What is a Customer Community? How to Build a Community for Customer Success
November 20, 2023
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What’s one thing you can do now to increase customer engagement, provide helpful resources, and boost customer satisfaction?
If you guessed building a customer community, you’re right, but it’s imperative to understand how invaluable a community can be in preventing churn and turning customers into loyal brand advocates.
Data shows that more than three-quarters of internet users belong to some form of online community, with participation especially high among Millennials and Gen Z. Your business can capitalize on this trend by developing a customer community, such as an online customer success community, which enables you to provide better service while also boosting brand loyalty and retention.
Customer communities offer many rewards for the customers who use them and the businesses who create them. However, they need to be thoughtfully planned and designed to thrive long-term.
This comprehensive guide was created to help you accomplish that goal.
Discover what a customer community is; explore three different types of customer communities; get real-life examples; examine the benefits of creating a customer community; and understand how to build a successful customer community.
In this post:
Customer community meaning
A customer community is a group of individuals connected by their shared interest in a brand, product, or service.
Customer communities can exist both online and offline. Customer communities are not restricted to a specific demographic and can encompass a diverse range of shoppers and end-users, from individual consumers (B2C) to other businesses (B2B).
Whether designed with consumers or other businesses in mind, online communities serve as a space where customers can interact with each other and your brand, building a sense of belonging and loyalty. Customers can share brand-related experiences, find support, answer each other’s questions, and resolve various issues.
By sharing their knowledge and experience, not only are your customers educating each other—they’re simultaneously educating your business, providing insights you can use to improve your services or products.
“[Customers are] using the product more than we are. Our customers are like our family, and we’re learning, they’re teaching us, and we also get that voice from the customers themselves. They’re talking about these cool use cases and workflows.”
By fostering a community spirit, your business can harness the collective wisdom and experiences of its customers to drive product innovation, enhance customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, drive faster growth.
Types of customer communities
There are various types of customer communities that serve similar yet distinct purposes.
Three of the most common varieties are:
- Customer success communities
- B2B customer communities
- B2C customer communities
Customer success community
A customer success community is focused on empowering your customers to reach their goals and targets by using your product or service.
In a customer success community, members share best practices, troubleshoot issues, and provide insights into how they are using the product to achieve success in their specific context or industry.
“There’s only so much we can do as a business. We can show you how to use the product and the tools in the kitchen, for example. But what merchants want to see is what other merchants are making. What does everyone else’s menu look like? So we find that is super valuable because all we need to do is facilitate that space, and then the merchants teach each other.”
This type of community is particularly valuable for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies and other subscription-based businesses, where customer retention and satisfaction are critical for long-term success.
B2B customer community
A business-to-business (B2B) customer community is specifically tailored for companies catering to other businesses.
B2B customer communities often focus on industry-specific challenges, networking opportunities, and knowledge-sharing among professionals.
These communities enable B2B customers to connect, exchange ideas, and seek solutions to common challenges, ultimately driving value for the participating businesses.
B2C customer community
In contrast to a B2B community, a business-to-consumer (B2C) customer community is designed for companies that serve individual consumers.
B2C customer communities often revolve around lifestyle, hobbies, or shared interests related to the brand’s product or service. These communities provide a platform for customers to connect, share experiences, and receive support from the brand and fellow consumers.
You can also integrate a learning management system (LMS) with a customer community. This provides a centralized system for customer learning resources.
3 benefits of creating a customer community
Establishing a customer community can yield a multitude of benefits for businesses.
Read on to discover three advantages your business can gain by launching an online community for its customers.
1. Enhanced customer retention
The support and knowledge-sharing within an online community can increase customer retention and reduce customer support costs, as members often help each other resolve issues and share best practices.
Learn how the Learning Cloud helps businesses improve customer retention through engaging, effective customer training and education programs.
2. Increased access to customer feedback
By nurturing a thriving community, businesses can gain valuable insights into customer preferences, behavior, and pain points.
For example, what customer needs aren’t being met? What discontinued products or features do customers wish you’d bring back? How, where, and when are consumers using your product? And what types of problems or issues do customers most frequently discuss with each other?
An online community provides you with answers to these questions, giving you information that can be used to shape your product development and marketing strategies.
3. Authentic user-generated content (UGC)
Satisfied community members are more likely to advocate for your brand and attract new customers through word-of-mouth referrals.
