In these tough economic times, when companies often cut costs at the expense of product quality or customer service (or both!), what if I told you that there is a way marketers can reduce customer support costs AND improve customer satisfaction and loyalty at the same time. Better still, this can done quickly and in a cost effective manner. Sounds too good to be true. Isn’t it? Read on for how this can be done …
Here’s how – set up a branded and moderated customer community focusing not only on product usage but also underlying passions surrounding usage of your product(s) and let product enthusiasts and brand advocates help other customers out in resolving any issues. Community Moderators (company appointed representatives similar to customer support agents) need to step in only when required and provide necessary info or resolve an issue. For example, if you are marketing cameras, have a customer community on photography and travel (underlying passions) and not on cameras, where customers can share pics and tips, and help each other out on how to take great pics, which SLR lens to use or what should be the shutter timing/ISO setting etc. Who better to assist customers than other customers who use the product on a daily basis. Company representatives (moderators) can chip in where required.
This will not only reduce call volumes (and costs associated with it) to other support channels like phone and email, but will also empower customers share their expertise and experience and be recognized in their “community” of like minded individuals – something that is at the heart of Social Media revolution.
Besides setting up a branded and managed community, marketers should also integrate their CRM system to the community platform, so that activities of customers on the community can be monitored and individual customer can be recognized/rewarded on the basis of their contribution to the community.
Customer Support communities deliver ROI not only through reduction of call volume (and associated costs) to other support channels, but also can be a great source of new product or marketing ideas and drive customer loyalty through empowerment. You can’t go wrong with that one. Can you?
What do you think? Please do share your thoughts on the subject: