Customer success drives any good SaaS business strategy. Customer success can lead to increased customer satisfaction, decreased customer churn, and increased customer lifetime value. However, customer success managers have a long way to go before they can reach those milestones.
From improving product adoption to facilitating customer support, CS managers have plenty on their to-do lists. But what if there was a way to make the role of the CS manager even more efficient?
Online communities are the answer. Communities can consolidate the tasks of the CS manager and shift from one-to-one to many-to-many communications. With a community, you can improve the customer experience, streamline communication, analyze customer data and feedback, and enhance product adoption.
With the power of community, customer success managers have almost all the support they need to cement a lucrative customer lifecycle. Not quite convinced? Bettermode will dive into the four main reasons why community is a vital part of the customer success strategy.
How does an online community support customer success?
1. Communities centralize all your communication and content
In a community, customer success managers now have the power to reach all their customers at once. They can facilitate one-to-many and many-to-many relationships and cut out the inefficient one-to-one approach.
For example, if you need to send out a message or an update to your customers, you don’t have to silo your communication. Whether it’s sharing your company’s latest webinars, podcasts, product education materials, or product updates, a community centers all that information in one place. With all your content in one easy-to-find spot, your customers can better understand how to use your products and services. By having a better understanding of your services, your customers will receive more value from your company, meaning they are less likely to churn.
Communities create organic user-generated content.
Anything that your community members post within your community can now be leveraged in the future. Users may post about their favorite product features, ask questions, ignite debates, and leave testimonials. All of that content is a goldmine that can be reorganized to create a knowledge base, FAQ, or a dedicated space for product tips and tricks. Companies and CS managers simply cannot create that same amount of content on their own. Also, now that content remains available in your community as evergreen content.
Communities bridge the gap between CS leaders and the customer.
With a community, CS managers now have the chance to form closer relationships with a wider group of customers. Consumers are eager to learn more about the people behind the company and develop a kinship with them. This will humanize the brand and break down the communication barrier between the company and lower-tier customers. Online communities offer multiple touchpoints for your staff to form those significant connections.
2. Communities open the doorway for support
Everyone needs a support group in their life, especially if they’re using a new product or service. Your newer customers may look for direction and require more in-depth product support. Communities offer the chance to improve the customer support process by naturally connecting new customers with more experienced ones.
In a global community, experienced customers can take on important community mentorship roles. You’ll see community members answer questions, initiate discussion, and take on leadership roles. Since customer support can be very expensive, particularly for smaller companies, this is a great way to provide excellent customer support at a fraction of the cost.
Communities create organic support channels.
Support channels can’t always be open 24/7. If your staff is unavailable to answer a question, your customers can turn to the community to receive answers. This is especially important for smaller teams with a global customer base.
Members may get frustrated waiting for the staff or the support team to reply, but a self-service forum has all the answers they need right in front of them. This also reduces the number of support tickets. Then those questions can be added to the company product resources and exist in the community as evergreen content.
3. A community is a treasure chest of customer data
A community is a place to gather feedback, data, and information regarding the performance of your product, services, and customer success initiatives. CS managers can get a sense of user satisfaction and friction points by analyzing community discussions.
If you want your SaaS business to succeed, you’ll need to embrace customer feedback. A community contains unique customer insights, so you can adapt and improve your products and services, therefore increasing customer retention.
Communities lead to more customer renewals.
The community-led company, Commsor, claims online communities help unlock the data required to secure renewals successfully. “Success teams rely on renewals to predict the long-term stability of a product or entire business. Adding a community layer to this metric — calculating which renewals come from active community members vs. customers who aren't active in community — will offer invaluable insights into the customer experience.”
Communities shine a spotlight on customer health, so customer success managers can see where they may need to step in and improve a customer’s experience. If a member has posted about needing support, or their participation or engagement has slowed, then CS managers can step in to provide one-on-one support. Communities equip CS managers with the tools and information they need to ensure their customers are happy so that they can renew customers more efficiently.
Communities enhance product adoption.
Communities also offer the opportunity to analyze product adoption and receive product inspiration. Don’t be afraid to pool your community for feature development.
For example, you can run feedback campaigns in your community, allow users to request features, and have other users upvote or downvote features. This will give the company clarity on how to optimize its product roadmap. You can also offer some super users beta access and let them brainstorm and share their ideas in exclusive community spaces.
Also, if you know how to ask for it, communities can offer so much insight into how your customers use your products. CS managers can encourage users to share their own insights about products so that other users can see the value behind key features.
4. A community masters the customer lifecycle
A community simplifies a CS manager’s effort to retain customers and solidify the customer lifecycle. By leveraging your community to provide a better customer experience, you’ll increase customer satisfaction and sustain customer loyalty.
As said earlier, communities make it easier for CS managers to communicate with their customers, providing multiple touchpoint opportunities. Any chance you have to develop a closer relationship with your customer means a higher chance they’ll stay in your company’s ecosystem.
Communities offer a higher value proposition.
Your community is much more than another place to advertise your company’s product. It provides your community members with new connections, customer support, product knowledge, career development, and even greater value than you can predict.
If your customers receive more value from your company, they’ll have more reasons to stay in the ecosystem. A well-crafted community sets the foundation for long-term, sustainable customer loyalty.
Communities are here to scale customer success programs in an efficient and cost-effective way. They can increase customer retention and engagement, streamline communication, and support customers’ close relationships with your staff.
Building a community is not easy, but your company will be rewarded with brand advocates, reduced customer churn, and more opportunities for monetary success.
Above all else, a community improves your company’s value proposition and extends the customer lifecycle in your business.
Extra community tip: If you’re looking for more research about customer success communities, Bettermode has rounded up the best platforms for your company.