Socious provides online community software to companies and associations to increase revenue, improve customer retention, and create more market-driven profitable products. Learn more about Socious online community software.
Where do you spend more of your time — discussing how to get more customers or members — or how to keep the customers or members that you have?
The first user groups were launched in the 1950s. People using technology, such as IBM’s mainframe systems, came together into loose clubs to support each other, spread best practices, and share ideas. From the dawn of the micro-computing revolution through the proliferation of web-based software, software and technology user groups have grown in importance and numbers.
When you first launch a private online community, your goal is to go from having a non-engaged set of members or customers to a highly engaged community of members or customers. However, that type of transition doesn’t just happen overnight.
The past few years have seen a big shift in customer support as more and more companies offer self-service customer support through online customer and client portals. While a reduction in support center phone calls might seem like it benefits companies the most, a 2012 study from Amdocs suggests that today’s customers also prefer an online self-service approach.
The Virtual Community Summit kicks off in London this week. It is a gathering of some of the brightest people in the online community management and social business strategy world.
With the conclusion of one year and the beginning of another comes the onslaught of “year end” lists identifying the “best and worst” of the past year. From movies, to books, to—yes, that’s right—even business strategies, practically nothing that happened in 2013 is safe from categorization.
One of the most common challenges of running a private online community is achieving consistent and continual engagement from customers or members. But that’s nothing new to you—in fact, you probably think about boosting engagement in your online community even more than we write about it…which is a lot.
While there’s no denying there are similarities between public social media networks and private online communities, there are also very distinct differences. According to online community research and consulting firm, The Community Roundtable, communities and social media fit different types of business strategies. While social media and public social networks align best with less intricate markets and products, online communities are designed to support companies with more complex relationships, products, and customer support needs.
To support these two divergent environments, it is important to understand that community management requires different skills and specialties than social media management—a fact that some companies realize too late.
Where do your customers go for support? Despite the simplicity of the question, there are several factors that make the answer unique to your organization.
This post was written by Tom Chambers, online community specialist and business development manager at Socious. As an online community manager, you are responsible for ensuring that the vendors and partners in your online customer or member community are providing meaningful answers, resources, and information within your community.
Vendors are not inherently evil and your members were not raised to dislike people who offer solutions to their industry. The quandary of allowing vendors and partners into your online customer or member community stems from not having a well-thought-out vendor program in place.
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