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You Say You Want a (Customer Experience) Revolution?

Profile photo of Vanessa DiMauro Submitted by Vanessa DiMauro April 18, 2016

The customer has been king for a while, but he certainly hasn’t had a castle. To date, there hasn’t been a single, unified place where a company or organization can interact with the customer, listen to his desires, and orchestrate the fulfillment of his needs. Now, 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 rightful place: the online community.

We surveyed more than 400 marketing and community practitioners and sought 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. While we uncovered many interesting trends and indicators for community success, the most powerful outcome of this study is what communities can mean for the customer experience.

 

survey

 

Many survey respondents who selected customer satisfaction and retention as a reason for launching an online community also identified it as the most important driver. And while reducing support costs was identified as the primary driver by a larger percentage of people, many more respondents selected gathering ideas to fuel innovation (commonly referred to as co-creation) as a leading driver. 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.

That’s great news for customers and businesses alike.

Although it’s surprising that innovation and retention were cited as the primary drivers for community launches – it’s incredibly exciting news for buyers as well as sellers!

Traditionally, current and prospective customers have suffered through a fragmented journey in which they learn about and interact with an organization on multiple, disconnected levels. In the study, we learned that organizations are looking to communities to provide that single point of learning for customers. Rather than leave customers to carve their own path to learn about an organization, tap into support and education, and access thought leadership and customer stories, organizations are beginning house them in a single destination – the community.

From the business perspective, online communities have been viewed as a cost-saving measure – a means to transition service and support into self-serve. Survey participants, particularly those in B2B, still make the business case on cost reduction – but they are also seeing the connection among retained customers, customer satisfaction, and product and service enhancement requests. What’s more, they’re realizing that while you can only reduce costs to a certain degree, you can use communities to fuel innovation that drives new revenue.

But keep this is mind: organizations that are getting the biggest bang from their online communities have ensured that they are coupled with a line of business. They’ve evolved their communities from a cool social tool that’s bolted on to the business to a vital innovation tool that is in lock step with marketing or product development or customer service. Aligning the community with the goals of the business is the key to success.

So what’s the bottom line?

Customer relationships are the foundation of every organization’s success. Organizations are relying less on community as a support engine and cost-reduction strategy, and are viewing top-line business growth as a primary reason to build a branded community. Communities create a consistent and evergreen place for the customer experience to play out.

They can become the castle where the customer king reigns supreme.

Do you agree? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. 


This post was originally published in http://www.leadernetworks.com/2016/03/say-want-customer-experience-revolution.html by Vanessa DiMauro

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Profile photo of Vanessa DiMauro
Vanessa DiMauro is the CEO of Leader Networks, a research and strategy consulting company that helps large organizations succeed in social business and B2B online community building. DiMauro is a popular speaker, researcher and author. With over 15 years experience in social media leadership positions, she has founded and run leading online communities for CXO Systems, Cambridge Technology Partners and IDG, and has developed winning social strategies for influential companies such as Cisco, Cognizant, EMC, Palladium Group and SAP. Vanessa DiMauro is an Executive-In-Residence at Babson College's Olin School of Management, and holds both a B.A. and M.A. from Boston College. She serves as a Board Observer for Conisus and on the Advisory Board at WEGO Health. She blogs at http://blog.leadernetworks.com
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11 Responses to “ You Say You Want a (Customer Experience) Revolution?” Leave a reply ›

  • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

    Hi Vanessa,
    With customer satisfaction, an organization can experience just about the most intriguing success that it can harness.

    The customer experience that will lead to satisfaction is hinged upon the value that has been created for the marketer.

    I agree that the online community is somewhat the ‘castle’ where the customer can reign supreme.

    However, the success of this reign depends on a peaceful customer relationship.

    Its an exciting topic to ponder!
    Sunday William recently posted…Have Your Sales Increased With the Lead Magnets You Created?My Profile

  • Profile photo of Celine Profile

    Hello Vanessa,
    Interesting question and interesting survey! Your discussion is quite reflective and I never even thought of customer experience and satisfaction the way it was diagnosed here.

