3 Reasons Why Your Customers Need a Customer Service Community – Part 1
While simple in theory, great customer service is incredibly difficult to master. But when mastered, customer service is a significant differentiator.
There are many examples of companies that have used great customer service as a differentiator—San Antonio-based Rackspace is a classic example: a business competing in a highly commoditized space that differentiates through customer service.
In today’s markets, business leaders recognize that continued commercial success depends on the quality of the service it is able to provide. So why do so many companies come up short?
- Self-Service Is Preferred
From dialing a 1-800 number to sending an email to a support address, at one time or another we have all turned to these familiar traditional customer channels to voice our opinion or get help.
Technology continues to introduce new solutions for achieving the goal of higher quality customer service. First with CRM and ticketing systems and more recently with social—enabling people to help each other, share information (and frustrations) and influence the products or services we buy. Companies that listen and react win; and now, companies are turning more often to social customer service.
Investing in social communities, with enabling technologies such as ratings, reviews, likes, comments, forums and the like, is a cost effective and simple way to improve service and sales. By leveraging on-domain social communities, companies can stretch their investment to deliver greater returns by gaining insight into consumer behavior, shaping how they navigate content and generating conversations that can double as fuel for research and development. And many brands, such as Dell, Microsoft and Titleist, to name a few, are successfully doing this today.
So why does social customer service matter to brands? Because customers expect it.
- No Longer “Nice to Have”
Brands recognize that customer service has evolved beyond just finding an answer to a specific problem. And although getting support is still a critical component of customer service, brands realize that improving the overall customer experience is really what gets a customer’s attention.
Your customers want:
- A community where they can troubleshoot an issue with other customers.
- Validation when they have an idea for a product or service enhancement.
- Your input when they need to upgrade a product or get an extra part.
- Your advice—or access to your network of customers—when they need expertise.
These customer preferences have a direct impact on the experience they share with others; and that’s where online communities come into play. These communities connect current and prospective customers with the appropriate information and people so that they can receive help and make better decisions. Customers find this ideal because great customers don’t just buy a product, they continuously engage with the brand—talking to their friends, making recommendations, and buying into the value of the brand.
In part 2 of this blog, we’ll identify why online communities are an integral part of the customer journey.
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