Thursday, January 3, 2013
Online discussion communities are nothing new, of course. These meeting places for customers with problems have traditionally been set up by vendors or by customers themselves looking to one another for help. In today's data-laden world, however, vendors should be using online discussions in a variety of other organization functions. For example, "chatter communities" supply market research, identify engaged customers, and open the door to volunteer testing and problem-solving.
Feared by some organizations as a place where grumpy customers will sign on to gripe, online discussion boards actually help control bad sentiments by furnishing a place to let off -- and respond to -- steam. Importantly, open discussions also allow companies to integrate customer commentary with other communication and support mechanisms.
In summary, Salesforce suggests that chatter communities should help solve multiple organizational objectives, to wit:
• eliminate "ghost town" problems where customers get no feedback;
• set-up solution channels for especially difficult or peculiar problems;
• integrate the various silos which provide customer support;
• capture customer knowledge;
• replace "noise" with real answers;
• establish a beginning point for newbies to check-in;
• help control negativity;
• demonstrate organizational credibility;
• measure the productivity, success, and ROI of support communities; and
• apply customer support activities to the larger data mining initiative.
-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo