Rex Hammock is Founder of SmallBusiness.com, here he discusses how you can help your customers help each other through engagement on your website.
- Create a forum to facilitate customer interaction
- Engage & participate in customer-created communities
- Plan social events & gatherings for your customers
- Highlight real-world case studies of your product
- Try using GetSatisfaction.com
- Utilize MeetUp.com to help plan events
As much as we want our companies to be helpful to their customers if you’d think about it, once you sell that product or service and the customer starts using it everyday, they become the expert at how to use that product or service, and they frankly may have a better answer at how to solve a challenge or problem that another customers have. That’s the important reason to create ways that customers can help other customers providing platforms and places where this knowledge that they are gaining from using your product or service can be exchanged.
So let’s look at a few ways we can do that. One, I mean just create an online forum for your users on your website. There are also companies now called like GetSatisfaction.com that are setup specifically to create customer online forums. Several other companies and startups are doing this.
But you’ll also find that your customers are creating their own communities. It might be on Facebook or LinkedIn or other social networking platforms. Don’t view those as threats. Participate in those and help facilitate that community. Wherever your customers are, that is your community. Help them come together and share knowledge and learn from them, too.
You might also want to take this offline and plan physical events. User groups are in technology fields, something that go way back where people who use a particular software or technology will form groups that meet on a monthly basis. There is a website called MeetUp.com that helps facilitate that but any kind of live event that helps bring your customers together and share information.
And also on your website and in your other materials that you send out, you may want to consider highlighting case-studies. Not just have information about the products and what it will do, but talk about real people and how they are using the products and services, what they are learning, and what that will do is facilitate the interaction between the customers. Once you start highlighting this is what this customer did and it’s a real person and they are doing it, people tend to relate better to other people like themselves than to the corporate spokesman.
So helping customers help themselves and even highlighting that and making that a part of your marketing activities really reinforces that this is a community. That this is a community of your passion and knowledge that want to—to want to accomplish something that is very similar. And that we can all help each other become better. I mean, we can all become better by helping each other become better.
So look for those ways again that you can help customers help other customers, and that’s a key to having a helpful company.