Published On: February 15, 2024By
The Rewards of Community Building - Customer Ed Nuggets podcast episode 14

Do your customers feel like members of a community? Many companies have found that community building is worth the investment — especially when educating customers. But breathing life into that kind of vision isn’t quick or easy.

Like content marketing, community building is a long game. To move the agenda forward, your customer education team needs to show up every day to recruit, engage and support new and existing members. Any feedback, guidance and content you share must be timely, relevant and useful. And you must communicate in a genuine, non-salesy way, or your efforts are bound to miss the mark.

Obviously, putting community at the heart of your customer education strategy requires a serious commitment. So why bother? What kind of business benefits can you expect in return? That’s what we’re talking about on this 14th weekly episode of the Talented Learning Customer Ed Nuggets Podcast!

 


Shannon HowardToday’s Guest Expert

If you’re active in customer education circles, you may already be familiar with this episode’s guest expert, Shannon Howard. Shannon is Director of Customer & Content Marketing at Intellum, a learning management system focused on customer education.

I invited Shannon to discuss this topic with me because she proves on a daily basis that community building is her superpower. And today we’re fortunate to learn from her customer-first mindset, skills and experience.

 


What is Community Building?

There are infinite ways to develop a community of brand enthusiasts. You can tap into relationships with existing and potential customers, or leverage communities that already exist — or both.

Regardless, the most successful customer education communities offer a wide variety of activities and resources to address each member’s unique needs and interests. Popular examples include online forums, social media groups, knowledge bases, live or virtual user groups, conferences, advisory boards, and customer groups within an LMS.

Although these formats and methods vary, they share common DNA. All are forums that bring together new and existing customers, third-party consultants, business partners, complementary solutions, students and others who share a common interest in a brand. In other words, rather than keeping extended stakeholders in silos, they invite everyone to the same table. Collective leverage!

Sounds fun — and also a little daunting. But once you learn the top reasons for community building, I think you’ll agree it makes sense to move in this direction.

 

Top Reasons for Customer Community Building

Community building has a positive effect on every stage of the customer lifecycle — from attracting and onboarding new customers, to supporting existing customers and enlisting them as brand advocates. Strong customer communities create significant business value in multiple ways. How? For instance, your company can:

1. Engage Customers at Scale — By leveraging public forums and automation to manage customer interactions, information sharing and learning, you can dramatically reduce high volumes of individual, one-on-one communication.

2. Facilitate Social LearningExchanging information with others is a key aspect of learning. Sharing questions, answers, issues, ideas and real-world examples fosters awareness, knowledge and growth.

3. Identify Advocates More QuicklyMonitoring community participation makes it easy to find individuals who are the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic about your brand. These customers are prime targets for outreach

4. Leverage Advocates More Easily — By encouraging your most vocal champions to share positive word of mouth, you can reinforce relationships with these ambassadors and attract new prospects to your brand.

5. Gather Product Improvement Ideas — Customers who frequently use your products and services often know better than you what works well, and what does not. Capture that valuable intelligence and use it to drive ongoing improvements.

6. Tap Into User-Generated Content — Continuously review and mine customers questions, feedback, and discussions to enhance customer-facing content of all types: FAQs, marketing materials, tutorials, reference guides and beyond.

7. Reduce Support Costs — When customers help each other troubleshoot and strategize, your organization’s support call volume and related costs will decrease.

8. Strengthen Customer Loyalty — Users who feel connected with a vibrant brand community are inclined to remain more loyal over time.

9. Boost Customer Empowerment — When customers can solve a problem quickly without coming directly to you they’re likely to feel more capable, more satisfied and less annoyed with your brand.

10. Attract More Clients — With the kind of word-of-mouth marketing that naturally springs from brand communities, customer education organizations can reach new prospects in a manner that is much less salesy and much more effective than standard push marketing efforts.

 


Watch This Episode of Customer Ed Nuggets

There you have it. With a “top 10” list like this, we hope we’ve convinced you to invest more heavily in customer community building. But all outcomes are not created equal! Where’s the low-hanging fruit? To find out which business benefits Shannon and I think are most compelling (and why), watch this brief video…

If you’d rather listen to our conversation, tune in to this Customer Ed Nuggets audio podcast right here at TalentedLearning.com.

 


The Bottom Line on Customer Community Building

Communities give members a natural reason to engage with others on behalf of your brand. These engaged participants tend to attract more potential customers. They can ease the conversion process, enhance onboarding and support others on an ongoing basis. Plus, they’re a valuable source of feedback and fresh ideas.

A vibrant brand community can improve loyalty, satisfaction, and profitability at every stage in the customer life cycle. Overall, this means your relationships will be stronger and last longer.

Best of all, you can start small and grow incrementally over time. So I encourage you to weigh the costs and benefits. When you do, I’m sure you’ll agree you can’t afford not to invest in at least some level of community building.

 


About Talented Learning Customer Ed Nuggets

Hosted by Talented Learning CEO John Leh, the Customer Ed Nuggets podcast is a trusted source of advice, guidance and best practices for customer education professionals of all types. In this series of brief video and audio “nuggets” (each 10 minutes or less), we explore key topics with numerous guest experts.

Join us anytime here or on our YouTube channel to explore all facets of customer education learning tech, from how to build a persuasive business case, to effective strategies, technologies and content that help professionals create, deploy and grow successful customer-centered programs.

 


Follow the Customer Ed Nuggets Podcast

We practice what we preach by providing our content in a format for every learning preference. You can stay up-to-date with this podcast series through these channels:

 


Learn More About Intellum

To find out more about Intellum, check the vendor profile in our Learning Systems Directory, or visit their website at Intellum.com

 


Need Expert Guidance to Find the Right Customer Education LMS?

Looking for a new or improved system for customer education? Be sure you make the right decision. Fill out the form below to request a free consultation with Talented Learning Founder and Lead Analyst, John Leh:


About the Author: John Leh

John Leh is Founder, CEO and Lead Analyst at Talented Learning and the Talented Learning Center. John is a fiercely independent consultant, blogger, podcaster, speaker and educator who helps organizations select and implement learning technology strategies, primarily for extended enterprise applications. His advice is based upon more than 25+years of learning-tech industry experience, serving as a trusted LMS selection and sales adviser to hundreds of learning organizations with a total technology spend of more than $100+ million and growing. John would love to connect with you on Twitter or on LinkedIn.
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