Here are five of the top company benefits that come from building and nurturing a community for customers.
1. An engaged community increases brand loyalty, which leads to repurchases.
Brand loyalty is one of the main goals of every company. If customers hold your product or service in such high regard that they will actively seek it out even amidst a selection of competing companies, your business has something very good going for it. A number of companies like Apple, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and others have mastered brand loyalty.
Some companies utilise loyalty programs in order to secure ROIs and research has shown that 89% of US adults belong to some form of loyalty program and over 90% intend to repurchase with a company that they’ve come to trust. But, with or without a loyalty program in place, building a sense of community amongst your clients and customers has been proven to increase brand loyalty.
2. Turning customers into fans leads to word of mouth referrals.
While Brand Loyalty ensures that customers and clients return to the company themselves, it can also play a role in increasing word of mouth referrals. We know that 81% of individuals will trust a recommendation from a family or friend (rather than the claims of the company) so if you are able to establish the kind of trust in your clients that compels them to speak favourably of your company, you’re going to naturally increase your word of mouth referrals.
3. An active client community supports each other and, in doing so, reduces company costs.
Have you ever been asked by Amazon to provide a review of their products? Or to answer a question about a product that you purchased in the past? Millennials, more than generations before them, have been shown to expect an answer to their questions about a product or service as soon as the questions arrive.
There are two ways to meet this emotional need of your customer and client base: you can pay your own staff to be available 24/7, or you can create a community-based channel of support. Some companies like Google rely 100% on community-led support for products like Gmail. The community-based option not only saves costs (recent research shows that it was 72% cheaper to invest in creating and maintaining community support vs relying on company support), but it additionally strengthens the networks of communication between customers.
4. An engaged customer community enables the company to gain important insights about how it should interact with its customers.
More and more companies are realising the importance of adopting a human-centered design approach to understanding their customers. Understanding customers isn’t just about what sorts of products to design for them (see below), it’s also about knowing how to market to them and how to otherwise interact with them in ways that will compel them to stay engaged.
Human-centered design can be done in more formalised ways with significant overhead cost, but creating an engaged community can allow your human-centered design experts to gain constant insights through a feedback loop. When you understand your customers and clients better, you’ll be able to create better structures, services, and products to engage them at continually-deeper levels.
5. Customer-led conversations about ideation can provide free product development ideas to the company.
One of the best examples of a company that sources its ideation freely from its engaged customers is Lego. Lego Ideas is a platform where anyone can build and upload their own idea for a lego kit. Members of the public then offer it “support” (votes) and any kit idea that receives over 10,000 “supports” is considered by the company for possible uptake. This platform allows for infinite ideation to be freely developed.
(As a point of interest: Fortune 100 companies are also using a similar method to source ideation from their alumni employees.)
Building your community
If you would like support in building your own community, whether it is for current employees, alumni, or customers, Aluminati is here to support you. Our consultancy team is available to help with early-stage community strategy development or growth stage community scale-up projects.
We’ll work with you to better understand your corporate community and how to build and sustain deeper interactions between all your members. And of course, the stunning Aluminate Community Builder, our cutting-edge community platform, is available to meet the critical digital requirements of any modern community.
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