This type of user-generated content, or UGC, provides a powerful marketing tool—especially since, according to one 2023 report, consumers rank authentic UGC as the most trustworthy content, outperforming branded content and content created by influencers.
How to build a successful customer community in 6 steps
Creating an appealing and successful customer community requires careful planning, strategic execution, ongoing engagement, and the right tools to empower the community’s developers and admins.
Here are six important steps to follow when building an online customer community:
- Identify the mission and purpose
- Choose the right customer community platform
- Deliver value to your community members consistently
- Encourage community members to actively participate
- Assign moderators to keep the community safe, inclusive, and professional
- Track and monitor community success metrics
1. Determine a community mission
Clearly outline the goals and objectives of your customer community.
“It’s not a pool where everybody can plan. You need lifeguards and swim lanes. But the number one question you must ask is, ‘How does this support our bottom line business-wise?’ Beyond the KPIs, is there a value in doing community? If the answer is no, don’t do it. It has to be the right time and place, and you need the love of your customers to support it.”
Whether it’s to provide support, gather product feedback, or foster a sense of belonging among your customers in order to increase brand loyalty, your team should be able to articulate why the community exists.
2. Choose a customer community platform
A customer community platform is the system you use to create and maintain your online community.
Select a platform that aligns with the preferences and behaviors of your target audience. Whether it’s a dedicated forum, a social media group, or a custom-built community platform, ensure that it offers the necessary features for seamless interaction and engagement.
WorkRamp’s powerful cloud-based platform comes with all the features your business needs to build an incredible online community, including a native analytics dashboard, out-of-the-box integrations, group chat features, live video streaming, bite-sized microlearning, and advanced data encryption to keep your customers secure.
3. Provide clear value for community members
Develop valuable and engaging content that encourages participation, such as:
- Discussion topics
- Educational resources
- Exclusive offers, programs, or challenges for community members
WorkRamp makes it easy to create fun, memorable, and informative community features that get your customers talking—and learning.
4. Encourage community engagement
Customer communities aren’t just for spreading product information. More importantly, they’re also about creating a sense of belonging and shared identity among their members, especially in B2C communities.
Encourage community members to discuss their experiences, ask each other questions, and provide product insights. Your business should actively participate in conversations with customers, address their concerns promptly, and recognize valuable contributions from the community.
5. Assign community moderators
An online community should always provide a positive experience for visitors so they will want to return and continue engaging with your brand.
Assigning community moderators is essential to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment where all members feel valued and respected.
Establish community guidelines to ensure positive interactions and discourage spam or disrespectful behavior. Moderators should be trained on enforcing the community rules and removing inappropriate content.
Not sure where to get started? Check out LinkedIn’s tips for successful community moderation.
6. Track community success metrics
Regularly assess the performance of your community by tracking engagement metrics, member feedback, and overall sentiment. Use these insights to refine your community strategy and address any pain points or opportunities for improvement.
By following these steps and consistently investing in the growth of your customer community, you can cultivate a loyal customer base, drive product innovation, and elevate the overall customer experience.
Grow your customer community faster with WorkRamp
Build a best-in-class customer community that excites, engages, and educates. With an intuitive interface for learners and admins, the Learning Cloud is your all-in-one platform for customer-focused content.
Connect customers, scale knowledge, and gain valuable insights for your product roadmap with WorkRamp Communities. Join the waitlist to get notified when WorkRamp’s customer community software is available in early 2024.
The Customer Learning Cloud is the platform for all your customer learning needs. Discover how the Learning Cloud can help you improve customer retention and create loyal brand champions. Contact us to schedule a free, personalized demo.
Complete the form for a custom demo.
- WorkRamp Announces WorkRamp Communities, the Latest Addition to Its Learning Cloud, Centralizing Customer Learning on One Platform February 27, 2024
- WorkRamp Communities is Available Now: Scale Knowledge, Gain Feedback, and Create a Central Hub for all Your Customer Learning February 27, 2024
- 3 Sales Rep Ramp-Up Strategies to Get Productive Faster February 23, 2024
- 33 Examples of Employee Strengths and Weaknesses + How to Improve Them February 20, 2024
- 9 Examples of Employee Development Plans to Uplevel Your Team February 16, 2024
Emily HomrokWorkRamp Contributor
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