3 Reasons Why Your Customers Need a Customer Service Community – Part 2
In part one of this blog series I detailed two of the reasons why your customers need a customer service community:
- Self-service is becoming the preferred way to resolve product problems
- Customer communities are no longer “nice to have,” but an expected part of the customer service experience
In part two we’ll conclude with the third reason why your customers need a customer service community:
- Part of the Online Journey
Online customer service communities contain a wealth of ‘how-to’ information, alleviating some of the burden on more traditional, customer support services such as phone or email.
Here’s why they are so highly desired by consumers:
- People start with search: When you have a problem today, where do you start? Most likely you start on a search engine and type in a description of the problem or question. Companies need to recognize that the consumer’s starting point is not the company’s website—rather it is with search. And nothing feeds search/SEO better than a thriving community.
- Access to training and knowledge sharing: As a consumer, I can’t remember the last time I read a training handbook or instruction manual. However, online communities help minimize that problem because they allow for experts to connect with one another. And people love to share their experiences.
- A unified brand experience: Chances are, as a consumer, you are out talking about your favorite brand and looking for information or support on social networks, Google and their websites. A cohesive strategy requires that brands engage in the online channels that their customers prefer, which is probably a combination of these sources.
However, here’s where some social networks fall short—as a customer, I don’t necessarily want to engage with a brand on Facebook to get support. (Facebook isn’t always a great place to search for a product-specific technical support issue.) Similarly, Twitter might not be a great place to get a problem solved either. A brand might respond back and point you to another source for support, such as a forum thread. But, with a 140-character restriction, it’s often not enough space for a complete solution and certainly not the lone route for helping customers.
Websites are typically seen as the primary draw. This explains why many companies are addingonline social communities to make websites more interactive and helpful to consumers. Customers like the fact that their favorite brands can build on interactions in social networks and then provide them with more meaningful support, training or engagement in the community. It’s a win-win for all.
- Convenience, convenience, convenience: For some customers, waiting on the phone for support from a customer service agent (as the minutes tick by) is simply no longer a viable support option. Online communities provide an ideal situation that caters to convenience—a place for customers to visit during their own time. Think of it as online self-service.
- When all else fails, social still works: Still waiting on a reply from the customer service email you sent? When issues don’t get resolved through traditional customer service channels, customers often get even more frustrated. Customers are simply looking for a way to get an effective, fast response.
The quick access to support information is vital in today’s accelerated marketplace. With social customer support communities, customers can get rapid, reliable support and engagement directly from trustworthy sources. This, in turn, positively shapes the customer experience.
It’s becoming the norm for customers to seek help online. So as a brand, make sure you know what your customers are looking for when it comes to great social customer service.
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