    For sure, this is very correct:

    “Customer relationships are the foundation of every organization’s success. Organizations are relying less on community as a support engine and cost-reduction strategy, and are viewing top-line business growth as a primary reason to build a branded community. Communities create a consistent and evergreen place for the customer experience to play out.”

  • Profile photo of Sarah John Profile

    Hey Vanessa,

    The customer is still at the center of every successful business. Every strategy that ignores who the customer is and what he stands for is bound to to fail.

    Customer satisfaction and experience should be well courted for success at all times.

    At the top of the best customer experience revolution, there should be the need to improve value and satisfaction.

    I completely agree with you on this

    Communities create a consistent and evergreen place for the customer experience to play out.

  • Profile photo of Maketta Profile

    Hello Vanessa,

    If the customer is not satisfied then, you will have no business. It is very important to find out what the customer wants and to satisfy their needs. Online communities are great for doing this because people talk in communities. You can easily find out what people like and dislike. These are extremely important things that a business needs to know.

    You can also ask questions about what your customers think about your business and how they think you can approve upon it. You can get some great ideas from your customers.

    A business should always be cultivating the relationship between them and their customers. A happy customer is a happy business.
    Maketta recently posted…How To Save Money In Your Internet Marketing BusinessMy Profile

  • Profile photo of David Profile

    It’s really a no-brainer. Whenever the customer has an option, the company has to focus on customer satisfaction.

    These days, even when it appears there is a monopoly, customer expectations are so high that the company has to keep trying. Why? Because there is no monopoly any more. Not with the Internet. Not with retrofits. Not with location mobility.
    David recently posted…My favorite online research tools for writersMy Profile

  • Profile photo of Chery Profile

    Hello Vanessa,
    Yeppers without customers YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS!!

    I do think online communities are great as it gives them a way to connect with others.

    Great Share!
    Thanks
    Chery :))
    Chery recently posted…Gratitude Is The Best Attitude For SuccessMy Profile

  • Profile photo of redtiger Profile

    Hi Vanessa

    I agree that happy customers are loyal customers therefore it should be the aim of every business to make the customer experience as pleasant as possible.

    I believe a mistake that many business owners outside of the internet make is to act according to what they believe is good customer service. The customer may think differently. Very few business owners actually have real “know, like and trust”-relationships with any of their buyers. They don’t talk to each other. They don’t have get-togethers. It is less of a hassle just to return the money when someone complains. Time is money.

    On the internet forming communities is an honest way to try and rectify this lack of communication. This system still needs to be perfected though.
    Commenting on blog posts is really not the answer. Often you have to wait a day or longer for a reply. Communication is simply not flowing. It feels artificial.

    Perfect customer service is still a castle in the air. Maybe one day we will find a way to achieve it. In the meantime it is a jungle out there. May the fittest survive.
    redtiger recently posted…How to determine your strategyMy Profile

  • Profile photo of Paul Profile

    Hey Vanessa,

    The whole essence of growth and retention is customer satisfaction. Without the experience it would be difficult to cut through the cost saving initiative of a business.

    Customer experience revolution is something every business must key into. And, I agree with you that communities create a consistent and evergreen place for the customer experience to play out

  • Profile photo of James Ling Profile

    Indeed, the online community could become the castle where the customer reign supreme! This is an undeniable fact as online communities serve as places where the real customer expresses themselves.

    Businesses that embrace online community engagement often experience surge in traffic even as the engagement brings about conversion.

    The best part is that a well researched and engaged online community tells of needs of each of the member!

  • Profile photo of steven Profile

    Hey Vanessa,

    This should an important statement for customer experience revolution seekers:

    “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.”

    So, to drive customer experience to the fullest, community development must be tapped to the fullest! t

  • Profile photo of Black Profile

    One thing I have learned from this post so far is that customer experience can be revolutionized if we embrace community development.

    Indeed, Communities create a consistent and evergreen place for the customer experience to play out. This must never be ignored!

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