The Relevance of Online Community Platform Software for Organizations

Vikram Deo

Vikram Deo

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: March 31, 2021

In today’s time, when customers want engaging experiences, organizations can’t overlook the importance of an online community. According to CMX Research, 85% of community builders and marketers consider having a branded online community a key in increasing brand trust.

Having an online community can provide detailed insights into customers’ behavior and preferences, boost customer experience, and increase customer loyalty and retention.

Looking for Online Community Software? Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of the Online Community Software solutions.

You need a system to create and manage your online community. Here’s where an online community platform comes into play.

Here’s a detailed guide to online community software for businesses.

 

What Is Online Community Software?

An online community platform is a computer program that allows you to create and manage a digital space for your business. Depending on your purpose, you can either add your employees or customers to the community and encourage meaningful conversations and discussions.

It can be categorized into major segments, i.e., EHR (electronic health records) software and revenue cycle management. 

The core purpose of an online community management system is to create a space where your customers can interact with each other. Creating an online community can benefit your business in many ways. In fact, 88% of community professionals believe that building a community is important for a company’s success.

1. Why Does Your Business Need an Online Community Platform?

If you want to create and grow an online community of your customers, having an online community platform is a must. Here are some reasons why you need an online community management system.

Besides, advanced pharmacy software allows you to create an additional list with the names and contacts of customers who request rare medicines. You can source those medicines as quickly as possible and contact clients to inform them of their availability. 

1. Streamline Customer Support and Service

Customer service is one of the most important pillars of business. Knowing what problems your customers are facing and promptly resolving them can go a long way in boosting customer experience.

89% of consumers are likely to make another purchase after a good customer service experience. When your business has a community platform, your customers can post their questions, and your community manager can answer them promptly.

2. Reputation Management

Managing reputation should be your company’s priority in 2021. No one wants to do business with a company that has a bad reputation. In the online world, the reviews you get dictate your reputation. 60% of customers say they won’t do business with an organization that has negative reviews.

An online community platform allows you to manage online reviews. You can identify which customers are unhappy and why. You can instantly resolve their queries, encouraging them to leave a positive review, improving your online reputation.

3. Reduced Customer Support Costs

An online community management system allows you to leverage
user-generated content. If a user asks a question, other participants can answer the question and resolve the user’s query immediately.

Many brands, like WordPress, Microsoft, and Facebook, have a digital community where you can ask questions and get help from others. Implementing the same model can help you automate your customer service efforts and reduce customer support costs.

4. Increased Engagement

Customer engagement is an essential metric for business success that not many companies track. When you engage your customers, they’re more likely to stick with your brand. However, in this era, when the average customer attention span has reduced to 8 seconds only, ensuring consistent customer engagement isn’t easy.

An online community platform allows you to engage your customers better. Community managers can host events, conduct surveys, share content, etc., to maintain high engagement levels.

5. Improved Customer Loyalty

An online community helps increase customer loyalty. When you create an online community, your customers can resolve their queries quickly, interact with other, like-minded people, and stay engaged. It also helps you build meaningful relationships with your customers, which increases customer loyalty and retention.

2. Key Features of Online Community Software

Online community platforms come with different features and functionalities. However, there are a few features that are common in all online community platforms, such as:

1. Omnichannel Support:

The omnichannel support feature allows you to manage interactions of all community memes across multiple channels, such as social media, email, website, etc., all from one place.

2. Advanced Management:

Community managers can utilize the advanced management module to manage teams, appoint community moderators, and oversee queries and questions.

3. Content Creation:

The content creation feature allows users to create and share content with other community members. Supported formats can include text, images, videos, GIFs, PDFs, etc.

4. Tagging and Sorting:

Tagging and sorting capabilities enable managers to tag, sort, and follow different posts, trends, and conversations. 

5. Analytics: 

Community management systems come with reporting and analytics features that allow you to set and manage key metrics and performance indicators. Many advanced tools also support automatic report generation.  

6. Engagement Tools:

All online community platforms come with the engagement tools such as polls, surveys, discussion boards, and chat features to maintain high levels of engagement in the community.

7. Email Notifications:

An online community management system integrates with your email 
marketing system and streamlines email communication with your customers. The email notification feature allows you to stay on top of your email communications.

8. Media Libraries:

All online community platforms come with the engagement tools such as polls, surveys, discussion boards, and chat features to maintain high levels of engagement in the community.

9. Search Functionality:

Community management software comes with advanced search functionality that allows users to search for the topics and trends they want to view.

3. How to Select the Right Community Platform?

With numerous community platforms out there, it’s essential to choose what
best suits your requirements. Here are a few factors to consider when looking for an online community system.

1. Know Your Users Well

The first step in selecting the right online community platform is to know the users well. Who will use the software? Will they be your employees or
customers? Always keep your target users in mind when selecting an online
community platform.

2. Determine the Features You Need

Various online community solutions are available, with each having different
features and capabilities. Some platforms are simple and only allow users to
send text messages, whereas others allow users to send various multimedia
elements and link with social platforms.

While opting for more features may seem tempting, it won’t add any value to your business and lead to unnecessary costs. Therefore, stick to only the features you need.

3. Ensure User-Friendliness

A community management system should be user-friendly, especially if it’s for your customers. You certainly don’t want your customers to spend a week figuring out how the platform works. Make things easy for them so that they can get started with the solution easily.

4. Supported Platforms

Ensure that your platform supports all the major platforms and operating
systems, including Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. Support for more platforms means you’ll be able to target a broader audience.

5. Stay Within Budget

Lastly, keep an eye on the budget. Numerous factors, such as features,
platforms, accessibility, etc., affect the pricing of a software solution. Find a system that fulfills all your requirements but doesn’t cost too much.

4. Wrapping It Up

Customers nowadays have a lot of options to choose from. Providing excellent quality and service, although important, isn’t enough. Brands need to invest in online community development to increase customer engagement and loyalty. This makes an online community platform an essential tool for all businesses.

So, what business goals do you plan to achieve with an online
community platform?

Vikram Deo
With an experience of 11 years, in the industry, and having the uncanny ability to convert difficult concepts into engaging content, Vikram has the ability to perfectly insert gusto into content. When he is not researching about new marketing concepts and writing to attract, he enjoys the occasional fictional books and loves playing with his 2 dogs When he is not researching about new marketing concepts and writing to attract, he enjoys the occasional fictional books and loves playing with his 2 dogs"

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