Communities are enhancing customer service relationships through crowdsourcing and new forums of interaction. These forums are becoming customer support software, of sorts: They are popular ways to address customer needs and get the benefit of more people devoted to solving problems.
Some of these communities offer places for customers to find answers to their questions -- and to prevent companies from having to answer the same questions repeatedly. So they can provide a low-cost first line of defense for companies that want to provide relatively generic support to customers.
In this way, communities for customer support may promote more customer self-service rather than taking up the costly time of contact center representatives.
Communities also help capture the voice of customers. Data pulled from these forums can provide insight into attitudes, adoption and future customer needs; however, the information gathered might need further vetting through other methods, such as surveys.
Communities in a multichannel environment may also become more fine-grained. You might use one kind of community to ask specific questions but another type to engage more substantively, and even to become part of the product development process.
For more on how communities are changing the nature of customer support, check out our podcast.
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