Updated: Jan 3
Written by: Larry Goodfellow
Customers have slowly been gaining power in relation to the amount of time and attention companies give them. Vanessa DiMauro believes that MROC software is leading empowering this change.
Cost Effective and Powerful
In a recent article for Leadernetworks.com, You Say You Want a (Customer Experience) Revolution, author Vanessa DiMauro writes about how market research online communities are the future of customer experience. In an online research community, the members, rather than respondents, talk to each other exchanging ideas and discussing issues. DiMauro states that the customer has been the focus for companies, but there lacked a single meeting place for the customer to go, where a company or organization could interact with him or her and hear their wants and desires, and tailor experiences to those needs. She writes, “new research conducted by Leader Networks and CMX Media suggests that a customer experience revolution is underway and that the customer has been ensconced in his/her rightful place: the online community.” The research highlights that online communities are not only a cost effective and genuine solution for organizations to meet the demand for excellent customer experience but that they also are being used to drive growth.
Leader Networks and CMX Media surveyed over 400 marketing and community practitioners looking to identify “the business drivers for the most successful communities, what compels organizations to build them, and the key factors that help the most successful ones pull away from the pack.” DiMauro goes on to write that of all the unique trends and indicators for community success, the most important outcome of the research was how much online communities can do for customer experience.
The survey showed that while most respondents chose to start an online community as a way to meet the need for customer satisfaction and retain customers, it also turned out to be their most important driver. The other most important driver among respondents was a community’s ability to increase innovation (also referred to as co-creation). This is where a company or organization coming out with a new product or service, first introduces the idea to the community or is first introduced to the company through the community. It is in the community where this idea takes shape and is perfected. DiMauro writes, “In fact, organizations have learned that they get further, faster when they tap into the wisdom of the very people who use their products and services and enable their customers to fuel new products and services.” It is interesting to note that the software intended to meet customer satisfaction is also able to retain customers and increase innovative products.
A Place to Learn and Share
In the past, customers had a very frustrating journey trying to navigate a company or organization with the onus being on the customer to learn about the company or organization, and to find the support or information that they needed. The article goes on to say that now companies and organizations are using communities as a single point of learning, a destination, to provide their customers what they want or need to know, and to allow all levels of the organization to interact, learn and share.
DiMauro writes that from a “business perspective, online communities have been viewed as a cost-saving measure – a means to transition service and support into self-serve.” Online communities also drive revenues by retaining customers, producing satisfied customers and enhancing new or existing products. This results in savings as well as increasing revenue.
The organizations that are seeing the most profit from online communities are the ones “that are coupled with a line of business.” While some companies might use communities as a social add-on tool to the company, the successful ones use it as a pivotal central part of the company “that is in lock step with marketing or product development or customer service.” The companies seeing the greatest benefit have been able to use the community to reach their business goals and objectives.
A Way to Save Money
While customer relationships are the key to every company’s success, DiMauro writes that organizations used to see communities as a support engine and a way to reduce costs. They now see they can serve a greater purpose with top-line growth as the main reason for building a branded community. If you would like to know more about how online communities can save you money as a support engine, or how it can ensure customer satisfaction, retention and promote innovation then feel free to contact us.
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