The Role of Communities in Digital Transformation and Customer Experience

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Communities are here to help you offer a better digital customer experience, building closer communication channels between your company and your clients. It’s not a secret that building a community around your brand is an effective way to collect feedback, but how can we turn it into actionable change to improve customer experience?

In this post, we explore:

  1. How digital transformation is impacting customer experience?
  2. Customer engagement and online communities
  3. How can you provide a positive customer experience
  4. Ideas to improve your customer engagement strategy

How Digital Transformation Is Impacting Customer Experience?

Digital transformation involves organizations changing their business model to adapt to the digital world. However, this change requires a greater effort from companies. Especially from their leaders who are the ones in charge of driving cultural change.

On the other hand, today we see that digital transformation is being driven by consumers. For instance, customers are the ones to demand that the company is present all the time and on the digital platforms they use. As a result, they give them their loyalty, which is one of the most precious things a client can give a brand or company.

The good thing is that most companies have the customer experience at the core of their strategy.

With digital transformation, the consumer experience has shifted from one channel to two: the offline one and the online one, mainly through digital platforms.

However, there are essential practices that cut across both channels. Among them, are being responsive and generating empathy. This is achieved by maintaining frequent and as non-invasive contact as possible. In addition, it’s important to encourage recommendations and nurture the bond with those who recommend you.

In short, you have to make sure that customers feel identified and close to the brand.

Customer Engagement and Online Communities

A recent study published by Motista states that when having an emotional connection with a brand, consumers have a 306% higher lifetime value. Also, the document affirms that they are more likely to recommend the brand to their acquaintances.

The more engaged customers are with a brand, the more they’ll buy their products. Also, this probably means they will recommend it to others. That’s why building a relationship with your brand’s audience is fundamental. And online brand communities play a huge part in that!

A brand community consists of a group of users, consumers, or potential customers of a specific brand who have a connection with each other based on their commitment to the culture and values of that brand.

Thanks to the evolution of technology, people can connect through digital media. It’s through that connection that online communities are built. And these groups will help formalize their commitment to the brand.

Digital customer experience

According to Salesforce, 67% of brand customers will pay more for a great experience.

How Can You Provide a Positive Customer Experience

It’s important to focus on providing a positive customer experience at every stage of the digital consumer journey by developing a user and result-focused customer engagement strategy.

This strategy must include knowing who your target audience is, and making the right research through every stage of the customer journey. Also, you should give users the space to provide feedback, give their opinions, and reviews. And use analytics, metrics, and data to make sure that what you’re doing is giving you the results you want.

4 Ways to Improve Your Customer Engagement Strategy

  1. Know your audience
  2. Research your customer journey
  3. Give users the space to provide feedback
  4. Use analytics

1. Know Your Audience

If you’re thriving to improve your customer engagement strategy, you should know who you’re going to address with your content and experiences. Defining your target audience includes knowing on which platforms your users are present, and what are their interests. Also, learning how they communicate with each other and with the brands they like.

However, what’s essential is to know what their pain points are along the whole consumer journey. Communities will help you have insights and first-hand information about what are their needs, which problems they find in your product or service, and how to build the right solutions.

Niche communities are great online spaces you can use to detect problems and build solutions. As an entrepreneur, product manager, or marketer, communities will give you the chance to build a relationship with your customers. And give them a better digital customer experience.

2. Research Your Customer Journey

The digital customer journey has 7 steps: awareness, discovery, evaluation, conversion, experience, support, and buy again.

👀 Step #1 Awareness

In this first step, you must find a way of reaching your potential customers. It can be through content SEO, influencers who share your brand’s values and culture and are willing to promote your product, or through social media ad campaigns.

🕵️ Step #2: Discovery

When thinking about how to engage customers during the discovery phase, try focusing on facilitating consumers’ navigation of your site and access to your digital touchpoints. Or offering free trials of your product or service.

📋 Step #3: Evaluation

During this stage, you should assess how successful your customer journey is. Also, make your points of differentiation visible to your potential customers. It’s also important to monitor your users’ reviews and comments, answer them and take them into account during the next stages of the journey.

💸 Step #4: Conversion

This includes monitoring the user’s experience at the moment of buying your product or service. Make sure you’re using secure online payment platforms, and assess which are the reasons customers fail to convert (i.e., poor site navigation, delivery delays, or high shipping fees).

✨ Step #5: Experience

During this phase, think about how to turn your customers into advocates. This is the phase in which, if you haven’t done it before, you could think about creating a community around your brand or product.

Consumers are your brand’s best advocates! And as product users and brand lovers, customers love to engage in conversations and share their views with like-minded people. Online groups are the perfect platform to provide that kind of bond.

🤲 Step #6: Support

Be there to solve your customer’s problems and issues quickly and efficiently. Another way of giving users a good customer experience during this stage is to provide them with online self-service tools.

🤩 Step #7: Buy again

This stage includes everything regarding the post-purchase experience. Encourage your customers to leave positive reviews. And ask them to give you feedback on what they liked and what they didn’t about your product or service and buying process. Also, ask them if they would buy again, and if they would recommend the brand to their acquaintances. Consumers are your brand’s best advocates!

4. Give Users the Space to Provide Feedback

Listen to your audience. To do that, you have to facilitate channels for them to express their thoughts. And read their reviewscomments, and experiences. Your customers’ feedback will help you both learn more about what they like, and create content based on that. But their comments will also collaborate to improve the features they love the most of your products or services.

It’s also important to know that creating or managing a group is not enough to build an engaged community. So if you’re a community manager or have one in your team, you’ll have to show active participation and interaction with members.

5. Use Analytics

A big part of improving a customer experience strategy is using analytics to track success and prove the value of your work. In this case, to analyze your strategy you can use your consumers’ feedback. Gather information through community chatssurveys, or interviews.

This information should include data about what they like and dislike, what features of your product or service are working well for them, and which don’t.

Above all, one of the questions we tried to answer through this article is the following. How can brand communities support digital transformation and provide a positive digital customer experience?

As Steve Jobs once said, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.”

On the road of digital transformation, customer experience is key to keeping our users’ loyalty.

Therefore, community engagement is our most cherished ally. As they are the space in which customers will hang out with one another. And share their both positive and negative experiences and feedback on the company’s products and brand.

Victoria Mortimer

Victoria Mortimer

I'm a journalist with a Social Communication degree, community manager, and content creator with over five years of experience. Now, I'm working as an independent writer passionate about community building, entrepreneurship, and social media.