Want to raise the bar with your community platform? Read these tips to better leverage customer feedback for business growth.
Most people struggle when looking for solutions to their problems. Many don’t even know where to look. Luckily, the internet holds many answers. And not just any answers, tested ones too. That’s the purpose of a community platform. Community platforms are pages or sites designed to create an environment for sharing problems and solutions. The highest performing community platforms give users the opportunity to engage in back-and-forth over difficult problems, and may find multiple solutions along the way. So why are the ones based on customer feedback important? They provide much-needed answers to your community while giving you valuable customer insight.
Why Should You Care About Customer Feedback?
Listening to your customer base is the easiest way to find processes to improve your product/service and community. Maybe the interface isn’t as user-friendly as you originally thought. The options could be too simplistic, leaving users feeling bored and looking elsewhere. If you’re not listening to what they want, you will never fulfill their needs.
Here’s how feedback can improve your community and help take your business to the next level.
Data Collection as Feedback
Chances are you’ve done the work to identify your ideal customers, so any information that you collect from customers is usable by you, right now, to improve your platform so that you can retain and attract more of your ideal customers. You could use median age ranges to target ads more thoughtfully, take common interests into account, and create a better user experience with the information you collect. Consider posing thoughtful questions or topics of discussion based on your customers’ needs. Maybe you’ll even discover the need for a new service just by reviewing relevant user data. You’ll be in good company by collecting relevant user data, too. Google is perhaps the largest collector of data, and it uses much of what it’s gathered to display helpful content to users. Ever looked at a digital map and seen a display of traffic density? You can thank user data for that.
(Image source: Wesley Fryer)
Data collection involves more than just the age and gender of users. Feedback about products and services is just as valuable for helping you shape and focus your company’s activities. Profacts, a boutique research firm based in Belgium, used their community platform to collect 4,000 contributions from 100 members in their target demographic. That helped their client, a prominent local radio station, to adjust their programming and branding appropriately. Keep a close eye out for any user behavior or modifications on your community platform, too. For instance, users who “upgrade” some of their products and share to the platform may have found a need that you haven’t met. Don’t be afraid of customers finding a new or better use for your products. Instead, use this data to improve your business and the user experience. Your customers will love knowing they have real influence in the community platform.
Feedback for Maximizing Profits
Improving profits is one of the main goals for every business. As you’ve probably heard a million times already, before you can sell anyone on an experience, service, or product, you need to fully understand their wants and needs. Yet so many businesses miss out on opportunities for growth and revenue because they assume to know what users want rather than listen to what their customers are telling them. As history has shown, it’s dangerous to assume that we know our customers. As users turn to your community platform with questions or to engage with other customers, they’ll reveal everything you need to know for developing new products. A current product might desperately need an upgrade or a service could be more than customers truly need. Feedback allows you to tailor things to your customers exact needs, and who doesn’t love customization?
You won’t always be a silent observer in your platform. Make sure you engage regularly and use your service as a networking opportunity. Connections are an essential part of any business, and have the right ones can lead to new business, discounts, and more. Community managers often play the largest role in community platform engagement. You and your community manager should be on the same page about the user experience and how to best increase engagement. Having a good relationship with your manager will make this easier, so consider setting up regular meetings to review how things are progressing.
Here’s What Affects Feedback
You created a vision for your community platform when you developed it. Is that vision the same? If it changed, you’re probably not putting your feedback to the best use. You might even be collecting information that’s no longer relevant. Maybe the gender of your users is not as important as you once thought it was, or the value of user interests is far higher than their ages. Review your vision and make sure it aligns with the data you’re collecting.
While you’re double-checking your vision, how’s your target market? No matter how much you plan, advertise, and market, your the demographic of your platform’s users might surprise you. Instead of staying narrowly focused on your ideal user, start paying attention to the feedback of the ones that you have
Use Your Community Platform Wisely
Most importantly, your platform should be more than just a forum, it’s a place for a community. Without a community, user feedback simply doesn’t exist, so make sure you provide regular content for users to engage with. Don’t be afraid to join the conversation, either.
Don’t let the prospect of starting your own community overwhelm you. There are many support systems for community platforms, including community managers and online programs that simplify the process. The benefits of data collection and feedback are endless, and a community platform is one of the best methods for collection.