Corporations must embrace community content. Your customers are talking about you right now, and you need to be part of this conversation. If you don’t, you won’t understand what is going on and this lack of knowledge will hurt you. You will also be surprised to see a quantifiable return for investing in community content

What does this community content do for you?

  • It will help you with product development by turning your customers into resources for innovation. Your customers can vote on product enhancements, suggest pervasive issues to fix, and in this way influence your roadmap. The result is a product that is more in-line with your customer’s requirements
  • It can help you with product support by allowing customers to help one another via customer-generated content for knowledgebases, wikis and discussion boards. Jupiter reported in 2006 that “Customer report good experiences in forums more than twice as often as they do via calls or mail”
  • It can help you during a sales cycle. Communities allow you to identify enthusiastic customers and you can use them to persuade prospects in purchasing your product
  • It can help you in your marketing efforts. You can use the online buzz and conversations with customers to promote your brand or products

More importantly, community content has a real return on investment (ROI)

  • It reduces the cost of creating content for your corporate knowledgebase – and in translating it into all the languages that your customer base requires. You should calculate the internal documentation, and localization costs for generating this content and compare it to the costs of harvesting community generated content
  • It reduces the need for customers to call in for answers, shifting them to cheaper channels
  • It ensures that the majority or product questions that customers have are addressed. What is the opportunity cost of an unhappy customer who repeatedly doesn’t find the answer that he is looking for in renewal or repurchase revenue?
  • It ensures more satisfied customers. Compare your scores on customer satisfaction surveys before and after leveraging community generated content. Look at answers to questions like “would you recommend the products”, “would you repurchase products”, “how satisfied are you with support”, “what is your impression of our image or brand”
  • It ensures that pervasive product defects are addressed, lowering the cost of support calls and patches. Calculate the number of patches before and after leveraging community advice on product direction and issues to be addressed

Are you thinking about the ROI of community content? How are you calculating its impact to your business?