the questions about technology will be easier to solve.

    One final thought: no community will survive without an owner and a curator. Just because you use SLACK as a tool does not mean that anyone will use it (they won't know how, why, or when). However, if you have a curator who poses a question each week to the community, you will spark interest and discussion.

    I am not a community manager, per se. However, my role as a Customer Advisory Board facilitator has allowed me to participate in many discussions between company leaders and their customers regarding the value of such a community. Happy to share notes if you'd like to connect 1:1.

    Hope this is helpful.

    Best,

    Mike Gospe
    mikeg@kickstartall.com



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    Mike Gospe
    Professional CAB strategist & faciltiator
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  • 9.  RE: Creating a Community for your customers

    Posted 2 days ago
    Hi Mike,

    First of all, thanks so much for all the information, one day this will come in very handy and useful.

    We have thought about it and currently we are going to wait a little bit until we start with it as we don't think we have enough users yet to create a nurturing community.

    I am saving all the information provided on this channel so that I can check it out when the time comes for us.

    Thanks so much, truly.

    Irene


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    Irene Giménez
    Geoblink
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