“Supporting customers is a burden” (Li & Bernoff, 2011).
There are multiple methods for Groundswell to support itself through the use of influence in online communities. It is much more cost effective to have problem-solving information online and it’s easily accessible to consumers. “Properly managed, helping your customers support each other will make them happier, save money, and generate insights” (Li & Bernoff, 2011). Before you start, think of the following three questions and analyze whether a support system will benefit your company.
What problem will you solve?
Think about your target consumers and ask yourself, why will they be willing to participate in your support system? You need to place yourselves in the consumer’s shoes and consider their wants and needs in an online community and whether it would be a good company investment.
How will you participate?
Communities need activity to maintain up to date and current. “Activity creates content, which creates traffic and links, which boosts search engine placement, which drives more traffic, and so on” (Li & Bernoff, 2011). Far more people are interested in reading information rather than contributing content.
Why build it if you can join it?
This question asks whether your company should build your own online community or join an existing forum. If you do decide to join an existing one, just know that your company has less control over what is shared and said about your business.
Supporting WestJet Airlines
According to WestJet’s Social Technographic Profile, it consists mainly of Spectators and Joiners, but their Critics who contribute to online forums make up 29% of their consumers.Critics are the ones who post rating and review on products, and they are the ones who comment and contribute to the online communities. WestJet’s website is well designed and provides easily accessed contact information to consumers with questions. They even have a page dedicated to Frequently Asked Questions, to provide extra information to their consumers on different topics. There’s even a page dedicated to Travel Information, providing more instruction and knowledge to customers looking for answers. Even though these platforms don’t encourage online discussions, they do participate in Facebook and Twitter to engage with their customer’s questions. There is also a link on their web page making it simple for consumers to provide general or detailed feedback on their website.
After deciding on whether your company would benefit from incorporating a support community, Li and Bernoff (2011) have some simple suggestions to make it easier and effective for your company.
Start small, but plan for a larger presence.
Reach out to your most active customers
Plan to drive traffic to your community
Build in a reputation system
Let your customers lead you
By incorporating and interacting with online communities, your company will gain an improved comprehension of your target consumer base. When you “listen” to your customers, you gain a better understanding, which results in helping to create better products and services offered.
Li, C. & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, USA: Forrester Research Inc.
Contact Us (2017) WestJet. Retrieved from https://www.westjet.com/en-ca/about-us/contact-us/index