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HigherLogic and Socious

Online Community Blog

How to Use a Private Social Network to Improve Customer Satisfaction

Posted by Joshua Paul on Tue, Jun 19, 2012 @ 10:14 AM

Successful businesses are built on two things - numbers and people.

Private Social Networks Improve Customer SatisfactionThe numbers are what they are - market size, sales, cash flow, customer retention, etc. They either add up or they don't.

People are a related, but different story. The numbers would rarely be positive if your employees, partners, and customers weren't aware, motivated, and successful at their jobs.

When Customers Succeed, They Love You

Customer satisfaction is rooted in people finding success with your products and services. It also stems from people getting accurate and productive answers from people in your company and partners. See the trend? People and the connections they make with other people and information drive customer satisfaction.

Online customer communities are increasingly the choice of companies to connect people with other people for the success of their customers.

Here are 7 proven ways that businesses are using private social networks to increase customer satisfaction.

#1) Stay Relevant, Stay Top of Mind

Matter to Your Customers. The content, connections, and conversation in your company's private social network keep your products and services relevant to your target audience. Increase customer satisfaction by using the profiling tools in your private social network to better segment your customer communication and customer experience, so that each busy customer only sees information that matters to them.

#2) Provide Proactive Assistance

Provide Answers Before Customers Have Questions. Customers or members can be a little shy online at first. They may not ask for help in the community right away for fear of coming off as unknowing to their peers.

You can make your customers' days by closely monitoring discussions and activity, then pointing members to blog posts, discussions, or videos that could be useful. Depending on the customer, the nature of their problem, and the tone of your answer, you can respond openly in the community or privately to a specific member. Tip: You may have to create some of the content on the fly. Though you'll have a tight timeline, the relevance of your information will score major points with your customers.

#3) Consistency Breeds Confidence

Someone Is Always There to Help. Private online communities provide a 24x7 platform for supporting your customers. Features like document libraries, peer-to-peer forums, and access to answers play a significant role in providing consistent help to individual customers. Tip: Private social networks also provide a platform for employees to access archived answers, collaborate with one another, and interact with customers.

#4) Make It Interesting

Help Your Organization Become More Likeable. Break out of the mold of "run of the mill" knowledge management with incentives built into your online community such as contests, awards, and badges of status or accomplishment. Recognizing contributions and engagement helps to close ranks and provide a strong "sense of community."

#5) Keep Customers & Members Coming Back

Engagement Fuels Customer Satisfaction. The email marketing system built into your private social network can target customers with helpful and relevant information based on customer demographics, as well as their activity in the community.

Put together an email communication plan that segments customers and provides link to relevant information, files, or discussions in the community. For instance, you could send a weekly email summarizing the hot topics and newly uploaded document that would be important to each customer segment.

#6) Encourage Two-Way Conversations

Ask for Feedback and Product Enhancement Ideas. Private social networks are a gold mine for product managers. Over-communicate the features in your private online community where customers can express their product-related questions, comments, and ideas. Give customers or members expressed permission to hammer you with feedback. Successful communities need lively, constructive discussions.

Embracing two-way conversations will improve customer satisfaction by helping customers to feel like a valued member of your team, rather than like their ideas are going into a black hole. Tip: Use your private social network to validate products ideas with your market and communicate the status of enhancements back to your customers.

#7) Embrace Mobile Communities

You Community is Mobile. Are You? With the continued growth of mobile marketing, which is expected to become the primary customer communication platform in the coming years, the ability of a private social network to continue to engage the people from their mobile devices is critical.

Improve customer satisfaction by providing customers with mobile app features like support discussions, product documentation, and personal social networks on the go.

Private Social Networking Takeaway

Whether you are connecting customers to customers, employees to customers, or partners to customers, private social networks offer a community experience that can set your organization apart from the rest of the market. Most private social networking software also offers the flexibility to help your specific customers find success with your specific products or services. You'll find that this thriving support system and ongoing engagement is the foundation of improving customer satisfaction.

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Tags: Association Management, Social Business, Online Community, Customer Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Satisfaction

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