How to build a Customer Success Community

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As Customer Success organisations start to scale, most businesses consider creating an advocacy program or at least a customer portal where your customers can share their insights on what they think about your product. As your business grows you want your end users to get the most out of your product while being happy customers and true advocates, but how do you do that?

In this Podcast our host Anika Zubair speaks with Anna Poorna, Head of Community at Freshworks, the customer engagement software company that enables organisations of all sizes to deliver better experiences. A true customer advocate at heart, Anna has 8+ years of experience in Customer Success and Marketing and in her previous roles helped run and scale the Customer Success teams for the EMEA market at Freshworks.

Anna has been building up a customer community for years and has held positions like CSM, CS lead and for the last year she has been working on building out a customer community at Freshworks. We discuss with Anna, how to start an online customer community and also how a customer community can be used to scale your customer success effectively while making sure you maximise your communities potential.

Having started at Freshworks at the beginning with only 40 employees, Customer Success was always a focal point within the company. They believed that everything they do should be focused around their customers and it is this mantra that is deeply rooted in their culture and DNA as a business. Build a business that is loved by its customers.

This led them to building their community, their tribe or group of people who have a common or shared goal. If you look at the consumer world, one of the most successful brands to adopt this concept is Nike. They have a strong and dedicated community of Nike loyalists. This is highly impactful and helps strengthen their brand dominance.

The main purpose of a community is to help bring people together. In the SaaS world, this can be crucial. The common goal is to find ways to revolutionise the way businesses deliver experiences and win customers for life. It's a space for people who care about customer experience to come together, and it enables participants to learn from each other and grow.

Once you have created a successful and engaged community, it can help develop advocacy for your brand, increase adoption rates and enable you to directly connect with your users. Anna sees this movement trending, with more and more companies dedicating their focus on building a community. She believes that it enables you to see the direct impact of the community on your other strategic business goals. Communities can also be a USP, being the strategic differentiator for SaaS companies.

Anna would suggest creating a community as soon as possible, but it is very important to access and clearly define what your community will stand for. You need to think about why someone wants to be a part of it and what you want to get out of it. Creating clear outcomes will enable your users to get value from the community and be engaged within it. Like with all parts to a business, your community needs to have a clear strategy in place. Anna’s advice is to keep it about your users and not about your brand or product.

What should be included in the community? How do you start? Anna’s suggestion would be to create the basics first and start by creating a forum. This allows your customers to talk to one another, get tips and encourage engagement. Then, create content to add value to the community, enrich your users with blog articles, videos, podcasts, white papers and research to ensure the community continues to grow. Encouraging engagement is key, building an engaged community will build advocates for your brand.

Anna has an abundance of experience to offer those interested in building a community within a company, so listen today for all her tips and tricks.

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