- By Sherril Hanson
- March 31, 2022
Customer feedback can come into a company through a wide variety of channels. With the increased use of digital channels, CX technology providers have been leveraging different techniques to make the feedback process more personalized and humanized. Customer communities are resources that many companies turn to for a variety of reasons, one being a data source for CX programs. These customer groups help provide a bit of the human touch that some feedback channels lack while offering companies a view into the minds of highly engaged customers. Both B2C and B2B groups can be formed.
Some CX technology providers offer community building tools as part of their solution set, including QuestionPro, Forsta and Alida. Dash Research interviewed Becca Mayers, VP of product marketing at Alida, for Dash’s upcoming report on Customer Insights & Feedback. Alida has deep experience in the customer community segment, offering Sparq, a digital insight community. “Alida has its roots in insight communities,” says Mayers. “Because they result in high engagement, it helps companies get to the ‘whys’ and ‘what to do nexts’ quickly. When leveraged appropriately, companies can even get to a level where they are co-innovating with these customers.” According to Alida, insight communities help companies get actionable, zero party data (ZPD) from the right people at the right time, at scale. On the CX front, these groups can be used to evaluate customer experience, build brand loyalty, and explore the customer journey to purchase and investigate website usability.
How does this happen? High engagement. Insight communities are NOT your old-fashioned focus groups behind mirrored glass or segmented groups of consumers that offer opinions only when requested. These digital groups, if well-managed, consist of members who relish the connection and sense of belonging to the community. These groups are carefully curated with profiled customers who can become deeply engaged as their feedback is able to influence concrete action. Members also often have access to exclusive content and incentives.
Alida has reported many successful implementations and has stated that companies who implement an insight community often see a 5x decrease in customer churn. Alida worked with Sky Betting and Gaming and helped the company create a community group called “The Clubhouse,” which consisted of more than 9,000 opted-in community members that were deeply profiled and located across multiple countries. SkyBet was able to talk to targeted customer sets quickly without the need for repetitive screening questions or to run additional analysis. SkyBet reported year-over-year uplift in customer loyalty by leveraging its findings to tweak product features and promotions.
There are different approaches for building and maintaining these communities, many focused on creating a fun and engaging experience for community members. Forsta’s digital community approach includes companies having their own mini social media platform that encourages participants to post, comment and interact on a live feed. Photos and videos a big part of the community, with Forsta reporting 1.8 million feedback images and 250,0000 feedback videos being shared. QuestionPro also offers a branded member website that rewards customers with interactive points, gamification badges, cash and donations.
CX maturity levels still vary widely amongst CX practitioners and programs, and the implementation of customer communities might fall a bit towards medium-high maturity in practice. However, the benefits of a potentially constant data flow from engaged customers merits putting a community platform on the wish list of CX practitioners who want to explore other information sources, and plug into a variety of ways to exceed expectations and manage churn.
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