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Wouldn’t you like it if highly knowledgeable people gave answers to complex, technical questions asked by your customers–all for free and without any effort on your part? Users helping users is not a dream, it’s happening right now and you can use it for your own business to greatly improve your customers’ service experience with minimal cost. 

In Support of Democracy

The balance of power has shifted towards the consumer. They can post on social media, forums, blogs–anywhere on the Internet. It’s a fact–companies have less control over what their customers communicate. The Society of New Communications Research released a study revealing that 59% of the respondents regularly use social media to vent their frustrations about customer care and 72% use social media to help them decide on their purchase decision. The Internet is a democracy, with consumers holding the power.

RightNow Technologies, a provider of CRM and customer experience management software remarked in a blog post:
If you’re still not convinced that the revolution in social customer service is coming, take a close look at your customers’ complete service experience.

You may find that it starts in the social web outside your official service processes–when your customer searches on Google or interacts on a Facebook group. And the service experience could also end outside your organization–when the customer tweets about what happened on Twitter.

Forward looking businesses need to embrace the democratization of the web and help guide the nature of customer conversations. One way this is happening is through Customer to Customer support.

Connecting Customers

You can help customers help themselves and in the process save money on customer care operations. It’s as simple as three steps:

  1. Create the Space – Your customers will need a platform, a space where they will be able to interact with each other. Provide a public forum for your customers to connect with each other and answer each others questions. Taking ownership of this forum will allow you to help guide the interactions. As an example, check out the communities created by Apple for Apple product users to share tips and solutions with each other.
  2. Attract the Crowd – You have the space, now you need the people! Tell all your customers about the forum you’ve created, drive traffic towards it, and make people look to your forum as the first resource for support. The more people on it, the greater the collective knowledge, and the stronger your community will be.
  3. Facilitate the Experience – Keep the your forum running smoothly. Keep spam away, moderate the forums to keep things civil, and reward people for participating. These rewards don’t need to be monetary. Using Apple as an example again, you receive reputation points when people find your answers helpful. Accumulate enough and you reach new status levels with additional forum privileges. Your customers will want to answer each others questions.

As your customers become more and more connected with each other it become more important to help them have a positive experience with your company. Help connect them with each other, gently guide the dialogue, enable them to share and help with each other. You may just create a community of loyal fanatics.

And you’ll save on your customer support expenses too!

 

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